On the border between the US states of Nevada and Arizona, there is a concrete arch dam that was built across the Colorado River in the 1930s. Hoover Dam was named after the American President Hoover and was the largest dam in the world at the time.
The construction of this massive dam was decided in 1931, after the area had been hit by catastrophic floods for the umpteenth time, which were caused by melting ice from the Rocky Mountains. The floods caused considerable damage to property and there were also casualties. The dam began to be built during the American economic crisis, creating thousands of jobs for workers from all over the US and greatly contributing to the development of the entire area. During the five years of construction, 21,000 people took turns here. On average, around 3,500 workers worked here every day, the documented maximum was 5,218 people in 1 day.
The dam was designed by masters in the field of architecture, the concrete dam was built in the Art Deco style of the period. For its time, the dam has incredible dimensions: it is 221 meters high, 379 meters long, 15 meters wide at the top, and 198 meters wide at the bottom. For its construction, 6.6 million tons of material were needed, but at the same time around 8 million tons of rock had to be removed.
At the time of its creation, the dam was called Boulder Canyon Dam. However, the 31st US President Herbert Hoover made a significant contribution to its creation, which is why it was decided 12 years later that the dam would bear his name.
According to existingcountries, Hoover Dam stands in the path of the flow of the Colorado River, and thanks to its construction, one of the largest artificial lakes in the world – Lake Mead – was created here. The length of the lake is 186 km, the length of its coast is estimated at a respectable 900 km, and the reported depth is approximately 150-180 meters. Lake Mead is surrounded by the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is visited by up to 10 million people every year. It is said to be the fifth most visited national park in the USA.
Completed and opened to the public in 1936, the dam was one of the marvels of modern technology. The enormous power of the accumulated water is used to generate electricity, because a hydroelectric plant is located directly under the dam. Thanks to its 17 generators, it has a power of up to 2074 megawatts.
More than a million visitors visit the plant each year, and many more cross the causeway on their way from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. The narrow and winding road, on which about 16 thousand cars pass every day, is the site of frequent traffic accidents. In the future, therefore, traffic should be diverted from the dam and a modern bridge should be built. When you enter the power plant, you will be greeted by an introductory hall where you can view paintings and historical photos from the construction of the dam. It is unbelievable what conditions the workers had to work in back then.
There is also a cinema in the interiors, where a historical educational film with really interesting footage is prepared for visitors. Accompanied by a power plant worker, you will then take the elevator down 150 meters below, where there is a huge hall with generators. You can then listen to an expert explanation from an employee of the visitor center, who will certainly be happy to answer all your questions. The view from the top of the dam is unique and unforgettable. An endless and beautiful landscape will open before you, decorated with red rocks that create wonderful scenery.
Until 1949, it was the largest dam in the world, but it was surpassed by the Chinese waterworks “Three Gorges”. Nevertheless, the Americans are rightly proud of it and it is still unique in the world for them. In 1985, it was even declared a national monument.
Since there has been a long-term drought in the area in recent years, the water level in the dam is decreasing. However, it is not only the Arizona-Nevada Hoover Dam, but also other dams located on the Colorado River, such as Glen Canyon Dam, Parker Dam, Davis Dam, Palo Verde Diversion Dam and Imperial Dam, which together form a cascade of 6 dams. The loss of water is visible on the exposed rocks, which are bright white. The water is disappearing gradually, but constantly. So far, no one knows if this is just some kind of cycle that will return to normal in time, or if it is caused by the warming of the planet. In the future, it could happen that bodies of water like Lake Mead or Lake Powell would completely disappear from the map. This rocky, desolate and inhospitable landscape would thus lose places with the possibility of entertainment, relaxation and relaxation.