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The Hoover Dam

California’s many success stories include large projects as the famous Boulder or Hoover Dam as much as the sun, oranges and tourist spots of this idyllic state in the West. The Hoover Dam was the creation of the thoughts and deeds of great visionaries as Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States. It best represents the great American dream because it includes the vision of men as Herbert Hoover, the courage of men who faced the challenge of building the engineering marvel risking their lives and the toil of thousands of able bodied Americans who braved the heat and sun for five years.

Herbert Hoover was a great visionary who envisioned the dam which today links Nevada and Arizona spanning the Colorado River. (Herbert Hoover, 2004). He was a man of many parts, a great politician, and conservationist, humanitarian and of course as relevant to this story a great engineer who could see the potential of the Dam constructed amidst some of the most difficult and impossible terrains on Earth strewn with dangerous boulders. Arthur Powell Davis of the US Reclamation Service was the first to visualize the possibility of constructing a Dam in the vast Grand Canyon area and this dream was followed up by men as Hoover.

(The Dam, 2004) Construction of the Dam was also a political feat largely credited to Hoover. He successfully concluded the Colorado River Compact which overcame resistance from the key states of the Colorado River Basin, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming demonstrating his capability as a political negotiator. (Herbert Hoover, 2004). Quite justifiably, the Dam has been renamed after this great visionary of the American dream after being called as Boulder Dam for a few years.

The story of the High Scalers is equally enthralling once again representing the best in American enterprise. The peculiar geological formation of the canyon walls necessitated that before construction began, loose rock had to be wrenched free to avoid danger to workers. (High Scalers, 2004) This most hazardous job was done by exceptional men known as, ‘high-scalers’ who worked with large jackhammers and dynamite to loosen up rocks by physically swinging on ropes dangling on the high canyon walls.

Without their daring enterprise construction work down below would have been virtually impossible. These were also men who suffered the heaviest casualties but none were deterred from the task at hand. (High Scalers, 2004) The Dam was also the life line to many who were suffering unemployment during the Depression and created thousands of jobs in those difficult time of the 1930’s which seem so remote today. (Story, 2005) These men saw succor in the Dam as a means to earn their daily bread during those hard times when America was facing the worst economic crisis in its history.

For almost five years these men toiled hard to create the marvel, which many conclude is the eighth wonder of the Earth and is a National Historic Landmark in America. (Story, 2005). Undoubtedly the work of the Dam was a gigantic task for humanity and thus Rhinehart (1995) likens it to a piece of art rather than just a work of concrete. Perhaps many larger projects will be constructed in the Years ahead but none will encapsulate the American spirit of the Hoover Dam.


1. Story. (2005). The Story of Hoover Dam. Accessed at http://www. usbr. gov/lc/hooverdam/History/storymain.html on 23 March 2007. 2. High Scalers. (2004). High Scalers. Accessed at http://www. usbr. gov/lc/hooverdam/History/essays/hscaler. html on 23 March 2007. 3. Rhinehart, Julian. (1995). The Grand Dam. Accessed at http://www. usbr. gov/lc/hooverdam/History/articles/rhinehart1. html on 23 March 2007. 4. The Dam. (2004). The Dam. Fortune Magazine Article 1933. http://www. usbr. gov/lc/hooverdam/History/articles/fortune1933. html on 23 March 2007. 5. Herbert Hoover. (2004). Herbert Hoover – The Man. Accessed at http://www. usbr. gov/lc/hooverdam/History/articles/hhoover. html on 23 March 2007.

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