General Information About the Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is a massive concrete dam that is located on the Colorado River. Construction on the iconic structure began in 1931 and was finished in late 1935 and, although it was commissioned by President Roosevelt, it was named after Herbert Hoover. Its presence led to the formation of Lake Mead and currently serves the country as one of the largest sources of hydroelectric power. Thanks to its location near Las Vegas and its unique architectural style, the dam is also an extremely popular tourist destination.
The dam's spot on the Colorado River was considered as potential hydroelectric power plant location but concrete plans for it weren't conducted until 1922. Research determined that Black Canyon would be the best place for the project, which was then known as the Boulder Canyon Project.
Construction on the dam began in the early thirties with the manual diverting of the river. Four large tunnels were drilled into the canyon walls and then paved with cement so that the Colorado River could be temporarily diverted (the Arizona tunnel was the primary; the Nevada one was used in the event there was a flood.)
Once the entire site was drained and prepared, construction on the dam's foundation began. On September 30, 1935, with every aspect of the project finished except its powerhouse, the Hoover Dam was dedicated and toured by president Franklin Roosevelt. Although the structure was unofficially referred to as simply the Boulder Dam by Roosevelt and other officials, in 1947 a bill was passed by congress that solidified the name as Hoover.
Today, the structure is an extremely popular tourist destination. Each year, thousands of motorists drive past it on their way to get to and from Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. However, just as many people travel hundreds of miles just to visit the dam specifically as well. Although driving across the dam is no longer allowed, visitors can walk across a short pedestrian walkway in order to view the structure from up above.
Interested tourists can also learn about the structure's legacy, history, and surrounding areas in the dam's museum and visitor's center. There, people can watch informative films, visit the world famous observation deck, and even schedule self-guided tours to the center of the dam itself. The area surrounding the structure is home to a number of public picnic areas, rest stops, and even a popular statue that was created in honor of the 112 workers who died during its construction. More adventurous tourists can check out the many activities that Lake Mead offers, which include boating and canoeing.