United States needs power, and lots of
it; to make sure that the southwest had
enough power to last it though out the
century. To do this they would need a
hydroelectric dam of epic proportions.
Built between 1931 and 1936 by the U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation, the dam was to
be named after President Herbert Hoover
(from 1933 to 1947 it was known as Boulder
Dam). Planners decided it would be 726
ft (221 m) high and 1,244 ft (379 m) long;
it was to be located on a critical spot
on the Colorado River between on the border
between the state of Nevada and the state
It was the 1930s and America was in the
middle of The Great Depression; times
were rough but those who had work were
glad to have it and proud of their country’s
achievements; this meant that there were
plenty of hands to work on the dam. Diverting
the course of a huge river it’s
a monumental task ranking alongside such
things as the Panama Canal and the Golden
Bridge was created by first digging tunnels
thought the mountainsides to divert the
water. Then the river was stopped with
two smaller dams (called cofferdams) to
divert the water thought the new tunnels.
The area between the cofferdams was drained
and the dam construction could begin.
Layer upon layer of concrete was poured
until the dam was complete; this was when
the smaller dams were removed.
There are many statues located at the
dam sight. The design for the artwork
on the dam is called “Art Deco”
and is the work of a man named Oskar J.W.
Hansen. The two that are the easiest to
spot is the “High Scaler’s
Monument” and the “Winged
Figures of the Republic”. The “High
Scaler’s Monument” is dedicated
to the many brave workers who spend much
of their day on thin ropes thousands of
feet about the riverbed. The “Monument
to The Republic” is dedicated to
(in Hansen’s own words) “the
immutable calm of intellectual resolution,
and the enormous power of trained physical
strength, equally enthroned in placid
triumph of scientific accomplishment.”
These words sum up a dam that is visited
by millions of tourists each year (and
is driven over by millions more).