RISMEDIA, May 29, 2007-On this day in 1935, one of the greatest American tourist attractions, the Hoover Dam, was completed. Also known as Boulder Dam, the Hoover Dam is a concrete gravity-arch dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Arizona and Nevada.The dam, located 48 km (30 miles) southeast of Las Vegas, is named after Herbert Hoover, who played an instrumental role in its construction, first as Secretary of Commerce and then later as President of the United States.
Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1935, over two years ahead of schedule. The dam and the power plant are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, Hoover Dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.
Fun facts about the Hoover Dam include:
– Construction period: April 20, 1931 – March 1, 1936
– Construction cost: $49 million ($676 million adjusted for inflation)
– Deaths attributed to construction: 104
– Dam height: 726.4 ft (221.4 m), second highest dam in the United States.
– Dam length: 1244 ft (379.2 m)
– Dam thickness: 660 ft (200 m) at its base; 45 ft (15 m) thick at its crest.
– Electric Power produced by the water turbines: 2,080 megawatts
– Traffic across the dam: 13,000 to 16,000 people each day, according to the Federal Highway Administration
– With 8 to 10 million visitors each year, including visitors to Hoover Dam but not all traffic across the dam, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the fifth busiest U.S. national park.
– The construction of the Hoover Dam project, controversies and Chief Engineer Frank Crowe’s role were dramatized in a one-hour TV docu-drama, as part of the BBC’s Seven Wonders of the Industrial World series in 2003 and in the book of the same name.
– In the movie Vegas Vacation, the dam is featured in one of the scenes.
– In the movie Superman, Lex Luthor breaches the dam with an earthquake.
– On the NBC special, “The World’s Most Dangerous Magic,” escape artist Dean Gunnarson performed a straitjacket escape in which he hung from a trapeze by his toes (which were not strapped to the trapeze in any manner) over Hoover Dam, 726 feet in the air.