Whilst based in Las Vegas and in between shopping sprees and exciting shows we drove out to explore Hoover Dam.
Located on Nevada-Arizona border, 48 kilometres southeast of Las Vegas, and stretching approx 380 metres across the Black Canyon, the Hoover Dam took five years to construct between 1931 to 1936. It was built to control flooding along the Colorado River and provide water and hydroelectric power for California and Southwest America.
I’ve done some research and found out some interesting facts:
It’s name was a source of controversy – Surveyors originally recommended the dam be constructed at Boulder Canyon, and hence it was called the Boulder Canyon Dam Project. It was actually built at Black Canyon but still named the Boulder Dam and on September 17, 1930, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur announced the dam would be named after President Herbert Hoover. Then when Hoover was succeeded in the White House by Franklin Roosevelt, and the new secretary of the interior, Harold Ickes, declared the dam would once again be called Boulder Dam. However, in April 1947, President Harry Truman approved a congressional resolution that officially confirmed the dam would be named the Hoover Dam.
Boulder City, Nevada was actually created for people working on the dam – In the early 1930s, Boulder City, Nevada, was constructed to house 5,000 dam project workers. Boulder City was situated on federally owned land and had no elected officials. The city was run by an employee of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (the agency responsible for the dam project), who had the authority to evict residents as he saw fit. Among the local rules, alcohol and gambling were banned.
Hoover Dam created America’s largest reservoir – The damning of the Colorado River and the creation of Lake Mead (Americas largest reservoir) covers about 642 square kilometres and is capable of holding approximately 1,230,258 litres. The creation of Lake Mead flooded the community of St. Thomas, Nevada, and turned it into a ghost town. Today, the reservoir supplies water to farms, businesses and millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. Lake Mead also is a popular site for boating, fishing and swimming; America’s first national recreation area was established there in 1964.
Today, as a result of a drought the Colorado River basin has experienced for the past decade-and-a-half, Lake Mead has dropped to its lowest level since it was first filled in the 1930s.
It once was the world’s tallest dam – Hoover Dam was the world’s tallest dam when it was built in the 1930s. These days, it’s the second-tallest dam in the U.S., having been surpassed by the Oroville Dam in Northern California in 1968. The globe’s tallest dam is the Jinping-I Dam in Liangshan, Sichuan, China, which became operational in 2013.
An amazing feat of engineering and the sheer size of the dam is awe inspiring. Looking over the edge takes your breath away.