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Historic preservation event set for May

It’s a couple of months away, but scheduling for events tied to Historic Preservation Day — slated for May 11 —are pretty set and revolve around the theme of Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

At least part of the day-long program will take place at a building not open to the public —the one remaining hangar from the old Boulder City Airport (aka Bullock Field).

Historic Preservation Commission member Christa May reported on the old hangar during a recent meeting.

“The inside of the hangar is currently being used for storage,” she said. “There are big items that are in there and a lot of tools. So it would not be conducive to us to come in and necessarily host anything inside.”

The facility, which was restored by Paul Fisher, the inventor of the Fisher Space Pen, is currently being used by the city’s Public Works Department for equipment storage.

“There is a part that we would be able to go into and kind of see the vastness of it. But there is also a lot of great information right outside,” May said.

The original Boulder City Airport was opened in 1933 and served as headquarters for Noel Bullock’s sightseeing flights over Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. In 1938, Trans World Airlines (TWA) leased the facility and built a terminal. The terminal still stands just east of the old hangar and has been repurposed since 1958 as the headquarters for Elks Lodge 1682.

TWA operated commercial flights at the airport originally known as Bullock Field until 1949 when the airport was condemned by the Civil Aeronautics Authority, the predecessor to today’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Renovations were made and the old airport reopened in 1961. By 1980, it was down to a single runway (from a total of three in years past) and it closed in 1990 when the current Boulder City Municipal Airport opened.

The commission expressed enthusiasm at using the old hangar as a venue but noted that if the day is windy, information on easels might be difficult. Commission member Denise Ashurst asked if it might be possible to put easels just inside the door and allow visitors to access a very small part of the building.

“Part of the concern,” May replied, “is the items that are in storage not needing to be displayed for the public.”

“Oh, they’re classified?” Ashurst, a retired Air Force veteran, asked.

“Hmmm. Kinda,” May responded.

Visitors will be able to start with a reception and presentation in the morning at the Railroad Museum and then head east to the hanger for a presentation and finish up at the Boulder City Company Store where there will be an ongoing display of classic cars, completing the Trains, Planes and Automobiles theme.

A final schedule of all events will be on a flyer that will be included in all mailed utility bills sent out in April.

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