Amazing Vintage Engineering From When The Hoover Dam Was Being Built
July 7, 1930, marks the beginning of the Hoover Dam construction. And over the course of five years, some over 21,000 men would work on it day and night, building the largest dams of its time, as well as one of the largest constructions in the world.
The plans to bulid the Hoover Dam were in the works ever since the early 1900’s when an engineer from the Bureau of Reclamation, Arthur Powell Davis envisioned it. His report was the basis for its eventual construction almost 30 years later.
America’s 31st president, Herbert Hoover, was the one who made that dream a reality. Ever since he was the secretary of commerce in 1921, he committed himself to seeing the project being built. Like none other before it, the Hoover Dam was built with flood control mechanisms, thus ensuring no further damage to the farming communities living downriver from the Boulder Canyon in Colorado. Almost every year, snowmelt coming in from the Rocky Mountains would wreak havoc on those communities when it eventually joined with the Colorado River.
Furthermore, the dam would provide the opportunity to irrigate the desert and would also provide LA and other southern California communities with a fresh water supply. But even with Herbert Hoover’s stout resolve to build it, it was, nevertheless, an uphill battle in Congress. He had to introduce and then reintroduce the bill several times before it was finally passed. He also was in charge of negotiating the Colorado River Compact which broke the river basin into two regions.
In 1929, when he was president, he signed the aforementioned Colorado River Compact into law and started preparations for the Hoover Dam construction.
He said this about the project: “It is the most extensive action ever taken by a group of states under the provisions of the Constitution permitting compacts between states.”
And as if to make up for the years of fighting for the project to get underway, the contractors finished two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Today, the Hoover Dam is the second largest in the country and the 18th in the whole world, providing energy for over one million people.