If not for the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas may not exist. Construction began
in 1931 and the workers needed ways to relax on their days off. 5200
laborers were assembled and proceeded working twenty four hours a day.
The dam was finished in 1936. It helped conserve water for electrical,
industrial, and irrigation purposes. The dam has become just one of the
world's major electrical generating plants that provided surrounding
towns with a low cost and clean hydroelectric power. The $165 million
Hoover Dam paid for itself by selling electrical power to the states of
California, Arizona, and Nevada.
660 feet at the top tapering to 45 feet where the road crosses at
the top, the dam is a massive curved wall. It is 726 feet tall which is
about the height of a 60 foot skyscraper. The dam holds back 9.2
trillion gallons of water. This water is kept in Lake Mead, a reservoir
facilitated by the construction of the dam. There are four intake towers
on the lake that drop the water down about 600 feet to help drive
turbines and create power.
The visitor center opened in 1995 and is built upon a three level
circular structure with a rooftop overlook. You will enter into the
Reception Lobby where there is a gift shop and you can purchase souvenirs
of your visit to the dam. They carry photographs, articles, videos, and
other paraphernalia relating to the dam and the people who built it.
There are thirty minute tours of the dam that leave every fifteen
minutes. These tours go down about 561 feet into the bowels of the dam.
You will see the massive turbines and even get to go outside on the
downriver side for a look back up at the massive structure.