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On the line separating Arizona and Nevada is where Hoover Dam is located. It is situated on the Colorado River in Black Canyon, close to Las Vegas. In 1931, work on the Hoover Dam got underway. The dam was a significant engineering feat when it was finished in 1936, standing 221 meters (726 feet) high and having a crest width of 379 meters (1,244 feet).
See the fact file below for more information about Hoover Dam, or download the comprehensive worksheet pack, which contains over 11 worksheets and can be used in the classroom or homeschooling environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Before the dam was built, as snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and poured into the river, the Colorado River Basin occasionally overflowed its banks. These floods put rural villages downstream in jeopardy.
- A dam would spread irrigated agriculture in the dry area and provide crucial flood control. Additionally, it would provide a consistent water supply for the cities of Southern California, including Los Angeles.
- The equal distribution of the Colorado River’s waters was one of the project’s biggest challenges. Many of the states that make up the Colorado River Basin were concerned that California, with its enormous financial resources and insatiable thirst for water, would be the first state to start using the Colorado River’s waters for its benefit and would subsequently claim ownership of the majority of the water. Obviously, the project could not move further without agreement about water distribution.
- A commission comprised of one representative from the federal government and one from each of the states in the Basin was constituted in 1922. The government’s representative was Herbert Hoover, who was Secretary of Commerce under President Warren Harding.
- In January 1922, Hoover met with the leaders of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming to talk about how to equally divide the waters of the Colorado River among the states.
- The Colorado River Basin was split into an upper and lower half by the Colorado River Compact that followed, which was signed on November 24, 1922. The states in each zone decided how the water would be allocated. This agreement, sometimes known as the Hoover Compromise, allowed for the construction of the Boulder Dam Project.
- Two proposals were introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1922.
- The Swing-Johnson legislation was introduced by Senator Hiram W. Johnson and Congressman Phil D. Swing, respectively. After the legislation was not put to the vote, it was repeatedly reintroduced.
- In December 1928, the House and Senate finally agreed to adopt the bill, which was sent to the President for approval. On December 21, 1928, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill into law approving the Boulder Canyon Project. When Herbert Hoover was elected president in July 1930, the project’s initial funding was allotted.
- On March 11, 1931, the Boulder dam construction project was given to Six Companies, Inc., a partnership between the Henry J. Kaiser & W. Kaiser Construction Company of Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Bridge Company of Portland, Chinatown, and the Morrison-Knudsen Company of Boise, Idaho. Frank Crowe, the chief executive of Six Companies, had developed many of the construction methods utilized to construct the dam.
- Six Companies, Inc. was hired to establish Boulder City, a new community for construction workers.
- Workers and their families were accommodated in temporary camps like Ragtown while the town was built. On August 8, 1931, a walkout was called due to dissatisfaction with Ragtown and unsafe working conditions at the dam site. Six companies responded by deploying strikebreakers armed with rifles and clubs, and the strike was quickly broken.
- The construction site was divided into two cofferdams to prevent flooding. The upper cofferdam project got underway in September 1932. A temporary horseshoe-shaped barrier was placed on the Nevada side of the river. The foundation excavation work was completed in June 1933.
- Four diversion tunnels, two on the Nevada side and two on the Arizona side, were drilled through the canyon walls to redirect the river’s flow around the building site. The diameter of these tunnels was 56 feet. They extended about 16,000 feet in total. In May 1931, tunneling started at the lower portals of the Nevada tunnels. Soon after, construction on two parallel tunnels in the Arizona canyon wall started.
- After the dam was finished and sealed, huge concrete plugs were put halfway down the length of the two outer diversion tunnels. The primary portion of the spillway tunnels is currently the downstream half of the tunnels that continue from the concrete plugs. The spillways that are visible to the general public are located just above the outer diversion tunnels, and they descend rapidly from their point of entry before joining and blending with the former diversion tunnels.
- There are two concrete plugs in each of the two inner diversion tunnels. One is about halfway along its length, while the other is around seventy-five percent of the way along. The portion of the tunnel that is wedged between two concrete plugs is utilized to transport water to and from the generators and the furthest intake towers. The two intake towers on the inside each have a separate tunnel.
- The dam’s initial concrete pour took place on June 6, 1933. One of the problems the designers had to contend with was the cooling and shrinking of the dam’s cement.
- Engineers estimate that the dam may endure for over 10,000 years, outlasting most traces of human civilization even if people were to vanish from the planet. This is even though the dam is projected to remain for millennia. However, they also state that the dam’s turbines would shut down in two years without human assistance.
- The initial plans for the power plant and dam’s final façade featured a powerhouse that was essentially an industrial warehouse and a simple, unembellished concrete wall topped with a balustrade in the Gothic style.
- Gordon B. Kaufmann, an architect based in Los Angeles, redrew the exteriors after the first design received criticism for being too plain and unattractive for a building of this size.
- Kaufmann greatly reduced the buildings and gave the entire project an elegant Art Deco aspect with sculptured turrets rising gracefully from the dam face and clock faces on the intake towers set for Pacific and Mountain time zones.
- The powerhouse’s excavation took place at the same time as the foundation and abutments for the dam. On October 26, 1936, energy was first transmitted from the Colorado River to Los Angeles, California, a distance of 266 miles, thanks to generators at the Hoover Powerplant of the Dam. Through 1961, more generating units were installed.
- The maximum hydroelectric power output from this facility’s 17 primary turbine-generator combinations is 2,074 megawatts. Since the demand for electricity changes during the day, all hydroelectric facilities provide a regulated, variable amount of energy.
- The capacity to swiftly and easily change the quantity of power generated in response to the load that is now being provided is a significant benefit of hydroelectric power. The quantity of thermodynamic inertia present in steam-driven power plants prevents them from being “throttled” as readily as other types of power plants.
Key Facts & Information
- Standing at 726 feet high and spanning 1244 feet in length, Hoover Dam was the largest dam in the world at the time of its completion.
- The dam, which was first planned for a site in Boulder Canyon, remained known as the Boulder Dam project even though it was relocated to Black Canyon for better impoundment.
- Construction on the project started on July 7, 1930. On September 17, 1930, the official construction of the project began when Secretary of the Interior under President Hoover, Ray L. Wilbur, announced that the new dam on the Colorado River would be named Hoover Dam in honor of the then-President of the United States.
- Due to high winds, the Nevada South tower collapsed and fell on September 15, 2006. During the collapse, the collapsing sections destroyed numerous support cables of the Nevada North tower, causing it to fall to the north.
- Hoover Dam became a symbol of what American industry and labor could accomplish even in the depths of the Great Depression for millions of people in the 1930s, including many who would never go there. Nearly a million people still visit the enormous dam each year in the early 21st century.
- In addition to taming the Colorado River when it was constructed in the 1930s, the Hoover Dam also produced a sizable lake that now conceals ships, railroad tracks, and cement tunnels. A world of teal hues emerge beneath Lake Mead’s surface, 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
- The Hoover Dam construction team was responsible for the invention and early use of the hardhat. It was first constructed from two baseball hats soaked in tar and dried out.
- Only twice in the history of the dam have the large spillway tunnels blasted into the Black Canyon walls been used; the first time was during a predefined time frame in the second period of 1941 for testing the spillways, and the second time was for approximately six weeks in the summer of 1983, when a snowmelt flood in the Colorado River basin necessitated the use of the spillways.
- It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and was recognized as one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders in 1994. Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction, with some 7 million visitors each year.
- The Bureau of Reclamation temporarily halted public access to Hoover Dam on March 17, 2022. According to Hoover Dam officials, the visitor center and all tours will be temporarily closed to visitors until further notice due to the nature of the building and the impossibility of applying the social distancing norms advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hoover Dam Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Hoover Dam across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Hoover Dam worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Hoover Dam, originally known as Boulder Dam, which is located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River along the Arizona-Nevada border. It’s a concrete arch-gravity dam that impounds Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States of America.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
- Hoover Dam Facts
- Hoover or Boulder
- Filling the Hoover
- Six Seven Search
- Dates of the Dam
- Hoover Who?
- Hoover Numbers
- United Dams of America
- Notable Names
- Breaking Hoover News
- Sending Love from Hoover
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Hoover Dam so famous?
Hoover Dam became a symbol of what American industry and labor could accomplish even in the depths of the Great Depression for millions of people in the 1930s, including many who would never go there. Nearly a million people still visit the enormous dam each year in the early 21st century.
When did the Hoover Dam collapse?
Due to high winds, the Nevada South tower collapsed and fell on September 15, 2006. During the collapse, the collapsing sections destroyed numerous support cables of the Nevada North tower, causing it to fall to the north.
Why is the Hoover Dam closed?
The Bureau of Reclamation temporarily halted public access to Hoover Dam on March 17, 2022. According to Hoover Dam officials, the visitor center and all tours will be temporarily closed to visitors until further notice due to the nature of the building and the impossibility of applying the social distancing norms advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is the secret of Hoover Dam?
In addition to taming the Colorado River when it was constructed in the 1930s, the Hoover Dam also produced a sizable lake that now conceals ships, railroad tracks, and cement tunnels. A world of teal hues emerge beneath Lake Mead’s surface, 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
How long will the Hoover Dam last?
Engineers estimate that the dam may endure for over 10,000 years, outlasting most traces of human civilization even if people were to vanish from the planet. This is even though the dam is projected to remain for millennia. However, they also state that the dam’s turbines would shut down in two years without human assistance.
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Link will appear as Hoover Dam Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 25, 2018
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