Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Boulder City, Nevada

On Monday we arrived in Las Vegas, which was discovered  in 1829. This valley oasis in a desert was called by its discoverer Rafel Rivera "the meadows", because here he found artesian springs. The city that grew up here became one of the most isolated major cities in the United States. The picture above is what we can see from our home, and on the other side of the park is a bustling city street replete with casinos. On our first day here we headed out for Boulder City, a city whose history is very strongly linked to Las Vegas. Boulder City's birth began in 1831. With the construction of Hover Dam looming on the horizon, the federal government need a site to house thousand of workers. That site became the Federal Reservation of Hoover Dam. It was demanded that the United States have control over this city, in effect; no liquor, gambling or prostitution allowed. In 1960 the reservation officially became a city. However, to this day, no gambling or prostitution is still not allowed. What has been forbidden in Boulder City has determined the fate of Las Vegas. Workers for the dam headed for Las Vegas on their days off and dozens of casino opened to serve them. Some of this information we picked up at a museum located in the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City. From there we drove to the dam, I will have more on that in the next posting. Before closing I want to mention another stop we made yesterday in the town of Henderson, at  Ethel M.Chocolates. That company is owned and operated by Mars Incorporated. Frank Mars and his wife Ethel started selling chocolates in 1911 in Tacoma Washington. The company grew and now are the makers of Mars, Snickers, Dove chocolate bars and a variety of other candies. In the 1940s they provided the small colored pieces of candy which we now know as M&Ms for the armed forces. The chocolate bars and M&Ms are not made in Henderson.
We toured the chocolate factory but the only activity we saw was the production of chocolate covered apples. Outside of the factory is a beautiful cactus garden which we also took a walk through. The garden has some beautiful desert trees as well as cactus. Pictured below is the red barrel cactus.

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