Hoover Dam History

A National Historic Landmark, Hoover Dam is the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere and towers 725 feet above the Colorado River. The dam produces 4 billion kilowatts of electricity a year through its 17 generators, making it one of the country’s largest hydroelectric power facilities.

Originally called the Boulder Dam, it was later renamed after President Hoover, who had been one of the original proponents of the project. A tour is the best way to see and experience the Hoover Dam. Each tour includes a guided exploration of the power plant with presentations and exhibits that explain the history of the dam, how it operates and visits to its lesser-known areas.

Construction on the dam began in 1931 and was completed in 1935, two years ahead of schedule. During the Great Depression, thousands of men and their families came to Black Canyon to build the dam, which was designed to transform the raging Colorado River into a power source for the area’s growing population. The dam has created the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, a frequent stop for boaters and water-sport fans.

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