“Whoa…that’s one big dam” Rachel quietly said as we peered down a sea of concrete from the top of the Hoover Dam.
“Sure is….that’s a big dam wall!” I replied playfully.
Rach glanced at me sideways and smiled. She quickly caught on to my terrible dad joke. “Yeah, you know, maybe we can take a dam tour with one of those dam guides?” She shook her mockingly.
We tried desperately to keep our giggles to a minimum so we wouldn’t disturb anyone around us. “Or, even better, maybe we can take our own dam tour, take some dam pictures, and I can be the dam guide!” I said.
Well, that was that. We both erupted into laughter at the ridiculousness of our play on words. I’d like to say our dam jokes stopped that moment (see what I did there?) however, we let our imaginations run wild with all the possible puns we could come up with.
After having a blast in Las Vegas with some of Rachel’s cousins, we decided to take a detour from our drive back to Phoenix to visit the Hoover Dam.
We spent some time walking around the premises before jumping back into the car to head back to Phoenix. All joking aside, the Hoover Dam is an impressive work of man power and engineering clout and we both felt incredibly awe struck by the massive amounts of concrete molded into a bold art deco design.
If you have any dam questions, here are 11 fun facts about the Hoover Dam:
- Construction on the Hoover dam started in early 1931 and finished on March 1, 1936, two years ahead of schedule.
- Men building the dam were paid an hourly wage of $0.50-1.50.
- The Hoover dam is a hydroelectric dam that keeps the power on the iphones for customers in California, Arizona, and Nevada and creates enough power for 1.3 million people.
- After damming up the Colorado river, Hoover dam created America’s largest reservoir–Lake Mead which covers about 248 square miles and is capable of holding some 28.9 million acre-feet of water (an acre-foot is equivalent to about 325,000 gallons).
- The Hoover Dam is 660 feet wide at the base and 726 feet high.
- Contrary to popular belief, no workers were buried alive during the pouring of dam’s concrete.
- Officially, the project had 96 construction-related fatalities. These causes ranged from heat-related to falling rocks and run-ins with heavy equipment. But, some sources contend the number likely was higher.
- Boulder City, Nevada was constructed to house 5,000 dam project workers in the early 1930’s.
- When the Hoover Dam was built it became the tallest dam in the world! It stretched 726 feet from base to top, practically soaring above the old record holder, Oregon’s 420-foot-tall Owyhee Dam. After holding the height title for two decades, Hoover was at last outdone by Switzerland’s 820-foot-tall Mauvoisin Dam in 1957. Eleven years later, it lost its domestic title to California’s 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam.
- As you probably already know the Hoover dam is constructed out of LOTS of concrete. How much you ask? There is a whopping 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete for the dam itself, plus another 1.11 million cubic yards for the power plant and additional facilities. This quantity of concrete would be enough to build 3000 miles of road—a full-sized highway from one end of the United States to the other.
- Before President Harry Truman officially confirmed the dam to carry Hoover’s name in April 1947, it was called the “Boulder Dam” and “Hoover Dam” interchangeable.