Photo taken by Rachel Lasky of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Nevada
The Hoover Dam in Nevada is the main source of electrical power, irrigation, and flood control for the entire Southwestern United States. It is an engineering feat that has become world famous. The dam straddles the border between Arizona and Nevada on the Colorado River and has become a tremendous tourist destination besides serving as a dam. Millions of visitors come to see this dam each year.
The Hoover Dam is indeed named after the country's 31st President Herbert Hoover; however, the politician was supporting the project long before he ever took the oath of office. During his stint as the Secretary of Commerce, Hoover began developing a plan that would tame the unruly Colorado River and provide necessary electricity and irrigation to the peoples of Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. The result was legislation called the Boulder Canyon Project Act and was passed in 1928
The construction of Hoover Dam that was the largest dam in the entire world at the time, started in September of 1930 and was completed in a mere five years. The engineers developed a way to quickly cool and harden the concrete in order to expedite the project, which would have otherwise taken at least ten years to complete. The dam only cost $49,000,000 to build and the entire Boulder Canyon Project, which encompasses Hoover Dam, Imperial Dam, and the American Canal cost a total of $165,000,000.
A project of this size does give birth to legends. It is estimated that 16,000 men and women toiled day and night to complete the project. Some casualties did take place, put no one is buried inside the walls of this dam, as popularly believed.
Hoover Dam's measurements are absolutely astounding, especially for the early 1930s. More than 4,360,000 cubic yards of pure concrete went into its construction, which made the dam the first edifice to contain more masonry than Egypt's Great Pyramids. Now, the dam ranks as the 18th highest dam in the world, standing 726.4 feet tall and measuring 1,244 feet wide at the top of the structure. The dam weighs an estimated 6.6 million tons!
Prior to the construction of the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River often breeched its banks and flooded nearby towns, fields, and homes. With the river's power harnessed, the residents of Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona could be provided with power. The Hoover Dam is capable of producing 2,000 megawatts of electricity by using its 17 generators.
In addition to the production of power and irrigation measures for the Southwest, Hoover Dam also created a fantastic body of water, Lake Mead. A whopping 146,000 acres, Lake Mead is a fantastic destination that is visited by flocks of individuals each year. The warm Nevada sunshine graces the lake that is situated a few miles from Sin City itself, Las Vegas.
Those of you interested to visit the Hoover Dam, should first take a behind the scenes tour of the Dam by checking out the visitor's center that is a sea of interactive information about the building and purpose of the dam. For the walk-"a-holics", it is advisable to take your best walking shoes as you would go the very summit of the dam.
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