Historical story

History of the Hoover Dam

On July 7, 1930, construction of the Hoover Dam began. Over the next five years, 21,000 people worked to create the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest man-made structures ever.

Although the construction itself took 5 years, the overall work on it took almost 30 years. Arthur Powell Davis, an engineer at the Reclamation Bureau, had a vision of a similar dam as early as 1902, and his report on it became a guiding document when plans began in 1922 to start building the dam.

photo:Kay Röllig / CC BY 3.0

Contractors finished work two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars below budget. Today, the Hoover Dam generates enough energy annually to meet the needs of over a million people and is, as artist Oskar Hansen said, "a monument to the collective genius that manifests itself in the community's efforts around a common need or ideal." The dam was named after Herbert Hoover, who played a key role in its creation, initially as secretary of commerce, then as president of the United States. A concrete gravity-arc dam was built in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River in the United States, on the border of Arizona and Nevada. The dam is 224.1 m high and 379.2 m long. Its base is 200 m wide and 15 m at the top. The maximum capacity of the hydroelectric power plant is 2074 MW.