Here are six quick facts about the 726-foot-high wall of concrete known as Hoover Dam
The United States was depressed and scared in 1931, yet its people found the will and the way to mount one of the greatest public works projects ever. More than 21,000 men, many with their families, moved to the Nevada-Arizona border, bored tunnels to divert the Colorado River, poured enough concrete to pave a four-foot-wide sidewalk around the equator, and created Hoover Dam, 726 feet high, in less than five years.
SAFETY FIRST This was the first construction project in the United States at which all workers were required to wear hard hats.
A STYLISH BARRIER Among the art deco touches: bas-reliefs in the elevator towers and a pair of four-ton, 30-foot-tall winged bronze figures resting on a terrazzo floor.
DESERT SEA Lake Mead, a 247-square-mile reservoir created by the dam, is the fifth most visited unit of the National Park Service, welcoming 7.6 million visitors in 2005.
DEVOTED DOGGY A plaque at the top of the dam marks the place where construction workers interred their deceased mascot—a black Labrador retriever—in 1941.
REPAID IN FULL Final payment on the $165 million federal investment in the dam was made to the treasury in 1986 with money from the sale of electricity.
POWER UP At full capacity, the dam’s 17 main turbines can generate enough power for a city the size of San Francisco.
Photography by Philip Scholz Rittermann
This article was first published in November 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.
Hoover Dam lies 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, at the Nevada-Arizona
border, on U.S. Highway 93. (702) 494-2517, (866) 730-9097, www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam .