Museum Will Restore Bradley’s Historic Boulder City Home

They were once Boulder City’s most well-known residents, but Henry and Ocie Bradley’s modest two-room home is now sitting with its windows bordered up in storage in Henderson.

The house that once stood at 618 Arizona St. was move more than 10 years ago to the Clark County Museum, where it awaits $250,000 in restoration work. The building was first used as a ticket office for Grand Canyon Airlines at the old Boulder City Airport in the mid-1930s.

Then in 1938, the modest building was moved to Arizona Street, where it became the home to the Bradley family, the first black family to live in Boulder City.

“It really was a two-room shack with a screened in front porch,” said Mark Hall-Patton, director of the Clark County Museum. “There was very little else. No insulation, no wall boards and it’s open on the inside. It’s very similar to buildings Grand Canyon Airlines built at terminals at other airports they served.”

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Hall-Patton said when the historic building was threatened with demolition in 2002, the museum decided to take the building to its site in Henderson. He said the 450-square-foot building is on a new foundation and it’s stable.

“It’s just that we have to wait until we get the money to do the restoration work,” said Hall-Patton. “It’s in the collection. This is an artifact and it will be restored, but it takes a while to raise the money.”

The Bradleys, who Hall-Patton said were originally from the Carolinas, moved to Boulder City from Los Angeles and worked for Glover “Roxy” Ruckstell’s sightseeing airline. Henry Bradley was a chauffeur for Ruckstell and his company, while Ocie Bradley made box lunches for the flights to the Grand Canyon.

Hall-Patton said only about 61 black people worked on building Hoover Dam, but City Manager Sims Ely made sure they lived outside of Boulder City. The city was originally a government built town that remained a federal reservation for decades and was run by Ely for decades.

Hall-Patton said the Bradleys moved into the home only after Ruckstell successfully bullied Ely into allowing the couple to live in Boulder City.

“African Americans have been here since the beginning … they are part of our history as well,” Hall-Patton said. He said the Bradley’s home was basic, but not unusual for the time.

Hall-Patton added that some of these homes still exist in Southern Nevada, but the Bradley’s eventually built a new home on the corner of New Mexico Street and Avenue G in the late 1930s. According to Hall-Patton, there were people living in the Bradley’s two-room house just it was acquired by Clark County Museum.


Mark Hall-Patton, director of the Clark County Museum

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