Marble & Boulder Boats

Big Creek Powerhouse, Fresno County, CA

In 1923, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) organized an expedition to map the remaining stretch of the Colorado River along the Grand Canyon to from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek (Arizona). The boats Marble and Boulder are of considerable historical significance as they are two of the four original survey boats used to survey the perilous Grand Canyon expedition of the Colorado River.

Marble and Boulder are currently located at Southern California Edison Company (SCE), Big Creek Powerhouse in Fresno County, California. The objective of our assessment was to evaluate the condition of the boats and provide the information requested by the Bureau to assist them with their decision to acquire the two vessels for interpretive display at the Hoover Dam Visitor Center, Nevada.

The assessment included: examination of historic documentation pertaining to the construction and use of the boats; an on-site examination of the boats at SCE; a review of the current storage conditions; and an evaluation of proposed display locations based on information provided by the client. Recommendations for the conservation treatment of the boats, including transportation to Nevada, possible display options, and storage/display requirements, as well as a budgetary cost estimate for the work were provided.