The old Boulder City hospital is facing the wrecking ball.
Built to treat employees building the Hoover Dam, the hospital has sat empty for some time after being converted to a wellness retreat.
Dennis McBride, director of the Nevada State Museum and Boulder City resident told KNPR's State of Nevada that the hospital was originally called the Six Companies Hospital because it was built and maintained for the employees of the six companies that were building the dam.
When the dam was finished, the hospital closed. It reopened during World War II, then closed again. Finally, the people of Boulder City gathered enough money through door-to-door donations and other fundraising efforts to open it again in the 1950s. It stayed open until 1970, when it was replaced by the new hospital built on Adams Boulevard.
According McBride, the hospital has sat derelict for many years and has now been purchased by a real estate developer who plans to demolish it to make way for private homes.
McBride said the structure is sound and refurbishing it for another purpose would not be difficult.
"It's about money," McBride said.
He said it costs less money to take down the building than to refurbish it; however, he believes preserving history is a benefit beyond money.
"Its a matter of altruism," McBride said. "If someone has the money and they are willing to put it into an adaptive reuse of a very significant historic building the value is enhanced."
McBride said the building was part of the original plan for Boulder City and is one the very few six companies' buildings that still survives, most were torn down when Hoover Dam was finished.
"I think it would be a shame to lose it if it could be readapted and maintained as a public building in some way for some purpose," McBride said.
There is a movement afoot to try to save the building through the Historic Boulder City Foundation. Boulder City prides itself on being an historic city, McBride said. And unlike its bigger, flashier neighbor to the west, Boulder City is known for holding onto its history.
But he said the city, "wants all the advantages of being an historic district but have seemed to shirked the responsibility to maintain it."
He points to the hospital as an example of the community's failure to save something that is "historically significant."
"I do wish it were being saved and I think it would be easy to save," McBride said.
He has a personal connection to the building. McBride was born there.
Dennis McBride, Nevada State Museum
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