Inside the Gate   Boulder City
City Design - Inside the Gate - Incorporation - The DocumentaryKNPB-TVPBS Online

Classroom in Boulder City
  • Inside the Gate
  • Sims Ely
  • Town Life
  • Family Life
  • Boulder City Home
  • Family Life

    It may seem unremarkable, but the very existence of women and children in Boulder City was a surprise to the Government. From past experience, the majority of men on a construction project were single or married but without their families. The Bureau of Reclamation thought the camp would be set up as a military-style camp on federal reservation. But due to the Depression, that didn't happen. Construction workers moved to Boulder City for the job and they brought their family. They had nothing to tie them down to their homes back East.

    Because the city planners hadn't expected this influx of family, they didn't provide for any schools or churches. But the people filled in where the planners hadn't.

    Pat Lappin:
    Women took care of the social things. They got the churches and schools started. It's kind of interesting, they had private schools right from the beginning. They just made do with what they had. Then Six Companies donated three houses for the grade school. Everybody donated chairs from their homes, desks, whatever they had. They asked Clark County what books they were using and then people had to buy those books. Nothing was furnished to them but the bare house and of course six co paid the teacher.

    Of course, women were expected to raise the children, shop, do laundry, cook and keep house. Though the temporary Six Companies houses represented a great improvement over the squatters' camps, the ragged construction style created hazards of its own. Dust blew in through the cracks in the walls and doorways, piling up against the houses, creating small dunes throughout the neighborhood.

    Pat Lappin:
    That was the worst for the women besides the heat. They couldn't put the babies on the floor because it was so splintery. About the first thing they did when they got a paycheck was to get congoleum for the floor. And of course that didn't help the dust problem but at least their kids could crawl around without getting splinters.

    But despite the heat and dust, Boulder City emerged from its construction camp atmosphere to become a pleasant village. The Bureau of Reclamation took care of many of the mundane chores. They cut the lawns, painted the houses, and repaired the plumbing. Life in Boulder City was good.

    Nevada Humanities Committee E.L. Cord Foundation Union Pacific Foundation
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