Construction on Hoover Dam started in 1931 and was not finished until 1936. Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the dam on September 30, 1935 which was during the Great Depression. The construction employed thousands of workers and over one hundred people died.
Once the job was authorized thousands of people converged on the area in the hopes to get a job. The squatters camp became known as McKeeversville where the men and their families made their home. There was another camp by the Colorado River called Ragtown.
The contract specifically stated they could not hire Chinese or Mongolian labor. Even though they had more than three thousand workers at their peak, they never employed more than thirty blacks who were paid on the lowest scale and were segregated.
Located on the boarder of Nevada and Arizona on the Colorado River, Hoover Dam is considered a concrete arch-gravity dam. An arch-gravity dam curves upstream in a narrowing curve and is designed to direct most of the water against the canyon walls which are rock. They are only reinforced at the spillway.
It was designed to produce hydroelectric power, provide irrigation and control floods. At the time it was built, there had never been this large of a structure constructed and many of the techniques had not been proven. The company who won the bid was called Six Companies, Inc. and they finished the job two years ahead of time.
The construction cost was forty-nine million dollars which in today’s value it would cost six hundred and sixty-four million. Its height is seven hundred and twenty-six feet with a length of one thousand two hundred and four-four feet.
The lake it created is called Lake Mead and, when full, is considered the largest reservoir in the United States. As a result of the need for housing during construction, Boulder City was formed which is about twenty-six miles from Las Vegas. Today, Boulder City has a population over sixteen thousand people.
It was written in the contract with Six Companies, Inc. to construct Boulder City prior to the start of construction. However, President Hoover ordered them to start construction in March versus October. They did build bunkhouses that were attached to the canyon wall with housed four hundred and eighty single men. This camp was known as River camp.
The families were expected to figure out their living situation until Boulder City was finished so many of them lived in Ragtown. Because of the desert climate, during the summer the daytime high averaged one hundred and nineteen degrees. A total of sixteen workers died as a result of the heat Between June twenty-fifth and July twenty-sixth. There were other residents that died as well.
Not only is Hoover Dam a tourist attraction it is a main highway where the card traveled along the dam’s crest. However, in October 2010, the Hoover Dam Bypass was opened. It was named the Mike O’Callaghan-at Tillman Memorial Bridge. The bridges longest span is one thousand and sixty feet where the total length measure to one thousand nine hundred feet.
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