Originally established in the 1940s as the headquarters for the construction of Davis Dam, which impounds Lake Mohave in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Bullhead City has evolved into a year-round vacation community.
The city was named after a unique rock formation in the shape of a bulls head which once jutted upward out of the river. It became submerged in the 1950s when Davis Dam was completed and Lake Mohave filled.
The general area of Bullhead City was once inhabited by the Mojave Indians. American soldiers, many of whom were previous miners from California, arrived in the area in the late 1850s, looking to mine gold and silver along the river. Navigation by steamboat of the upper Colorado River became the best way to furnish supplies to the mines and the miners who began flocking to the area in record numbers.
It was during this era that William Harrison Hardy (1821-1906) helped build Hardyville, the forerunner of Bullhead City. Hardyville became an active river port and community from 1865 to 1872 when it is said that a fire completely destroyed it. With the advent of the railroad and other new industry, there was little incentive to rebuild.
In the late 1930s, Bullhead City subdivided and the town began to grow after W.W.II and the completion of Davis Dam. When Don Laughlin opened the Riverside Resort in 1966, no one could have predicted the growth that would change the City of Bullhead City.
The only remnants of Hardyville that exist today are the Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery and items preserved in the Colorado River Museum.