Day 195 - The Massive Hoover Dam

Trip Start May 01, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2014

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What I did
Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Sunday, November 10, 2013

Today we drove over to the Hoover Dam in Boulder City, not all that far from Las Vegas.  I had been there before, but Nick had not and everyone else was happy to see it again.  We had a beautiful drive over - the weather here has been fantastic - sunny and in the high 70's to low 80's and no humidity - so just about ideal.

When you come around the first corner that gives you a glimpse of this massive structure, you are a little awe struck that they were able to build this size  structure back in the 1920's.  This dam was needed to control the ebb and flow of the Colorado River back in the late 1800's. Often the river would flood in the Spring devastating the farmlands and then in the Fall it would dry up to a trickle.  Something had to be done so that the water supply to these dry parched towns could thrive.  Before anything could be built, they had to divide the water evenly between the 7 states that the river served.  So, in 1922 the Colorado River Compact was signed and equal distribution was decided upon.  (Mexico did not receive an apportionment until 1944 when the Mexican Water Treaty was signed).

It took until 1928 for Congress to pass the Boulder Canyon Project Act authorizing construction of Hoover Dam.  Volume of Concrete used was 3.25 million cubic yards!!

And, not until 1931, did the construction begin.  The last of the concrete was poured in 1935.
AND, imagine this - the company responsible for the construction (Six Companies, Inc.) came in ahead of schedule by 2 years, and (wait for it...) under budget.  Imagine that today!  HA!  AND, it was advocated that Hoover Dam be self-supporting, financed entirely through the sale of hydroelectric power generated at the dam.  TO THIS DAY, the operation and maintenance of this facility continue to be solely supported with revenues from power sales. The cost of the B. C. Project was $165 million and this cost has been repaid, WITH INTEREST, to the Federal Treasury through the sale of Hoover Dam power.  Can we not learn from this????????  Please???????

Hoover Dam is still considered a major feat of engineering and is a National Historic Landmark; a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders!  Technical innovations used on this project are still being used today by major construction projects.

President Hoover dedicated the dam in 1935.  The first of the generators began operation in October of that same year.  The 17th and final generator went into commercial operation in 1961.
I wish I could remember the amazing volume of water that flows through the generators in seconds and minutes.  It's massive!  The water level is down 65' and the area only gets 4 inches of rain a year, so they are extremely worried that within our children's/grandchildren's lifetime, the dam will have no water to draw from and it would cause a major disaster for this part of the Country that is served by this dam.

Now, there is your history lesson!! 

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kimberish on

Interesting commentary. Thanks! So I'm speaking from my memories, which often aren't detailed. But it's interesting when you visit these dams. They only tell you the positive side, which is understandable. Many of those water treaties were made when water was much more plentiful - which is causing problems now that water levels are down. And while the dams helped make desert towns possible, there are down sides too. Those farms that were saved from flooding, also took natural habitat, and the floods regularly (or at least somewhat regularly) replenished those areas. Not sure if this is the case for this river, but I imagine it is, but dams have also caused a lot of problems for fish. So while there is a happy side, there's a not so happy side too. All that being said, touring these dams is pretty fascinating!

Kathy Blackman on

Looking good, you two! We were there just behind you and enjoyed our time in Boulder City with friends. We walked out on the bridge to be in AZ and NV at the same time. Where are you now???? Hugs.....

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