Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam. The writer explores the construction, the benefits to society the dam provides and the future plans for the dam. There were five sources used to complete this paper.

There are few dams in the world that have received the amount of attention the Hoover Dam has received since its construction years ago. With an annual tourist draw of more than 1 million people, the Hoover Dam is counted as one of the most visited tourist attractions in America. Standing at 762 feet the dam towers above the dry arid floor around it and generates power for more than 1 million customers in Arizona, California and Nevada (Dam, 2001).

While most dams are closed to the public, the Hoover Dam not only welcomes tourists each year, those that run the operation encourage the curiosity seekers and look forward to sharing the story of the dam that was considered cutting edge technology at the time it was built (Dam, 2001).


There are several things about Hoover Dam that set it apart from other dams around world, including the fact that the Hoover Dam is the only dam in the nation with its own police force. The primary purpose of the force is to direct traffic and help prevent traffic issues on top of the structure but they are also there to handle any problems that may arise from having one million tourist visitors each year.

While vehicles cross the dam freely, the chance of a bomb hidden in a car or truck damaging the dam is considered slight since the structure consists of around 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete (Dam, 2001)."

Another area that the dam is different than other dams in America is the output of energy it provides to three states.

While the dam has suffered an approximate 15% reduction in the amount of power that it currently produces it is still one of the top power producers in the world as well as the nation (Edwards, 2004).

Nevada shares in Hoover Dam's hydroelectricity with California and Arizona, and the dam produces a maximum of 2,000 megawatts when the reservoir is full, said Bob Walsh, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Reclamation. Hoover Dam only generates 1,731 megawatts, or about 15% less than the maximum, according to the bureau (Edwards, 2004)."


The dam has a significant amount of history behind it because it was built during an era that became very volatile for those living in America. In fact, even though it was named Hoover Dam to honor the man who was president at the time it was built, (Herbert Hoover) the next administration, Roosevelt's era, refused to refer to it as the Hoover Dam as they believed Hoover was the cause of the Great Depression that destroyed millions American families and their way of life (Ford, 1999).

President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to the dam as Boulder Dam several times during his dedication speech in September 1935, the year the dam was completed. In 1947, an act of Congress officially declared the name to be Hoover (Ford, 1999). "

The dam has walls that are 1,000 feet tall and has a man-made lake behind it called Lake Mead. Lake Mead is 110 miles long (Ford, 1999).

Touring Options

There are two dam tours available, one that lasts 30 minutes and another that lasts for an hour. The half hour tour provides information for a tour of up to 80 people and takes the participants into four different engineering areas. The second tour however, has room for 16 people because it asks them to don hard hats and go deeper into the dam to visit 10 additional sites of interest (Ford, 1999).

The longer tour starts with an elevator ride that travels down more than 52 stories in length directly into the canyon wall. Once the elevator stops tourists walkthrough a long tunnel to the power plant where tour members are urged to put earplugs in before entering (Ford, 1999).

It is there that the guide reminds tourists that power generation is not really the dam's primary function. It is actually to help control the Colorado River which in turn provides power sources for several states (Ford, 1999).

The Building of the Dam

There was a heavy human…