DOTW: Hoover Dam

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Registered: 03-21-2003
DOTW: Hoover Dam
Mon, 05-17-2004 - 8:24pm

Hoover Dam is a testimony to a country's ability to construct monolithic projects in the midst of adverse conditions. Built during the Depression; thousands of men and their families came to Black Canyon to tame the Colorado River. It took less than 5 years, in a harsh and barren land, to build the largest dam of its time. Now, more than 60 years later, Hoover Dam still stands as a world-renowned structure. The dam is a National Historic Landmark and has been rated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.

Here is a group of essays that try to explain what Hoover Dam is, how it was built and its significance to the past, present and future. Many of these essays were written by Hoover Dam tour guides, some of the most knowledgeable people that you will find on the subject of Hoover Dam. Some of the essays were written many years ago, but some are very recent.

Below is a short description of what each essay is about. You can move from essay to essay by clicking on the links to the left.

  • Cofferdams - Before the dam could be built the Colorado River had to be moved. This was accomplished with the aid of cofferdams.

  • Comparisons - How many elephants could the cableway crane lift, and other points of interest.

  • Concrete - Hoover Dam is concrete; and without concrete, this dam could not have been built.

  • Facts for Kids

  • High Scalers - Before construction could begin on the dam, loose rock had to be removed from the canyon walls. Special men were required for the job, men called "high-scalers."

  • Spillways - The Spillways help to protect the dam, and make sure that water never goes over the top.

  • State Contributions - Just about every state contributed something to the construction of Hoover Dam. Here is a partial list.

  • Tunnels - What do you do with the river when you want to build a dam? You divert it into tunnels.

  • Wages - A comparison chart of prevailing wages at the time of construction.

  • What is biggest? - What is the biggest dam? It depends on what you are measuring.

  • Workforce - A table showing the origins of the people who built

  • View of Hoover Dam Visitor Center.The Bureau of Reclamation started conducting tours through the Hoover Dam and Power Plant in 1937. Today, close to 1,000,000 visitors a year take the tour and millions more drive across the dam.

    The dam is located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on US Highway 93 at the Nevada-Arizona border. Click here for maps and driving instructions, and where to go after you get here.

    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 AM -- Close 6:00 PM

    Tour Center: Open 9:00 AM -- Close 5:00 PM

    The Hoover Dam Tour Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All times are for the Pacific time zone.

    Note: Ticket sales for the Discovery Tour will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. The Tour Center will close at 5:00 p.m. To see it all, we recommend visitors arrive by 3:00 p.m. Pedestrians are prohibited from the top of the dam during hours of darkness.

    The busiest season is in the summer from Memorial Day until Labor day. Another busy time is during Spring Break. The slowest months are January and February. At all times, the least crowded tours are during the first two hours of the day.

    The Hoover Dam Tour Center and the Hoover Dam Discovery Tour are wheelchair accessible.

    Hoover Dam is located in a desert climate. It gets HOT in the summer. During summer months it is recommended that you wear light clothing and a hat, use sun screen and sun glasses, and carry water bottles on the tour. (Food, chewing gum, canned drinks and drinks in cups are NOT allowed on tour or in the buildings.)