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Hoover Dam: The Greatest Great Depression Achievement

3291 words - 13 pages

The Hoover Dam: The Greatest Great Depression Achievement Hoover Dam: The Greatest Great Depression Achievement The Hoover Dam is one of America's most famous landmarks. Its vast size and amazing story of its building draws millions of people to the site yearly. The project was the biggest masonry job since the building of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It tames the powerful Colorado River and has created the largest man-made lake, Lake Mead, in the world. The list of unique points of the Hoover Dam is endless.Pre-Dam History The Hoover Dam tames the powerful and unpredictable Colorado River. The river is so powerful that it carved the greatest geological spectacle in the world - The Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is 217 miles long, 4 to 18 miles wide and more than one mile deep. It runs through seven states. Before the dam, the area surrounding the Colorado River was plagued by flooding due to melting snow in the Rocky Mountains. Many farmers crops were totally ruined because of the flooding (Story of Hoover Dam).Designing the Dam In the early 1920's, a small group of state legislators from Nevada and Arizona began work on the Boulder Canyon Project. This was a small scale job of brainstorming on how to stop the flooding and destruction that the Colorado River caused. The group soon realized that the project was too large for them to manage. They introduced the project to the United States Department of the Interior in 1923. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began research of the area in 1928. They devised three main objectives of the dam - to stop the flooding, to irrigate the desert, and to produce hydroelectric power. Soon after the arrival in the desert, government engineers decided the original building site wasn't appropriate for the dam. They moved the dam's location from Boulder Canyon to Black Canyon. At this time in history, the United States was suffering due to the Great Depression. Word of the dam being built in the Nevada desert spread around the country quickly. Men swarmed to the area looking for jobs. An estimated 20,000 men arrived in the area before a contract was given to a contractor. People lived in tents and small villages sprouted up throughout the desert. Many people died in this time of waiting due to the extreme heat (110 degrees or more), conflicts with wild animals (snake bites), or natural illness because no medical treatment was available. Immediately after research was completed, President Herbert Hoover and the U.S. Department of the Interior began to accept bids for the project from several large engineering and construction firms. They awarded the job to Six Companies, Inc. The contract was for $50,000,000. This was the largest government issued contract in history. In a purely political move, Hoover authorized the early start of the project. He...

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