Silver Spike Ceremony
On September 17, 1930, hundreds of people gathered at Boulder Junction, Las Vegas (near the cross streets of Valley View and Russell today) to mark the start of construction of the 22 mile Union Pacific railroad track to link Las Vegas to Boulder City, as well as the beginning of the Boulder Dam project.
The Secretary of the Interior, Ray Lyman Wilbur, initiated the ‘Silver Spike Ceremony’ striking the spike of Nevadan silver. As he did, he said “I have the honor to name this greatest project of all time – the Hoover Dam”. This was significant in that it was the first time that the dam had been called this publicly, having always been referred to as the Boulder Dam until then.
Also present were Senator Key Pittman, NV, Gov. Fred Balzar, NV, Carl R. Gray, President of Union Pacific and Senator Tasker L. Oddie
As the gateway to Boulder Dam, businesses in Las Vegas knew that they would benefit hugely from the influx of people seeking work and the media focus there would on the city, so it was an important day, hence the formal attire of many and the crowds of people who turned up in the dust and heat to watch.