Originally little more than a collection of ramshackle tents and sheds established along the river to house the workers building Boulder Dam, in 1930, Boulder City was established to provide adequate housing and services to the five thousand people working on the dam. Formally founded in 1931, as work began on the dam, it was a publicly owned company town operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and Six Companies, Inc. and was intended to be a model community. This included entrepreneur vetting, special permits for visitors, and a strict ban on alcohol according to the Prohibition. The city would not be incorporated until later in the century and would remain relatively small and contained, like the nearby Henderson.
A peripheral town by the late 21st century, Boulder City survived the Great War almost unscathed and became a frontier, sleepy town functioning until 2277 and the First Battle of Hoover Dam. Vacated by its denizens, the town was packed with high explosives and used as a boobytrap against Caesar's Legion. When Legion forces entered the town, lured in by Chief Hanlon's tactical retreat, the town collapsed around them. For the price of a town, the NCR broke the back of the Legion's offensive and threw it back across the Colorado River. The Boulder City Memorial pays homage to the NCR soldiers who fell during the battle and can be viewed at the western end of town, near the main entrance.
Nearly the entire town was leveled in the battle, sparing only the concrete mixing yard, the Boulder City train station, and the Big Horn Saloon. In the following years, the ruins became a stopover town for caravans and a source of concrete for the NCR's fortifications built up and down the Colorado River, produced using limestone shipped in by train from Quarry Junction. However, because of the recent deathclaw infestation at Quarry Junction, limestone mining has come to a halt, which has, in turn, put a hold on deliveries and production of concrete. All the concrete workers that usually inhabit the town have moved on, leaving only Ike, the bartender of the town saloon, as the only resident.
The location of Boulder City can be gleaned from Manny Vargas, the holodisk in his possession, or the terminal in his room in Novac. All will state that the Great Khans reside in Boulder City and the location is marked on the map. Events in Boulder City mark the beginning of Act I's climax in the main storyline. The showdown in the ruins leads to the Courier learning the identity of their would-be killer, pointing towards the New Vegas Strip.
The portions of town that are not demolished are small, and the town is nearly deserted. The concrete works and the Boulder City train station sit on the northern edge together with a locomotive sitting on the tracks. Boulder City is one of the few places in the Mojave with an abundance of ravens, but only one permanent resident. There is a traveling merchant who travels between the Big Horn Saloon and the El Dorado Gas & Service along the highway to the west, sometimes lingering by the train station. Upon arriving at the town for the first time, one may encounter Victor, who will express his surprise and excitement with seeing the Courier once more.
The entrance road leads into the town and the sole intact building, the Big Horn Saloon. The ruins of the former homes and businesses dominate the landscape and are accessible through the entrance at the northeastern end, otherwise consisting of only a stretch of ruined buildings surrounded by an impassable belt of destroyed concrete and brick.
Near the western entrance, the Boulder City Memorial can be viewed, honoring the soldiers who died at the First Battle of Hoover Dam. Private Kowalski stands before it, paying his respects to his fallen brother, PFC Donald Kowalski. The memorial's inscription reads:
In a house opposite the ruins entrance, the remains of Ranger Teresa Lutz and two other troopers can be found, having been killed in the explosion that broke the Legion offensive. On the outskirts of town are the unburied bodies of those also killed in the explosion, bereft of proper burials.
- Big Horn Saloon
- Boulder City Memorial
- Boulder City train station
- Great Khan hideout in the Boulder City ruins
- Three bottles of Nuka-Cola Quartz - On the middle shelf on the back wall in the saloon, must either be stolen or purchased from Ike.
- Ranger holodisk message - On the upper floor of an abandoned building, just northeast of the entrance to Boulder City ruins.
- Sunset Sarsaparilla star bottle cap - In the saloon, the second table on the left after entering.
- Boulder City Showdown
- They Went That-a-Way
- Defacing the Humble Stone
- We Must Stop Meeting Like This, III
If the player character attacks the memorial with any weapon, it will cause Kowalski to confront them. The only way to avoid violence or NCR Infamy is to pass a Speech check of 30 or flee, then wait 73 hours. By then, Kowalski will have returned to New California. On the other hand, the player character can say, "You're a little bitch, and your brother was too," immediately initiating combat with both Kowalski and any New California Republic members nearby.
Boulder City appears in Fallout: New Vegas.
Behind the scenes
- Boulder City is based on the real world location of Boulder City, Nevada. Lake Mead, located next to Boulder City, is the home of the Hoover Dam.
- The city's motto of "Home of the Eagles," seen on the Boulder City train station sign, mirrors the mascot and motto of the real world Boulder City High School.
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition pp. 370-371: "[3.32] Boulder City
Boulder City, sprawling though its ruins are, has never been a sizable settlement post-war. It is a minor location, mostly notable for its proximity to Hoover Dam [3.33] and the 188 Trading Post [5.02]. It's a common resting spot for people on their way to New Vegas and for troops moving to and from the dam. There are not many intact buildings, as it was the site of intense fighting between NCR and Caesar's Legion during the first Battle of Hoover Dam. The Rangers lured some of the toughest veteran Legionaries into the town and blew it to pieces with explosives that had been strategically placed ahead of time.
A slab of limestone carved with the names of those who gave their lives during the first Battle of Hoover Dam. Private Kowalski is paying his respects here. Carve additional indents into the War Memorial to begin Free Quest: Defacing the Humble Stone.
Ranger Lutz' Last Stand"
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition Tour of the Mojave Wasteland)
- The Courier: "What happened to Boulder City?"
Monroe: " The sharpshooters in the Rangers picked off the Legion's veterans from a distance, and the rest of the Legion just rushed on in. Then - boom!"
(Lt. Monroe's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Tell me about Boulder City."
Ike: "Most of the town is rubble - destroyed during the Battle of Hoover Dam - and the only other thing around here is the concrete mixing yard."
- The Courier: "What's the concrete used for?"
Ike: "The NCR has been constructing bunkers up and down the river. From what I've heard, it's a little late for that. Travelers over at the 188 - just up the road - said that the Legion has overrun a couple of towns to the south."
- The Courier: "Where does the concrete come from?"
Ike: " With no work to be had, all the workers around here have wandered off. I'm the only one left in town."