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April 25, 2015

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Anonymous $260,000 donation keeps Boulder Dam Hotel open

Historic hotel, museum will be back in business this week


Justin M. Bowen

Gift shop manager Marie Sullivan, front right, cheers as she along with hotel manager Roger Shoaff, right, and his wife, Roseanne Shoaff, who also manages the hotel, removes the sign Monday in front of the Boulder Dam Hotel that indicated it was closed. A $260,000 donation from an anonymous donor is enough to reopen the historic hotel, museum and restaurant at 1305 Arizona St.

Boulder Dam Hotel to reopen

The Boulder Dam Hotel, which closed for lack of funds on July 11, will reopen after receiving a donation of $260,000 on Monday from an anonymous donor. From left: attorney Ralph Denton, gift shop manager Marie Sullivan, Darryl Martin, president of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, and his wife, Sara Denton, a founding member of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association. Launch slideshow »

Boulder Dam Hotel

The Treasured Times Tearoom is one of the rooms refurbished in the Boulder Dam Hotel under the supervision of manager Roger Shoaff. The tearoom, one of the amenities and sources of revenue at the hotel, offers tea by reservation only. Launch slideshow »

Boulder Dam Hotel

Nine days after the Boulder Dam Hotel closed for lack of funds, an anonymous donation of $260,000 has made it possible for the historic structure, its museum and restaurant to reopen.

“I’m so thrilled with this,” said attorney Ralph Denton, who brokered the donation to the hotel. He presented a check to Darryl Martin, president of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association at 2 p.m. Monday in front of the hotel. The historical association operates the hotel and restaurant to support the museum, which is on the hotel’s mezzanine level.

The hotel closed July 11 after several rescue plans fell through, the last one an appeal to the city for redevelopment funds. The operation fell behind three months on its mortgages of $940,000 and owed vendors and utility bills. It was able to pay employees a final paycheck on its closing day.

Hotel and museum officials blamed the recession for a $60,000 decline in revenue since December, which they said was the difference between success and failure for the nonprofit venture.

Martin said managers would be calling vendors and former employees quickly so that the restaurant can open for breakfast on Wednesday.

The museum will reopen Tuesday, said museum gift shop manager Marie Sullivan, who kept the gift shop open four of five days last week on a volunteer basis.

The hotel, which Martin called a “working exhibit” as opposed to a business, should be open again for guests this weekend, manager Roger Shoaff said.

Denton distributed a short statement from the donor that said, “People should be less concerned about who the donor is and more concerned with keeping the Boulder Dam Hotel and Museum viable and making a long-term success both with their actions and words.”

The donor is requiring a monthly audit and marketing plan, Denton said. The audits should help the museum manage the property, he said.

Denton said his next goal for the hotel, where he leases space for his law office, is to raise money for an endowment to ensure the long-term health of the association.

“Hopefully others will step forward,” said Sara Denton, Ralph Denton’s wife and a founding member of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.

Denton and other lessees of the hotel, including the Boulder City Art Guild, Classic Hollywood Gems and other shops, had been given 30 days to move, but that will no longer be necessary.

Wendy Hatfield, Denton’s assistant, was glad to hear that. She had a vacation scheduled the week of the move that she had canceled. Now she will be able to go.

“It’s definitely a good thing,” she said.

After photos of the check-passing and taking down a sign that told visitors of the hotel’s closure, Denton and Martin headed into the hotel’s lobby.

The next order of business: martinis and champagne.

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