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Hoover Dam
Hoover DamThis place is big. Hoover Dam, also known as Boulder Dam, was built in Black Canyon, which separates Nevada and Arizona, from 1931-1935 as a national public works project. It is 726 feet high and nearly as thick at the base as it is tall. This dam hold back the world's largest man made body of water, Lake Mead. The dam was constructed to keep the flow of the Colorado River regulated from flooding and drought, and to provide hydroelectric power to the quickly developing southern California region. Considered one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, Hoover Dam was brought in under budget and completed nearly four years ahead of schedule.

The Bureau of Reclamation has a few different tours that take you inside the dam. The basic tour takes you into the inner working of the dam, shows you the power turbine generators and the intake pipes. You also get to look at the dam from the bottom up. There is also a Hard Hat Tour. This tour takes you into the bowels of the dam and show you things that most tourist don't get to see.

Intake towers at Hoover DamBecause the dam was built in the 1930's, the architecture is art deco. There is terrazzo flooring and polished copper fixtures thought the older sections of the dam. The area around the dam is quite fascinating.

Take the time to walk the span of the dam to the Arizona side. This gives you a wonderful view of the intake towers and the spillways. The intake towers are basically the drains of the lake. They take the water in and let it flow throughout the turbines. The turning turbines produce electric energy by turning the generators that are mounted on top of the turbines. The electricity is the sent out onto the western electric grid and is distributed to the users throughout the western USA and Parts of western Canada. The spillways are used when the lake becomes too full. It is a means of water bypassing the hydroelectric route and head directly to the Colorado River below and also keeps the water from flowing over the top of the dam.

The grounds of the dam includes a Cafeteria and a Visitors' center. The Visitors' Center observation area gives you a wonderful vantage point of the front of the dam, Lake Mead and the Colorado River. There is a model of the Colorado River and the dams that keep it from running wild. It is housed in a building between the cafeteria and the Visitors' Center. Inside the Center the museum had many displays of not only the components that make up the dam, but also some natural history as well. There is a multimedia theater that has several shows daily about different aspects of the dam and the region.

Getting There-
Las Vegas to Hoover Dam

Take US-93/95 south. Continue on US-93 through Boulder City to Hoover Dam.

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Last revised:March 10, 2004

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