Sunday, September 13, 2015

Building the Hoover Dam

In the early years of the 20th century, the rapid development of the southwestern United States was creating a high demand for electricity and water. Simultaneously, a series of catastrophic floods made it clear that the Colorado River needed to be dammed and controlled.

In 1922, the U.S. Reclamation Service settled on Black Canyon as the ideal location for a dam. They had initially chosen Boulder Canyon (unfortunately located on a seismic fault line), which gave the project its first name, Boulder Dam.

Congress authorized the project in 1928; construction began in 1931, under the direction of a consortium called Six Companies, Incorporated.

The Great Depression was in full swing, and tens of thousands of hopeful workers flocked to the dam site with their families, camping out in temperatures that reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At its peak, the project employed 5,251 people.

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