The Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam is one of the most impressive engineering feats in modern history. Its construction is a fascinating story that takes place in the desert Southwest.
The dam has a powerhouse that uses fast-moving water to generate electricity. It also supplies drinking water to southern Nevada.
The Hoover Dam was built to control floods in the Colorado River and provide hydroelectric power. This was a huge undertaking and one of the most ambitious dam projects in American history.
Engineers had to come up with ways to make the construction process faster and safer. For example, they needed to pour the concrete in many different stages.
They also had to figure out a way to cool the concrete so it wouldn’t get too hot and cause cracking. Without engineers’ help, it would have taken the concrete 125 years to cool down.
To make it easier, engineers poured the concrete into forms that had cooling coils on them. Then, they pumped water through these cooling coils. The water helped cool the concrete and sped up the curing process.
On September 30, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Hoover Dam (known at the time as Boulder Dam) in Black Canyon on the border between Nevada and Arizona. The dam prevents floods and supplies irrigation water and hydroelectric power for much of the Southwestern U.S.
The construction of the dam took place in the midst of the Great Depression and was considered one of the great engineering feats in American history. The project was a major boost for national confidence in the strength of American ingenuity and technology.
As construction was nearing completion, an acrimonious dispute arose over what the dam would be called. Earlier in 1930, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur had taken it upon himself to name the future dam after former president Herbert Hoover.
The observation deck at the Hoover Dam is a great way to get an incredible bird’s eye view of Lake Mead and the Colorado River. It also allows you to take pictures of the imposing dam itself.
Another cool thing to see is the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, which connects Nevada and Arizona. This arch bridge measures 1,900 feet long, making it the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere.
The bridge was formally named after former Nevada governor Mike O’Callaghan and football player Pat Tillman, who died while on military duty in Afghanistan. The imposing structure can be viewed from a number of look-out points on the Nevada and Arizona sides.
Boating is a popular recreational activity on Lake Mead, the vast reservoir formed by Hoover Dam. With 550 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead is one of the most scenic areas in the country and attracts over 10 million visitors annually.
For those who want to take a closer look at the dam, there are several companies that offer tours on the water. These cruises last about half a day and are a great way to learn more about the dam and its history.
Kayaking is also a popular activity on the river. In fact, every Sunday and Monday of the year are designated as primitive zones where you can enjoy kayaking in a natural setting.
The Hoover Dam is a landmark that is steeped in history. During the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover proposed building a structure that would divert water from the Colorado River and solve the water problems plaguing farms in the West.
Today, The Hoover Dam controls flooding of the Colorado River and irrigates the land to support agriculture. It also creates one of the largest artificial lakes on the planet, Lake Mead.
Kayaking from the base of the dam is a fantastic way to see the Colorado River and enjoy the Black Canyon. Experienced river guides get you geared up and ready to go no matter your experience level. Take breaks at waterfalls, natural hot springs, and a sauna cave, and discover the beauty of this iconic natural site.