83 Fascinating Facts About The Hoover Dam You Should Know | Kidadl


83 Fascinating Facts About The Hoover Dam You Should Know

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Named after the 31st American President, the Hoover Dam is a concrete wonder!

The Hoover Dam has managed to keep the rampant Colorado River in control through almost a century, which is nothing short of wondrous! Controlling the river became very important after 1905, as it started wreaking havoc in the area.

Hence, the plan of building a dam seemed very beneficial. The project was built with the aim to control floods, irrigate the lands and also produce a lot of electricity. In addition to this, Lake Mead would become the largest reservoir in the nation.

The planning of the dam started in the year 1928 and by 1936, it was completed. One of the most fascinating facts about the Hoover Dam is that it was completed two years before the estimated time! Keep reading for more facts!

Facts About Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is recognized as an architectural marvel in the history of the United States of America. It held the title of being the largest dam in the world for a considerable amount of time before being bested by a dam in Switzerland. The dam is considered to be an essential and important part of the history of the nation because of the feats it achieved as well as the amount of employment that it gave to people. The building of the Hoover Dam was a mammoth task that was taken up by the Department of Interiors and is now a place that encapsulates the features of this architectural marvel in front of many visitors and tourists on a daily basis.

  • The Hoover Dam is built on the Colorado River.
  • Lake Mead is impounded by the Hoover Dam.
  • Lake Mead, when it is full, is the largest reservoir in the United States of America.
  • The idea of the Hoover Dam was conceived in the year 1928.
  • The dam's construction started in the year 1930, and it was completed by the year 1936.
  • The construction of the dam was inaugurated when Herbert Hoover was the President of the USA.
  • The dam was called the Boulder Dam for several years since there was side discontent with the naming of such an important dam after a US President whose time in office was highly criticized.
  • The Hoover Dam has also inspired the building of Boulder City, which would house the workers.
  • The project was managed by the US Department of Interiors' Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Boulder City was given the status of a city only in 1960.
  • Until its incorporation, the Bureau of Reclamation had all rights over Boulder City and its improvements.
  • The then-mayor of Las Vegas tried to make sure that his city was made the headquarters to oversee the construction of the Hoover Dam.
  • However, he was unsuccessful in doing so.
  • During the visit of the Secretary of the Department of Interiors prior to the selection of the headquarters, he put up the greatest show to portray how Las Vegas was appropriate for becoming the headquarters.
  • In the process of doing so, he closed down numerous speakeasies.
  • Las Vegas was not chosen mainly due to its reputation as a party city. It was the belief of the Bureau of Reclamation that the construction would be hampered if the headquarters were in Las Vegas.
  • When Boulder City was built, alcohol and gambling were prohibited in it.
  • The huge budget that the Hoover Dam required was opposed by no less than seven states. It was because of the fear that California would get an undue advantage from the project.
  • The potential of a dam built near Boulder Canyon or Black Canyon was not clear to many.
  • When the employment for the building of the dam started, many unemployed people started to move towards southern Nevada.
  • This came at the time of the Great Depression, which meant that the job would be way better than what most Americans had at the time!
  • Unimaginable amounts of concrete were used in the building of this dam.
  • At its base, the Hoover Dam is so huge that it can fit two soccer fields joined end to end.
  • The top, which looks like it is quite narrow, is still as large as a four-lane highway.
  • Hence, the Hoover Dam is a concrete engineering marvel!
  • The concrete that was used to build the Hoover Dam is still drying. The natural process indicates it will take 125 years for the concrete to dry.
  • The Hoover Dam is 590 ft (179.8 m) deep.

Hoover Dam's History

Hoover Dam's history is dotted with many events, starting from the conception of the idea of building such a large dam to the entire building process. The dam which now controls floods saw the death of many workers that worked towards its development. This dam was also a master-move from the federal government and has a significant share of confusion around its naming. The history of the Hoover Dam is also incomplete without an account of the way Las Vegas and its mayor tried to make sure that the city was the headquarter for the construction site.

  • The idea of making the Hoover Dam was conceived in the year 1928.
  • The Bureau of Reclamation was faced with a mammoth task which asked of them to divert water from the Colorado River.
  • The river had already broken the canals and made the Salton Sea in the year 1905, which started the search for a way of bringing the raging river under control.
  • In the year 1922, the then director of the Bureau of Reclamation, Arthur Powell, started exploring his options and came up with the plan of building a dam near Black Canyon, rejecting the previous site for the construction of the dam.
  • The project had immense potential and both Boulder Canyon and Black Canyon came up as prospective sites of construction.
  • Even after the budget and project were cleared by Congress, the task of forming headquarters for such an intensive project lay ahead of the Bureau.
  • The dam is built at the Nevada-Arizona border and currently supplies most of its power to the state of California.
  • The building of Boulder City was also an incredible feat. However, the miserable conditions of the city as well as the reluctance of the Bureau of Reclamation to provide facilities resulted in the relocation of many of the workers to a nearby town called Ragtown.
  • The humble living standards of Ragtown are reflected accurately by its name.
  • In addition to facing many troubles with the living standards, the workers of the Hoover Dam construction site were also challenged by incredibly high temperatures.
  • The innermost tunnels of the construction site reached temperatures that were extremely hostile.
  • The temperatures would reach above 120 F (48.9 C) which is way above what a human body can accept.
  • One of the most interesting facts about the Hoover Dam is that it did not receive the name that we now know it by until much later.
  • The dam was named Hoover Dam by the then Secretary of the Department of Interiors, Ray Lyman Wilbur, in an attempt to please his boss, President Herbert Hoover.
  • This was at a time when the construction of the dam had just begun.
  • It inspired a lot of backlashes since people were already unamused by Hoover's time as a President.
  • It is said that he pushed the nation towards the Great Depression, which lasted for a decade and wreaked havoc in the US.
  • The dam was renamed the Boulder Dam by the successor to the chair of the Secretary of the Department of Interiors, Harold Ickes.
  • The dam was even inaugurated with the name Boulder Dam.
  • The name was changed much later, over a decade after its inauguration, in the year 1947, and called the Hoover Dam.
The Hoover Dam is built on the Colorado River

Amazing Facts About Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam can do much more than just generate power. The Hoover Dam tour is sure to allow you to experience the grandeur and sheer importance of the dam from a closer distance! One of the curious things about the construction of the dam is that despite his questionable and nearly inefficient rule, President Hoover was adamant about the building of this dam, and the fact that the construction began during his time in office was one of the very few saving graces for the infamous ex-president.

  • The Hoover Dam has some of the most amazing specifications in the nation and at the time when it was built, it boasted of being the largest in the entire world.
  • The engineering marvel was designed by Frank Crowe.
  • This magnificent dam is no less than 726 ft (221.3 m) high and 1,244 ft (379.2 m) long!
  • The length is calculated at the crest of the dam.
  • In order to make the dam, 118.8 million cu ft (3.4 million cu m) of concrete was used. The amount of concrete used in the making of the dam would have been enough to make a straight road from one end of the United States of America to the other!
  • The Hoover Dam now helps in flood control through its diversion tunnels.
  • The power plant near the dam is fed by concrete tubes known as penstocks.
  • When the entire flow of water reaches the penstocks at a tremendous speed, electricity is produced.
  • The dam is also beneficial in terms of irrigation facilities provided to the neighboring places.
  • When at Hoover Dam, you can go to the observation deck which will give you the most amazing view of everything around the dam, including Lake Mead.
  • To facilitate the building of this dam, excavated rock, slit from the river were used in order to build two cofferdams.
  • The Hoover Dam also helps in water storage and navigation.
  • Dam visitors are allowed in groups of 20 and are given a very good view of everything that happens in the dam and its powerplant.
  • When the water flowing at tremendous speeds enters the turbines, the energy thus created is converted to hydroelectric power.
  • One of the biggest problems faced during the building of this dam was cleaning up the canyon walls.
  • The water in Hoover Dam flows upwards because the principles of gravity do not apply to the dam, due to the design of the structure.

Problems With The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is not only known for the amount of hydroelectric power that it provides to the states such as Nevada, Arizona, and California, but also because of its architectural prowess. The fact that the dam was built nearly a century ago makes one wonder if the many difficulties that the workers and designers might have faced, and be assured that the problems sure were aplenty. One of the problems that the workers faced was the intense heatwave that they had to face during the year that the construction began. The heatwave was so strong and hideous that many of the workers had heatstrokes!

  • The path towards the building of the Hoover Dam was not easy. The very first problem that the project faced was that seven states opposed its gigantic price tag.
  • The cleaning of the canyon walls also created a problem as many workers had to be suspended in the process.
  • This also almost claimed the life of an official of the Bureau of Reclamation.
  • However, the cleaning of the canyon wall also helped in discovering some of the innate talents of the locality.
  • The tunnels of the dam were choked with carbon monoxide, which is considered to be one of the reasons why so many workers died during the project.
  • Many workers also lost their lives to accidents.
  • One of the main problems was drying the concrete. This was solved by building a humongous refrigerator!
  • More than 5000 people were employed for the construction of this dam every day. The entire project required the skills of 21,000 people to build a dam.
  • The construction of the dam cannot be called sustainable as it tampered with the natural flow of the Colorado River and flooded many wildlife sanctuaries.
  • If the Hoover Dam fails, the river will push through and run rampant again. This will also cut off the power supply at many places and cause significant damage.

Hoover Dam's Significance

Hoover Dam's significance is clearly outlined in the sheer amount of money and labor that is extracted from the nation from the very outset. The dam site is a major tourist attraction for the people who visit the party city of Las Vegas and offers many guided tours. When at Hoover Dam, you can choose from a range of tours according to your taste and the time that you have on your hands!

  • The Hoover Dam along with the generators and power plants came with an approximate price tag of around $165 million at the time of conception, which is a steep bill, to say the least.
  • For such a budget to be cleared and for people to dedicate their lives to the project for over five years is an immeasurable feat to achieve.
  • The dam now holds back the Colorado River water and generates enough electricity for 1.3 million people in California, Nevada, and Arizona!
  • The importance of the dam is also made clear by the fact that the German forces tried to bomb this dam during the Second World War as a way to make sure that the US military faced a large setback.
  • However, the crisis was duly averted by the proactive military enforcements in the area.
  • In the present day, the dam produces hydroelectric power for millions of people in the surrounding states, in addition to being the site for a huge man-made bridge that connects two states.
  • The Hoover Dam was also built with the expectation that it would control floods from the Colorado River, which was also effectively achieved.
  • The Hoover Dam was a symbol of national pride for a long time.
  • It now helps in irrigation, water storage, and the generation of power.
  • Lake Mead, the largest artificial reservoir in the nation, also plays a huge role.
Written By
Shirin Biswas

Shirin is a writer at Kidadl. She previously worked as an English teacher, and as an editor at Quizzy. While working at Big Books Publishing, she edited study guides for children. Shirin has a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, and has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing.

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