What Is It?
Hoover Dam is a marvel of American infrastructure. Located southeast of Las Vegas, it holds back the power of the Colorado River, helping power the Southwestern United States.
Herbert Hoover first proposed a Boulder Canyon dam in 1921 as Secretary of Commerce. It took almost the entire 1922 calendar year to negotiate water rights between seven states, called the Colorado River Compact. Construction was not authorized until Hoover was president in 1929.
It’s Dam Big
Construction began in 1931, using 8.5 million pounds of dynamite, 4.5 million cubic yards of concrete and 45 million pounds of steel.
Completed in 1936, the dam is 726 feet tall, 660 feet thick and 1,244 feet wide. By comparison, the Washington Monument is 555 feet tall.
All That Power
Hoover Dam has 17 generators, each weighing more than 4 million pounds. The dam can generate more than 4.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually— enough to provide power to more than 1.3 million Americans. Until 1949, it was the world’s largest hydroelectric installation.
Flooding the Mojave Desert behind the dam, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. It has four basins that come together roughly in the shape of an upside-down “T.” At its full size, it is never more than 10 miles wide, but the 550 miles of shoreline contain 9.3 trillion gallons of water. Due to drought, as of July, Lake Mead is only 35% full.
To find information on tours, visiting hours and local health restrictions, visit www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam or call 702-494-2517.