Hoover Dam  
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An old photo of Hoover DamThe Hoover Dam
... is located on the
Nevada and Arizona border about 30-40 minutes from the city of Las Vegas depending on where you start from there. Hoover Dam is currently and has been since it was built, a major source of flood control, irrigation and electrical power in the Southwest and was, for several years, the largest and tallest dam in the world. Hoover Dam is one of the most interesting attractions in the west and continues to be a major  tourist destination. Even when travelers book last minute holidays, they often include a visit to Hoover Dam in their itinerary.

    Driving to the Hoover Dam from the Nevada side takes you down a narrow, winding, two-lane road when you start as you get closer to the dam. The dark, rocky canyon walls angle sharply down Black Canyon to the Colorado River. The hairpin turns along the western wall of Black Canyon are challenging as you drive toward the dam. In contrast, the approach to Hoover Dam from the Arizona side is easy and only has a few relatively easy turns.
Hoover Dam in 1999
    As one enters Black Canyon from the Arizona side you will first see the back of Hoover Dam and its intake towers. Currently this is a good time to see the intake towers because the water level is way down. In the past, as shown by the photo on the left from 1999, the water from Lake Mead almost completely covered them. For those who have seen Hoover Dam before the drought the amount of ground surface that has been exposed is stark.

Taming the Colorado River
... a river too thick to drink, too thin to plow ...
    Long before there was a Hoover Dam, the Colorado River flowed uninterrupted along its 1,450 mile course from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. For over 12 million years the Colorado has relentlessly carved out the Grand Canyon, Marble Canyon, Black Canyon and other places along its path. As the river cut its  way through the deserts, canyons and mountainous plateaus along its path, the Colorado River carried with it tons of silt to the lower Colorado basin and eventually out to the Gulf of Flooding before Hoover Dam California.

    When the first Spanish explorers saw the Colorado River, they noted the reddish color of its silt and they gave it the name we know it by today. The muddy Colorado River has also been known by several other names. In 1540, Hernando de Alarcon sailed to the head of the Gulf of California and later up the Colorado River which he name Rio de Buena Guia, or 'River of Good Guidance'. Sort of an ironic name given that it did not help him find what he was looking for ...

Flooding in California before Hoover Dam was built ... a vengeful and unreliable river ...
Long before the Hoover Dam was built, almost every spring the Colorado River flooded the low lying areas along its banks. The volume of water was often huge because the Colorado basin drains an area of over 242,000 square miles. The silt that it carried created a huge delta in the Gulf of California. In the hot, dry Southwestern summers, the flow of the Colorado River slowed to a trickle. For millions and millions of years this was the natural cycle of the river.

    As the areas along the lower Colorado River began to be settled in the mid and late nineteenth century, the inconsistent nature of the river made it anColorado River floods town unreliable source of water for irrigation. The wanton destruction caused when the river flooded in the spring had a deep impact on the farm lands near and sometimes not so near, its banks.

    In fact, this damage caused so much destruction and attention that by the 1920's, that it had become necessary and politically expedient to control the flooding along the path of the lower Colorado River, particularly in southern California.

    Trying to control, to tame the Colorado River was not a new idea. Some of the earlier attempts at this ended in disaster. The most famous disaster had almost completely and forever changed the geography and history of the entire lower Colorado region. To read more about this amazing incident

Hoover Dam location, just an hour from Las Vegas
   The location of the Hoover Dam was essential in ensuring that the dam provided adequate flood control in this part of America but mostly for Southern California. The Hoover Dam was built on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Further justification for being the dam constructed in this location is that this provided more than flood control. It also brought improved irrigation and electricity power to the people of the Southwest. For many, the Hoover Dam was as important as the growing number of gambling and casino establishments which were being opened throughout the construction of the Dam. The Hoover Dam is located approximately 60 minutes from the Las Vegas strip allowing people to enjoy the thrill of Las Vegas and then the relaxation of the Dam, taking in the amazing views and sights courtesy of the Hoover Dam.

President Herbert Hoover
The role played by Herbert Hoover in getting the Hoover Dam Built
    Because of his long and deep involvement in the project, from his days as Secretary of Commerce to his tenure as the 31st president, no other person is more responsible for the successful completion of Hoover Dam than Herbert Hoover.

... political animosities had to be resolved ....
    Politically, there were an incredible number of obstacles for Hoover to overcome. Before work on the Hoover Dam could start, he first had to help settle a 25 year water allocation controversy between the representatives of
Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. On November 24, 1922, these states signed the Colorado River Compact, settling this old conflict. The Boulder Canyon Project Act, which authorized the construction of Hoover Dam, was enacted on December 21, 1928.

    When he was the President, Herbert Hoover continued his involvement with the Hoover Dam project settling some of the engineering problems, water and power allocation rights and even securing the revenue contracts required by congress. Victimized by the circumstances of his times and some of his own actions, Hoover left the presidency as a less than popular figure. However, no one can deny that Herbert Hoovers' greatest achievement was the engineering, organizational and political skills that he showed to bring about the construction of Hoover Dam.

The role played by the Bureau of ReclamationSeal of the Bureau of Reclamation

    In the 20th century, it was the policy of the Bureau of Reclamation to insure that every available drop of water from the various streams and rivers in the dry southwest United States was made available for either municipal, agricultural or industrial use. To this end, Hoover Dam and the dams which followed it, are very successful. Currently the lower Colorado river provides water to irrigate over 1
million acres in the United States and 500 thousand acres in Mexico. Hoover Dam is the center piece to a water conservation and delivery system which provides water to over 22 million people in Arizona, California and Nevada.

Hoover Dam is One of the Most Successful Public Works Projects Ever
    If judged by the many benefits it provides, Hoover Dam is without doubt one of the most successful projects ever carried out by this or any other nation. The electrical power provided by Hoover Dam goes to Southern California, 56%, Arizona, 19%, and Nevada, which gets 25% of the allocation.

   A by product of Hoover Dam is the
Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead provides year round recreational opportunities. Fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, camping and sight seeing are among the activities which draw 7 to 8 million visitors a year to Lake Mead.

More Hoover Dam Information
  Hoover Dam Tours
  Is It Hoover Dam or Boulder Dam?
  Flooding Before Hoover Dam
  Driving Directions
  Facts And FAQ's
  Hoover Dam Bypass Project
Hoover Dam Photos
  Hoover Dam Photos
 - Overflow Tunnels - Arizona Side
 - Visitors Center - 'Bronze Turbine'
 - The Hoover Dam Intake Towers
 - The Front Of Hoover Dam
 - Inscriptions And Dedications
 - Drought Effects
   - Bathtub Ring
   - Intake Towers
   - Spillways
Tours from Las Vegas:
  Las Vegas Tours
  Las Vegas Shows
  Red Rock Canyon Tours
  Grand Canyon Tours
Nearby Places of Interest:
  Lake Mead
  Valley of Fire
  Red Rock Canyon
  Spring Mountains
  Desert National Wildlife Refuge
  Great Basin National Park
  Zion National Park
  Death Valley National Park
Nearby Lodging:
  Nevada Hotels
  Boulder City Hotels
  Henderson Hotels
  Las Vegas Hotels
  North Las Vegas Hotels
  Mesquite Hotels
  Overton Hotels
  Laughlin Hotels
  Arizona Hotels
  Kingman Arizona Hotels
  Lake Havasu City Hotels
  Bullhead City Hotels
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