Boulder City Home
In 1928, the site where Boulder City would eventually be built was barren desert. The location of the future city, which was sited by Bureau of Reclamation engineer Walker Young, was approximately 33 miles from the sleepy town of Las Vegas. In August 1930, the Bureau of Reclamation built survey camps near the proposed town site to house the engineers and surveyors during their preliminary work.
Squatter camps quickly sprang up as word spread about the project. Thousands of jobless people from all over the country began streaming to the unfriendly desert of southern Nevada. Possessing no guarantee of food, shelter or work, they carried with them only the dream of earning a living.
One government survey camp became known as McKeeversville, named for the government cook who lived there with his family.
Another camp appeared near the river where the heat was most intense. It was called Ragtown, or Hell's Hole. Officially it was named Williamsville in honor of Claude Williams who was hired by the government to handle the governments sanitary activities.
The Bureau of Reclamation decided that the city housing the workers and supervisors needed to be under federal control. This way they could avoid the excesses prominent in Las Vegas, drinking, gambling and prostitution. The Bureau turned to award-winning architect Saco Rink DeBoer to create the original designs for Boulder City. According to Dennis McBride, DeBoer's plan was on the cutting edge of city planning.