According to History.com, construction of the Hoover Dam began on this day in 1930. The project was completed in only five years and involved some 21,000 workers. This is truly amazing, especially considering the tools and technology available at the time.
While construction of the dam was an amazing feat – the plan behind it was even more impressive. The plan to begin the dam in 1922 was the result of Arthur Powell Davis, an engineer from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Davis envisioned the dam in 1902 – nearly thirty years prior to it becoming a reality.
Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, was secretary of commerce in 1921. He was convinced that construction of the dam was essential and committed himself to bring Davis’ vision to completion. Even with Hoover’s backing and promotion of the project, it took years to attain cooperation from the individual states in the region, as well as Congressional approval. In addition, water rights had to be settled, and Hoover negotiated the Colorado River Compact to that end.
The story of the Hoover (originally named Boulder) Dam is both fascinating and fantastic. To learn more, visit the Bureau of Reclamation website to see how impressive this project was. To encourage you to do so, I give you the following:
- Before the dam could be built the Colorado River had to be moved. Isolation of the site was accomplished by the construction of cofferdams.
- Concrete production involved staggering amounts of material. The dam contains enough concrete to pave a strip 16 feet wide and 8 inches thick from San Francisco to New York City. More than 5 million barrels of Portland cement and 4.5 million cubic yards of aggregate went into the dam.
Every phase of the project relied on thorough planning from concept to communication and ultimately construction. The project was completed two years early!
The results? For almost nine decades, the dam has provided essential flood control (vastly improving farming downstream), allowed expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and provided a dependable supply of water for the region.
We spend a great deal of time emphasizing the positive aspects and expected benefits of proper design and planning in relation to the programs we manage, and the mention of the Hoover Dam struck a chord with me. I hope you find the time to research it for yourself – very interesting!