The Hoover Dam

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

I subscribe to the This Day In History calendar. It’s always fun to read about all those little nuggets that pop into my inbox from this site every day. One day last week the construction of the Hoover Dam popped up. The entry reminded me of a trip we took several years back. My mom had always wanted to visit Las Vegas so for her 80th birthday me and all of my siblings, along with various spouses and other extended family members took her for a multi-day trip there.

Those of us who weren’t much into what the casinos had to offer took a day trip out to the Hoover Dam.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to admit I was blown away by the size and scope of the structure. So today I thought I’d share some history and fun facts about the dam along with some of the photos from that trip.


  • You may have heard the dam also referred to as the Boulder Dam. That’s because back in the early day’s of the dam’s history there was some controversy over what it would be called. The original plans called for it to be built at Boulder Canyon so the project was dubbed the Boulder Canyon Dam Project and it was still called by that name when the proposed location was moved the Black Canyon. But at a ceremony in Sept 1930 the Secretary of the Interior announced the dam would be named for newly elected president Herbert Hoover. However, when Franklin Roosevelt assumed office in 1933 the new Secretary of the Interior announced the structure would return to its original name, the Boulder Dam. In the ensuing years the names Hoover Dam and Boulder Dam were used interchangeably, the choice often depending on the political leanings of the speaker. It wasn’t until 1947 that the name was officially declared through a congressional resolution to be the Hoover Dam.
  • It took tens of millions of pounds of steel and approximately 4.3 million cubic yards of concrete to build the dam, including the power plant and other features. According to the Bureau of Reclamation this is enough concrete to pave a road that’s 8 inches thick and 16 feet wide from New York to San Francisco.
  • There were 112 fatalities associated with the construction of the dam, including three suicides. Strangely, the first official recorded death occurred on December 20,1922 and the final fatality occurred exactly 13 years after on December 20, 1935.
  • More than 582 miles of one inch thick steel pipes were embedded within the concrete. The reason these pipes were included was rather ingenious.  Normally it would take over 100 YEARS for this much concrete to cure properly. But by circulating ice water through the pipes, they were able to dissipate the chemical heat the concrete generated as it set. Once they had done their job, the pipes were later filled with concrete to provide added strength to the dam.
  • Workers, called high scalers, were suspended at heights up to 800 feet over the canyon floor armed with 44 pound jackhammers and metal poles to clear the canyon walls of unwanted and loose material. As you can imagine, this resulted in quite a number of casualties from falls and from being hit by falling equipment and rocks.
  • The dam is situated in a spot where the Colorado River forms the boundary between Arizona and Nevada, states which happen to be in two different time zones. So by simply stepping across this boundary at the top of the wall you can almost instantaneously go forward or backward in time.
  • Statistics:
    • The Hoover Dam is 726.4 feet tall – as tall as a 60 story building. It is 1244 feet long or almost a quarter mile.
    • The top of the Hoover Dam is 45 feet thick, comparable to the width of a 4 lane highway. But the base is wider still – at 60 feet it’s wider than the length of a pair of football fields placed end to end.
    • It has an installed capacity of 2080 megawatts and as of 2018 generates about 4 BILLION kilowatt hours of hydroelectric power annually.
    • Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by the damning of the Colorado River encompasses 248 square miles and has a capacity of about 28.9 million acre-feet or more than 9 TRILLION gallons. That’s enough water to cover the state of Connecticut with a sheet of water ten feet deep. That also makes it the largest reservoir in the U.S.


And now for the promised photos.

The first set below were taken from the road that leads into the actual dam area – this access road is actually much higher than the dam itself.




These next photos were taken standing on top of the dam itself


And this last photo is taken at the spot that marks the state line – my hubby is standing in Nevada and I’m in Arizona. (as you can no doubt tell, it was quite a windy day!)


We also had the opportunity to look around the inside of the dam but unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of that portion of our tour.

So what about you? Have you had the opportunity to see this marvelous engineering feat in person? Or perhaps you’ve seen other national treasures like Mt. Rushmore or Seattle’s Space Needle or the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building or any one of dozens of other man made marvels to be found in this country. Share in the comments and you’ll be entered in a drawing for your choice of any book in my backlist, including the newly re-released titles Handpicked Husband and The Bride Next Door in a single volume.


Handpicked Husband (Texas Grooms Book 1)
Regina Nash must marry one of the men her grandfather has chosen for her or lose custody of her nephew. But Reggie knows marriage is not for her, so she must persuade them—and Adam Barr, her grandfather’s envoy—that she’d make a thoroughly unsuitable wife. Adam is drawn to the free-spirited photographer, but his job was to make sure Regina chose from the men he escorted to Texas—not marry her himself!

The Bride Next Door (Texas Grooms Book 2)
Daisy Johnson is ready to settle in Turnabout, Texas, open a restaurant and perhaps find a husband. Of course, she’d envisioned a man who actually likes her, not someone who offers a marriage of convenience to avoid scandal. Newspaper reporter Everett Fulton may find himself suddenly married, but his dreams of leaving haven’t changed. What Daisy wants—home, family, tenderness—he can’t provide… 


Click on cover image for information on how to order

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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

41 thoughts on “The Hoover Dam”

  1. I have been to the Hoover Dam. Went on the tour. This was in ’94, prior to the new bridge. Also took a boat tour on Lake Mead.

    I’ve also been to the Conowingo Dam and took a tour. At one time, it was the largest dam east of the Mississippi. There’s an eagle sanctuary adjacent to it.

    I’ve been outside the Empire State Building. My then boyfriend, now husband, wouldn’t go to the top.

    • Hello Denise, sounds like you’ve had some fun touristy experiences. I missed out on the lake mead boat tour, but it sounds like something I would have enjoyed. I’ve been to the top of the empire state building twice and would go again if I had the opportunity

    • While it is in my list of places to visit, I have not gotten there yet. One of my favorite Kansan museums is the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. It details much of space and aeronautic science achievements and has several amazing artifacts from various space missions.

      • Hi Jess. I’ve not heard of the Cosmosphere before but it sounds like just the sort of place my son would have loved when he was younger (and now as well!!) Thanks for sharing

  2. Good morning Winnie. I’ve never been to Hoover Dam, but I’ve flown over it, it is quite impressive from high above, so I can only imagine what it’s like up close & personal.
    I’ve seen The San Jacinto monument in Galveston when I was younger. I’ve been to the Royal Gorge in Colorado. I’ve seen many other monuments like, but I’m drawing a blank right now. Thanks for you history and tour of Hoover Dam.
    Have a blessed week.

    • Hi Tonya. Sounds as if you’ve done quite a bit of traveling and seen many marvels. And I imagine the Hoover dam does look very impressive in a fly over!

    • Good morning Winnie! What a great blog! I haven’t been to Hoover Damn but I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers ?, the Statue of Liberty, the Royal Gourge, Paladuro Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Longhorn Caverns, the bride over the ocean on the Texas coast (scary, I couldn’t drive it, I was a passenger) many ruins and I’m sure more places I can’t think of this morning! I so miss traveling and hope there is a way I can do it again someday! I was diagnosed with MS in 2004 and haven’t traveled since then and didn’t much the decade prior to that because our busy family run business of a feedlot that had cattle and hands that needed fed daily just didn’t allow time for it. I’d love the opportunity to read your book! Stay safe in these difficult times!

      • We visited Carlsbad Caverns two summers ago and it was incredible. It was probably our family’s favorite trip (we drove from Indiana to visit family in west Texas and then visited New Mexico and across Texas to Louisiana before heading home). My kids were preteens and they were in awe of the caverns.

        • Hi Carrie. I’ve always heard Carlsbad Caverns were amazing and would love to see them some day. I did visit Luray Caverns in Virginia a loooonnnggg time ago and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

      • Wow! You’ve done quite a bit of travel. I’ve only been to about a third of the places on your list. Sorry your MS has you sidelined but maybe you’ll get to do more travel in the near future.

  3. I have been to Hoover Dam, drove over it many times, before they put in the new highway the by passes the dam. Watched with my dad a show on how this day was built, several times. Learned something new each time. My dad loved those kind of programs, and it was interesting.
    I have seen Mt Rushmore, Golden Gate Bridge, been to the top of the Empire State building several times. Have walked the stairs to the crown of Lady Liberty. I have been to the Grand Canyon.

  4. I would love to see the Hoover Dam in person. I haven’t had the chance to see any type of national treasures like this in person. There are so many places I would love to see, but I don’t get to travel often.

    • Hi Janine. It’s amazing to think about how many marvels exist right in our own back yard isn’t it. There are so many places, both well-known and hidden gems that I’d love to see some day. And I’m learning about many more of them as I read these comments

  5. I don’t remember if I have ever been to the Hoover Dam. I have seen the Golden Gate Bridge and also the Grand Canyon. Once, back in 1998 when visiting the Grand Canyon, I hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with some friends and we spent the night down there. That was an interesting trip.

  6. YES we toured the Dam in June of 2010 it was awesome – that high access road was not yet completed and vehicles were still crossing the dam!

  7. I have seen many of our nation’s treasures. Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore are among the places we have taken the family to visit.

  8. We spent a week in Vegas (way too long!!!) years ago for a wedding. While we took a side trip to the Grand Canyon, we didn’t make it to the Hoover Dam and I’ve always regretted. One visit to Vegas was enough to last me a lifetime, so I doubt I’ll ever make it back. I have, however, been to the top of the St. Louis Arch 3 times and I highly recommend visiting that landmark.

    • Hi Carrie. Interesting about the arch. I’ve been to St. Louis three times and twice stayed in walking distance of the arch. I never could quite work up the nerve to travel to the top – I’m a touch claustrophobic and understand the elevators are a bit small…

  9. Hi, Winnie. Great photos! They bring back a lot of memories for me. I’ve been to Hoover Dam twice during trips to Las Vegas. It is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed those tours.

  10. I’ve been to Vegas once, and really wanted to go see Hoover Dam, but didn’t have enough time. We arrived late on Friday night and left early on Sunday morning. I’d love to be able to go back and see things like that than spend time on the strip!

  11. My husband and I visited the Hoover Dam and took the tour when we were on our homeymoon. It was amazing to see it in person!

  12. I have visited Hoover Dam several times. I live inArizona.
    In the 60’s my husband and I toured inside the dam. Was interesting and of course huge-the turbines were massive. I have been to Lake Meade several times when it was full. Is a very low level lake now.
    I have traveled a lot in the United States and seen several National Parks and Monuments and marveled at them all. They need to be preserved ,for sure.

  13. We took our family to Hoover Dam many years ago (1983 maybe). Our girls were in elementary school and our son a baby. My aunt and nephew had flown out to visit us (we lived in Colorado Springs at the time). We went out to the dam and did the interior tour. I am sure more has been added since then. When we lived in Sacramento, CA, we visited the Golden Gate Bridge and the Space Needle. We have also been to Mt. Rushmore, once just my husband and I and once on a trip with our grandson. On both trips, we also visited the Crazy Horse Memorial, which personally is more impressive than Mt. Rushmore. It will be incredible when finished. I visited the Empire State Building when I was in college. I am not a fan of elevators and really have no desire to repeat going up in that one. The military complex in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado is a manmade wonder that isn’t really open to the public. The blast doors are huge, there is a “lake” inside, and it is pretty much a self-contained little city. My husband was stationed there and we were able to go in on one of the few tours they had for families. There is also the series of locks and canals between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean and in the US and Canada, the St. Lawrence Seaway. I remember going for the opening of it in 1959 to watch the motorcade of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip who came over for the ceremonies. Also impressive is the 113 mile long Overseas Highway taking U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys to Key West. It is an impressive drive over the ocean and through the islands. The views are wonderful and you have the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Worth the trip.
    If you want to look at early American engineering feats, the cliff dwellings of the Southwest should be considered. Some can only be reached by hand and foot holds. Whole villages were built in these holes in the side of cliffs. The work and ingenuity involved in getting the logs, rocks, water, and other supplies to these areas to build the structures was amazing. Of course if you leave the US, there are many ancient buildings around the world that would be hard to duplicate even with modern technology.

    Thank you for the interesting details on Hoover Dam. Stay safe and healthy.

  14. Yes, I have been out to see Hoover Dam. Very impressive. I saw The House On the Rocks and The Schwartz House that Frank LLoyd Wright built. I’ve visited Mt Rushmore. I’ve visited Key West. You go over a few bridges but the 7 mile one is impressive. I’ve been over Tampa’s Skyline Bridge. I’ve been over the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve visited the Sault Ste Marie locks. I’ve taken The SS Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan. I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty and The Liberty Bell and Wisconsin’s state capitol. I’ve been on numerous roads that go through mountains out west. Zion National Park has a tunnel with a couple of viewing points.

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