The Hoover Dam is something of an engineering marvel. Named after a POTUS who actually might have been one of the most divisive of the era, the dam provides essential energy and water resources to people across the states of California and Nevada. It’s based alongside the Colorado River, and took a few years to bring to life! The dam is seen as a triumph in many ways, though there are ongoing efforts to try and monitor water levels in the region as a result of concerns regarding droughts.
But how much do you know about the dam? Did you know about the community built alongside to help workers in the Great Depression? Do you know what the dam was initially built for? Keep reading our facts about Hoover Dam and you will soon find the answers to all these questions and more.
The Hoover Dam is found in the USA, at the border of Arizona and Nevada.
Construction of the dam began in 1931 and was completed in 1936.
It was designed by the architects Gordon Kaufmann and Henry J Kaiser.
The main aim of building the dam was to supply the state of California with power from the flow of the Colorado River, enabling the production of electricity.
On completion of its construction, the dam was the biggest concrete structure in the world.
In 1936 the dam went on record as being the world’s largest hydro-electric power station.
Constructing the dam during the years of the Great Depression gave jobs to thousands of people, many of whom moved into the area. A new town was constructed to house them!
It was predicted by engineers that the dam was designed and engineered so well, it should last for 10,000 years!
It is possible for pedestrians and motorists to cross the dam.
Hoover Dam generators
As well as providing power, the dam is needed to control the flow of water, the build-up of silt and is also used for irrigation purposes.
After its successful inception, providing power for California, the dam started providing power for Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Hoover Dam is 221.3 meters tall (726.4 feet).
In 1987 an announcement was made that the last payment towards the construction of the dam had been made!
The US government had financed a loan of $140 million for the project.
Private and commercial users of the power supplied by the dam paid a monthly 3% percentage of their bills over 50 years.
The bottom of the dam is around 600 feet thick, while the top of the dam has a thickness of 45 feet.
At one side of the dam, Lake Mead holds approximately 10 trillion gallons of water.
Many Americans who blamed Herbert Hoover for the Great Depression did not want the dam to be named after him. Therefore, several other names were considered.
One of the other names considered was ‘Boulder Dam’. Surveyors had initially considered Boulder Canyon as a better location to construct the dam.
Herbert Hoover was President of the United States from 1929 to 1933. He was replaced by Franklin D Roosevelt, who officially opened the dam.
Hoover was an accomplished mining engineer and was also acclaimed worldwide as a popular humanitarian. The Hoover dam gave him lasting fame.
Boulder City was the name of the ‘city’ constructed especially for the purpose of housing construction workers engaged on the project. It initially housed 5,000 people, many of whom were living previously as ‘squatters’. The project gave them a job, wage, and a home.
Constructing the dam at the Colorado River site made Lake Mead the largest reservoir in the U.S.
An ‘acre-foot’ of water equates to approximately 325,000 gallons .The lake has the capacity to hold approximately 28.9 MILLION acre feet of water! It has an area of approximately 248 square miles.
Due to periods of severe drought in the Colorado Basin, the water level of Lake Mead has fallen severely in recent years.
Construction of the dam required 4.3 million cubic yards of concrete!
In 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbour, US intelligence advised the dam should be closed to the public, due to the threat of a bomb being dropped on it. In September 1945, the Dam was reopened to the public.
Congestion on Route 66, which ran over the dam, compelled the construction of an adjacent bridge. In 2010, a bridge called the ‘Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge’ was opened.
O’Callaghan was a Korean War veteran who had been a ‘two term Governor’ of Nevada. Tillman gave up his career as a professional footballer with the Arizona Cardinals to join the army. Serving two years, he sadly died in Afghanistan in 2004.
The federal government predicts that, by/during 2021, Lake Mead will face a serious problem with water shortage due to the ongoing droughts. In 2019, seven US states agreed to set up the ‘Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan’.
The plan highlights the need to monitor and address concerns over water levels and protect the communities it serves.
In 2015, a $650 million project, the ’Low Lake Level Pumping Station’, was set up as a safety precaution. This pumping system may be used to top up water levels and aid provision of the water supply to satisfy the demand in the Nevada area.
Records show that despite the population growing by 690,000 between 2002 and 2018, water consumption in the Las Vegas Water District was registered at being an impressive 27 billion gallons less than it was in 2002!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Hoover Dam that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!