The Six Companies Hospital was Boulder City's first hospital, constructed in 1931 as workers arrived to build Boulder Dam during the Great Depression. The 20-bed hospital was constructed in the Spanish Revival architectural style, with white stucco over brick, a red clay tile roof, and wooden casement, twelve-pane windows. The hospital housed an orthopedic ward and an eight-bed isolation facility for contagious diseases, named "The Pest House". Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Six Companies Hospital was lost to demolition in 2015.
The Six Companies Hospital was constructed at the top of Block 8, a hill on the northeast side
of town originally reserved for a resort hotel. The view from the
hospital included the Colorado River and future Lake Mead.
Built in 1931 during the Great Depression for the Boulder Canyon Project, the Bureau of Reclamation determined it was the responsibility of Six Companies, the Boulder Canyon contractor consortium, to
build and maintain a hospital for workers.The hospital cost $20,000.
The minimalist architectural style was Spanish Revival, a style that was popular in the Southwest from 1915 to 1940. The hospital was a two-story structure, with white stucco over brick, and filled with natural light from rows of wooden casement, twelve-pane windows topped by smaller rectangular transom windows. The driveway and grounds were surrounded by a stone masonry wall of local red rock.
Six Companies employees were charged $1.50 per month health fee through
payroll deduction which entitled them to
services at the hospital.
Three-thousand men were employed to construct Boulder Dam by August 1932. In that first sixteen months of construction, thirty-nine of those workers in Black Canyon were killed. The total official number of men killed during construction of Boulder Dam is 96, not including deaths from heat, pneumonia, heart trouble, survey work, or other non-construction causes.
The deaths included falls in the canyon, drowning in the Colorado River, construction vehicle accidents, premature powder explosions, hard rock blasting accidents, and entrapment by rock slides.. There were concerns about workers blasting and boring the Dam's massive diversion tunnels in the canyon walls, due to the confined spaces, equipment and vehicle emissions, and stifling triple-digit heat.
There is a bronze memorial plaque at the Dam honoring those who "died to make the desert bloom". The Six Companies Hospital was eight miles from the Boulder Dam construction site, making it the closest medical facility in Southern Nevada at the time. The Six Companies Hospital saved lives.
The first baby born in the Six Companies Hospital arrived Sunday, January 3, 1932, to the wife of Kermit Williams, a worker at Boulder Dam. The seven-pound baby boy was delivered by Charles H. Christal, M.D., a Six Companies physician.
From 1938 to 1941, the National Park Service took residence in the hospital building for a museum and office. The hospital reopened in 1943 as part of the war effort during World War II. Boulder City residents cleaned and repaired the second-hand x-ray
machines, sterilizers, beds and other equipment that came from hospitals
around the country.
In 1954, the Bureau of Reclamation informed the town that Boulder
City would have to raise $15,000 in two weeks to cover
operating expenses and maintenance, or lose the hospital. A
door-to-door fundraising campaign called ‘Save the Hospital’ surpassed $15,000 and the hospital was
turned over to citizen control that year. A generation of baby boomers were born in the historic hospital, prior to its closure.
In 1973, a new Boulder City Hospital opened at the current location of Adams and Buchanan boulevards. The Six Companies Hospital fell into disrepair
and was condemned. The Episcopal Sisters of Charity bought and restored the hospital in 1976, turning it into a retreat known as Wellspring. The Six Companies Hospital building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
In 2013, the Six Companies Hospital was investigated by a paranormal team for the popular television show, "Ghost Hunters", who responded to resident reports of “groanings and moanings,” lights turning on, doors opening, and shadowy figures. The paranormal team from Rhode Island reported a disembodied female voice, footsteps, and a door opening by itself. The episode aired in July 2013 on the SYFY Channel.
The Six Companies Hospital property came under ownership of Randolph Schams, a Boulder City Planning Commissioner, who announced demolition plans to replace the hospital with residential. Local preservationists campaigned to save the National Register-listed property. The permit allowing for the Six Companies Hospital demolition was granted by the City Council in November 2015 and the structures have since been demolished.
Glionna, John. "Nevada preservationists try to save Depression-era hospital from the wrecking ball." Los Angeles Times(Los Angeles)August 23, 2015. . https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-boulder-city-hospital-20150823-story.html
Peterson, Kristen. "So long, history: Boulder City losing historic building." Las Vegas Weekly(Las Vegas)July 15, 2015. . https://lasvegasweekly.com/as-we-see-it/2015/jul/15/boulder-city-losing-historic-building-six-companie/
Plans to demolish historic Old Boulder City Hospital. KSNV News3LV. July 24, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2019. https://news3lv.com/news/local/plans-to-demolish-historic-old-boulder-city-hospital.
Developer gets OK to demolish historic Boulder City hospital. KSNV News3LV. November 10, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2019. https://news3lv.com/archive/developer-gets-ok-to-demolish-historic-boulder-city-hospital.
Fatalities at Hoover Dam. Bureau of Reclamation. . Accessed June 11, 2019. https://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/history/essays/fatal.html.
Brean, Henry. "Father and son died on the same day, 14 years apart while working on Hoover Dam." Review Journal(Las Vegas)December 18, 2016. . https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/father-and-son-died-on-the-same-day-14-years-apart-while-working-on-hoover-dam/
"Student dies at Boulder Dam." Reno Gazette Journal(Reno)July 16, 1932. .
"Freak accident costs eye of Dam worker." Nevada State Journal(Reno)March 09, 1932. .
"Twelve workmen injured when skip falls at Dam." Reno Gazette Journal(Reno)April 21, 1934. .
"Boulder City has 1932 baby." Reno Gazette Journal(Reno)January 06, 1932. .
"Hospital more than a tingle for ‘Ghost Hunters’." Review Journal(Las Vegas)July 06, 2013. . https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/tv/hospital-more-than-a-tingle-for-ghost-hunters/