Heading south on 93/95 from Las Vegas you go through part of Henderson. The road takes you through the historic Railroad Pass, and by the casino of the same name that has the longest continuously operating gaming license. What you come to next is that dam little town.....literally. It's Boulder City, named after what was the original name for Hoover Dam in Boulder Canyon.
The dam little town is only "little" in population, and by choice. Currently there are about 16,000 living there and only 120 building permits issued each year to maintain strict growth controls. Even new hotels are limited to 35 rooms. Yet in land area, Boulder City is the largest city in NV., and 35th largest in the US. Recently some of it's vast land through the Eldorado Valley was used for the new 64 MW solar power plant, Nevada Solar One.
That dam town? Well it really was. It was created in 1932 to house the workers building Hoover Dam. It was controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation up until 1958 and became incorporated as a city in 1960. One of the rules of the town when it was formed was no gambling allowed, and it's still that way today. It's only one of two areas in NV that prohibits gaming. The Hacienda Casino does have a Boulder City mailing address, but isn't within the city limits. It's actually inside the Lake Mead Recreation Area on land from an old mining claim.
The dam construction took place during the depression era, and thousands flocked to Boulder City for work. There weren't enough jobs to go around, but many stayed hoping for an opening. There was a "tent city" half way between the Boulder City and Las Vegas in an area that had been named Pittman, Jericho Heights, and then Midway City during the time of the construction. This area eventually became part of Henderson, and was part of the next major job creation, as during WWII the Basic Magnesium plant was built near there. A decision made from the water supply and power available from building the dam.
Today Boulder City is such a quaint little town that almost seems to be stuck in time. A downtown area with an actual hardware store and several mom & pop shops and motels, along with brewery, restaurants, antiques and souvenir shops. There's even the restored Boulder Dam Hotel built in 1933, and classic trains and rides at the Nevada Southern RailRoad Museum.
You'd almost imagine seeing an Aunt Bea bring a pie out to cool on her porch, or Andy and Barney patrolling, or a town gathering in Floyd's Barber Shop. (I've only seen such things on Nickelodeon, BTW) It's such a sharp contrast to the huge construction projects, mega-resorts and neon just the other side of River Mountain.
Boulder City isn't lacking in all the modern conveniences. It has an airport that's home to many Grand Canyon tour flights and general aviation pilots. Next door is the golf course and Veterans Park with fishing and RC boat ponds, BMX track and half pipes for the skate crowd. There are several trails in the area and other parks scattered about.
Then there are the most breathtaking views of Lake Mead. Many homes and condos have been built in the valley and terraced into the foothills as you approach the lake. They vary from smaller units to massive estates that line either side of the highway heading toward the dam. Although limited, there is some new construction found there.
Enjoy just a few glimpses of the dam neighbors of Las Vegas, Boulder City, NV.