A Day in the Life…
…Of a tourist to the Hoover Dam
When we visited Las Vegas recently, we made a side trip to the Hoover Dam. The very helpful bellman at the 4 Queens hotel on Freemont street made arrangements for us to catch the Grey Line bus and make the trip to the Hoover Dam. He even walked with us to the bus stop to catch the bus.
We were fortunate to have a very competent and somewhat entertaining driver. He gave us lots of information on Vegas, on the history of Las Vegas and the surrounding area as we made the approximate 45-minute drive to the dam.
We elected to buy the shorter tour of the dam which is about 4 hours including travel time. Our driver made an extra stop at an overlook on the way back which allowed us to take some awesome pictures of Lake Meade. On the way there, he stopped at the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
Our 4-hour tour cost us $72 each. We felt that was well worth the money for the information we received, the dam tour we took and the bus ride there.
Construction started on the dam in 1931. Nothing of this magnitude had ever been attempted before. The dam is built on the border of Arizona and Nevada in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River. The intent was to provide irrigation and hydroelectric power. Since nothing like this had ever been built before, bidding on a project like this was not an easy feat. Six companies, with different skill sets and knowledge, joined together to bid on it. The winning bid of 49 million in 1931 dollars was awarded to this newly founded company who appropriately called themselves Six Companies, Inc. They started construction in 1931 and completed it 2 years ahead of schedule in 1935. I don’t know how many workers they had at the time but Boulder City was built to house the workers. 100 lives were lost in the project and there is a placard on a wall there to commemorate those that were lost. The inscription reads: “They died to make the desert bloom”
The dam was originally called Boulder Dam. In 1947, by a joint resolution of Congress, the dam was renamed Hoover Dam after President Hoover. As a result of building Hoover Dam the Colorado River makes Lake Meade the largest reservoir in the United States by volume (when it is full). The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California. It is also a major tourist attraction; nearly a million people tour the dam each year.
Below are a few pictures of the tunnel walk into the dam, the generators and some pictures we took on the top of the dam.