weather icon Partly Cloudy

Is Boulder Cityhistoric or historical?

Historic Boulder City or historical Boulder City? The same? They are not the same, although historic and historical are both adjectives and both refer to history. In fact, when the word “historical” is used to describe Boulder City, it makes me a bit hysterical!

OK, then, what is the difference?

Searching through online dictionaries and thesauruses, I found definitions and examples to explain the difference. I learned that “historic” means important, momentous or historically significant. “Historical” means relating to the past, whether important or not.

For example: Boulder City is a historic city. It is significant in history because of its importance to those who built historic Hoover (Boulder) Dam and because of that connection to the dam.

On the other hand, Boulder City and Hoover Dam were built during an important, historical period in U.S. history — the Great Depression.

Historic is a word that implies judgment, since by definition it describes something, judged to be significant, that was created or occurred in the past. But historical is an essentially neutral term, describing anything that occurred in the distant past, whether important or not.

In other words, historical has to do with history in general; historic pertains to a specific, significant event or act occurring in the past.

Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon was a historic event. “Gone with the Wind” is a historical novel about an important period in American history.

And now that we have established an understanding of the meanings of historic and historical, what does this have to do with Boulder City in the present day? There are two significant perspectives to acknowledge — each one of equal importance, in my opinion.

First, its historic architecture and design are what make Boulder City unique. The parks and trees maintained by the Bureau of Reclamation during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s created the “Oasis in the Desert” that was Boulder City. In contrast to hot and dusty Las Vegas, Henderson and other desert communities, Boulder City was cool and comfortable. Maintaining this ambience is a critical part of keeping Boulder City unique and true to its history.

Second, Boulder City is not a monument. It is a living, evolving city of people. Homeowners, business owners and federal and local government are what keep the city relevant. Maintaining a balance between its historic values and its need to be current and vital as a community is a continuing challenge.

Unfortunately, many historic places in the world have been lost to history, either by neglect or wanton destruction. Fortunately, because of the continuing significance of Hoover Dam, the appeal of Lake Mead and the federal designation of the area as a National Recreation Area — and the presence of the federal Bureau of Reclamation — Boulder City has managed to remain basically intact with respect to its historic neighborhoods and government buildings.

The Boulder City Historic District was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, but this designation did not include the buildings and homes within the district. For that reason, the effort to preserve and restore the city has been left to its citizens and local government and their willingness to maintain the city’s historic features and its recognizable identity.

The evolution of historic Boulder City during the past few decades will be considered in future columns, as will observations about the preservation of the unique history of Southern Nevada.

Susan Stice McIntyre is a native of Boulder City, a first-generation 31er, and former member and chairman of the Boulder City Historic Preservation Committee.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Power of people remains at polls

This Sunday is the first anniversary of the Women’s March. Don’t fret, I’m not writing a commercial. I’m looking at a very abbreviated history of individuals coming together to make a statement.

Potential for adventure in city gets real

Reality TV and Boulder City are starting to become a common thing. Recently, the HGTV show “Flip or Flop Vegas” filmed in our quaint town, with an episode promised to air this upcoming summer. However, the likes of Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) and Gear Duran aka Gear Boxxx (“Skin Wars”) have had Boulder City ties for sometime now.

Finding right school for child’s needs key to success

Later this month, schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals in Nevada and across America will work together to raise awareness about the importance of opportunity in K-12 education.

Mayor should consider re-election

Who will run for mayor in 2019? I realize that we are over a year away from people even putting their names in the hat. Yet, if they are serious about running, they need to start thinking now.

Awards for revitalization efforts, faith in city well-deserved

At our final 2017 City Council meeting, I had the privilege of presenting two Mayor’s Awards, one to All Mountain Cyclery and the other to The Tap, for their 2017 business corridor revitalization efforts. These two businesses weren’t the only ones that worked to spruce up our commercial sector, but the scale of their projects and their commitment to reinvest in our community really stood out to me.

Eastwood accepts ‘Gauntlet,’ runs with it

Actor, producer and writer Clint Eastwood came through Boulder City for a 1977 film titled “The Gauntlet.” While Eastwood was always on board to direct the Warner Bros. picture, he wasn’t the first or second choice to star in the film.

Though popular, bitcoin not wave of future

Bitcoin. It’s everywhere. You see it in the news. People talk about it around the water cooler, and it appears on almost every internet ad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it started appearing in local paper opinion pieces.

Veteran uses talents to help other veterans

Robert Serge served in the United States Navy for 20 months as part of an ordnance laboratory test facility. As he puts it, “We designed harbor mines and stuff like that.”

Smiles plant seeds of hope

Before I sit down to write any commentary, I spend lots of time daily thinking about how to begin. What happened today? What needs addressing? I take so many things so seriously, I end up changing the focus daily. As soon as I submit one commentary, I begin thinking about the next. This one took longer than usual.