Hoover Dam, USA
Hoover Dam is a miracle made by human hands. This remarkable feat of 20th-century engineering thought was accomplished during the Great Depression, making it all the more significant. The dam is located on the border between the two states of Nevada and Arizona, USA. The need for a dam was necessitated because the Colorado River flooded the lands around its banks, the most devastating spill being the 1905 flooding of the Imperial Valley. Curbing the river was also necessitated by the need to supply water and electricity to the states of Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Once an agreement was reached between the states, design of the dam proceeded. The original idea was to make a simple concrete wall. But architect Gordon Kaufman and artist Alan True designed this graceful yet gigantic work of Art Deco Modernism.
The realization of this grand project began in 1930. At first, the river was to be diverted from the proposed site at Black Canyon. This required blasting and digging four tunnels in the rock walls, 17.1 m in diameter and 4.9 km long. The next step was to clear the drained bed with the help of 8 thousand workers. The concrete was poured in special structures, as it had to be cooled by pipes filled with ice-cold water passing through the concrete. This was necessary because of the thermal chemical reactions taking place during the hardening of the concrete. The wall structure itself is shaped like a horseshoe crossing the canyon. At the top of the dam are water towers with clocks indicating the different times in the two states.
Behind the 221 m high concrete wall is Lake Mead, whose water creates pressure forces on the arched wall that counteract and balance the pressure. Under this system, the wall structure created is very strong and resistant. Lake Mead is the largest artificial water source in the United States. Elwood Meade, the head of the department responsible for the waters of the United States, was the head of the construction and the lake bears his name. And the dam was originally called Boulder Canyon Dam, and later named after the 31st U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, who did much to bring this project to fruition. There is a plaque on the wall of the dam in his honor.
Around 21 thousand people worked on the construction of the dam, around the clock.
This necessitated the creation of a settlement for the builders to live in. The town of Boulder was planned by Gordon Kaufman. Alcohol and gambling were prohibited in it.
The building of this huge dam took about 100 lives. Not only was the dream of the builders realized, but the benefits of the dam were also present. The waters of the Colorado River, and now turn the turbines of the dam and the huge generators produce millions of watts of electricity that powers all of the American Southwest.
Hoover Dam was completed in 1935, two years ahead of schedule. It was opened on September 30, 1935, in the presence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1985, the Hoover Dam was designated a National Historic Landmark.