6,600,000 tons of material and concrete holding back up to 28,537,000 acre feet of water, assuming that Lake Mead was full at over 1,221 feet. But as we all know, Lake Mead is anything but full – check out the pictures below, it would seem that theLake is down about 150 feet from the high water mark. When I looked at it from high above the Hoover Dam, I thought maybe 20 feet, but Big pointed out to me the tunnel across the way and the houseboat in the water far below. Yep, my depth perception was way off.
The Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel, built in just five short years by over 21,000 men in the early 30’s as part of the Works bill. It was the largest project taken on by the Department of Interior Reclamation. More concrete was put in to the Hoover Dam then all the concrete used by Reclamation prior to that. The whole purpose is to provide a water agreement to share water within the southwestern states, but it also provides a great recreation area for the southwest as well.
From my perspective, it’s just cool. The Hoover Dam has more that 1,000,000 visitors a year. There is a Dam Tour and a power plant tour, but the best for me is just the views from the top. Last year, a bridge was completed that keeps most traffic off the Dam itself, and how disappointing that is. The new bridge takes you high above the dam and doesn’t allow you to see what was built by so many hands below you.
The Hoover Dam is a testament to what can be done to put people to work for a worthy cause, built at the height of the Depression, perhaps we should be looking for public works jobs in our current state of affairs. And if you are thinking of saving money on a family vacation, don’t stop at the Dam, it is a self-sustaining property that collects $7 for parking, $8 to visit the visitor’s center and $30 for a Dam/powerplant tour. Not exactly a family friendly tour, but splurge on the parking pass, because the views from the top are awesome.