Monday, July 17, 2017

Boulder Dam, Hoover Dam & a Giveaway

Photo by Kuczora, Wikimedia Commons


With Nancy J. Farrier

Hoover Dam Site by Lee, W.T.
By the late 1800’s, the Southwest United States saw a great influx of people. The jump in population resulted in a need for more water resources for irrigation and raising crops. At the same time, the Colorado River, an excellent source of water, proved dangerous and unreliable. If homes and farms were too close to the river, they would be lost during flooding. If they were too far, there wasn’t a good way to transport the water for crops.

1921 Sketch of Site
Early attempts to harness the river proved faulty. William Beatty built a canal on the Colorado just north of the Mexico border. However, a flood breached the canal and caused widespread damage. In the early 1900’s, the Southern Pacific Railroad paid to stabilize the river, hoping the government would reimburse them, but that proved ineffective too.

As early as 1902, talk began of building a hydroelectric dam on the Colorado. Edison Electric Company did a survey, but in the early part of the century the range was too limited for that type of power. Edison’s land options were allowed to lapse, which allowed for the later building of Boulder Dam.

1935 View from AZ side. Wikimedia Commons
One of the problems with building a dam on the Colorado River had to do with the number of States involved. There were seven States in all who would be affected: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. Their initial meeting with Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, ended with no resolution. However, on November 1922, the seven States signed the Colorado River Compact allowing the project to move forward.

In 1928, President Coolidge signed a bill authorizing the dam. There were still many obstacles ahead. One of those was the cost of building the structure. The companies with experience didn’t have the funds to finance the construction. In the end, six companies went together to win a bid from the government.

High scalers setting explosives
Before construction could begin on the dam, the Colorado River had to be diverted to allow workers access to the area. There were four tunnels dug through the canyon walls, two on the Arizona side and two on the Nevada side. The combined length of the tunnels was nearly three miles. Two of the tunnels were sealed after the dam was completed and the other two became part of the spillway for the dam.

Pouring the concrete for the dam began in 1933. They could not do this as a continuous pour because the concrete would take
Columns being filled with concrete
too long to cool. The concrete would not be as stable and would be liable to crack and crumble under pressure. Instead, they devised a way to do the dam in large sections, but also used refrigerated water piped in to cool the concrete and keep it from cracking.

On September 30, 1935, they had a dedication for Boulder Dam. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in attendance since he was on a tour of the western states. There was still much controversy about the name of the dam since some wanted to name it after Herbert Hoover. Former President Hoover was not invited to the ceremony though and no mention was made of him. The US Post Office made a three-cent Boulder Dam stamp to commemorate the occasion.

There were 112 deaths attributed to the building of the dam. Three were suicides, but many were accidents on the job site. The first, J. G. Tierney,
Workers on Jumbo Rig
drowned while checking for a site for the dam. The last death was Tierney’s some Patrick, who fell from an intake tower. Some people felt there were more than the 112 deaths. Men died of supposed pneumonia, but may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of gasoline powered vehicles in the diversion tunnels.

There was much controversy over the name of the dam. Early on, the name Boulder Dam or Boulder Canyon Dam was used even though the location changed to Black Canyon. President Hoover’s name was mentioned because in the early years he was the President, and he had been instrumental in working to get the dam started. However, when he lost the election in 1932, there were those who didn’t want his name on the dam. In 1947 Congress voted to restore the name to Hoover Dam instead of Boulder Dam.

1940 Tour Group
I remember visiting Hoover Dam when I was a young girl. We took the tour of the dam and I was fascinated by the size and by the stories that were told. One of those stories had to do with a worker who fell to his death when they were pouring concrete and was never recovered. The idea horrified me. In my research for this blog, I read on the history.com website that there were no workers lost in the concrete like that. I have to wonder which is true. If you have the chance go to this page and read some interesting facts about the dam.


Have you ever visited Hoover Dam? I remember driving across the dam, although now there is a bridge you drive over because of the increase in traffic. Have you ever been to Lake Mead?  Please leave a comment and your email before midnight July 18, 2017 to be entered in a drawing for my new release, Bandolero.




Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and two grandsons. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.



Yoana Armenta’s reckless behavior results in her being captured by bandoleros. Yoana fears her impulsive nature will cause irreparable disaster. Amado Castro gave a death bed promise that he intends to keep – at all costs - even if he must break a childhood vow. When his choice endangers Yoana’s life, he struggles with the decision to honor his word, or to protect Yoana, whom he has come to care for more than he could have imagined. Now as the bandoleros threaten to sell Yoana to a fate worse than death, and the rancheros want to hang Amado, they must make choices. Will they trust God, or will they do what seems right to them?

25 comments:

  1. Loved this post. Have never seen the dam. I suppose I should find a way to go west. Thanks for the giveaway.
    bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

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    1. Thank you, Connie. I hope you get there some time.

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  2. Great post and informative about building this massive dam. I've never seen the dam.
    Bandolero sounds intriguing. Thank you for the giveaway, Nancy Farrier.
    marilynridgway78 [at] gmail[dot]com

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post, Nancy. I have visited Hoover Dam and it is quite a spectacular sight. It's magnitude is really something to behold!
    Have a great day!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Melanie. Yes, it is magnificent.

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  4. this was a great post. I have been to hoover dam. My dad actually helped to repair a lot of hoover dam a long time ago.
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

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    1. Lori, how interesting that your dad helped with the dam. Such an interesting place.

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  5. I've never visited any dams, but would love to visit the Hoover Dam someday. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone.

    princessdebbie1_2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. I do hope you get to visit some day.

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  6. Since I am a history student but I never knew about the both dams. However, reading your post, I have much information now about Boulder Dam and Hoover Dam.

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    1. Thank you, Emma. Yes, history can be very fascinating.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. A great post, thanks. I have not been to Hoover Dam, thinking I should.

    supergrand2009 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Shirley, I hope you get there some day. It is a marvel of workmanship.

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  9. Thank you for this great post. Yes, I have been to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. My mom grew up in Boulder City, NV and so we always visited my Grandma there and well, she lived extremely close to Lake Mead so we visited often. Most of the men on my Mom's side of the family worked in building the Hoover Dam. I had an great-uncle I never met that was one of the 112 who died on the job. He had been in a big Caterpillar type of equipment, stopped it on not very sturdy ground and when he got out the Caterpillar fell over on him and killed him instantly.

    Thank you for the great post and giveaway.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. Cindy, Thank you for sharing your story. How sad for your uncle. In looking at the pictures of the building of the dam, I am amazed they didn't lose more people. Those heights were pretty scary.

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  10. Fascinating, Nancy! We've been to the dam and it's magnificent. Amazing that it only took 2 years to build.

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    1. Pam, I agree. I have no idea how they did that.

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  11. I have been to other dams, but not Hoover Dam. Love reading about thr history. Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Perrianne. If you see this, please leave your email address to be entered in the giveaway.

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  12. Thanks for doing all the research and sharing the history
    of the Hoover Dam. There are similar stories of workers
    lost in the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. Though
    people are still injured or die on construction projects
    despite today's safety measures, it's amazing more
    people weren't lost in less than safe conditions back
    then. I have never been to Lake Mead and only have
    seen the Hoover Dam in documentaries.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Kathleen. You are right that the safety measures were lacking back then. Pretty scary.

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  13. I haven't had a chance to visit Hoover Dam. Thank you for your research and fabulous pictures of it. I would love to visit it some day.
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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    1. Thank you, Deanne. I hope you do get to visit.

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