Hoover Dam Virtual Tour

March 12, 2007; by Igor Polk, San Francisco Click

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- Hoover Dam, located in the desert near Las Vegas is one of the best attractions a tourist visiting the area should see.

Here, starting from Boulder, you can make a virtual visit of the dam. There are 90 pictures in this virtual Tour. These are not aerial pictures. You can walk around as if you are there.

Also in this short essay I cover some history about the construction of the architectural marvel. So, let us see what is going on there in February of 2007..


Click on a picture below to start the virtual tour from that location:


On the road to Hoover Dam<-- Click the picture to start the tour from here. We are in Boulder City, the builders former camp. Here you can also observe the desert, road to the dam, and the Lake Mead reservoir.

The first Spanish ship appeared at the Colorado river mouth around 1540, Unites States Government made its first attempts to explore the Colorado in 1850 and 1857.

Colorado river frequently flooded fertile Imperial Valley. Construction of a dam would solve the problems of flood, irrigation, and power generation of surrounding states: California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Negotiations started at 1921 under coordination of Herbert Hoover. After years of research and considerations, in 1928 congress approved the construction site at Black Canyon.

In 1931 a contract was signed with Six Companies Incorporated, of San Francisco. In was incorporated for the purpose of winning the contract. Bechtel, Kaiser ( both California, SF ), Utah Construction Company, MacDonald & Kahn ( LA ), Morrison-Knudsen ( Idaho), Shea, and Pacific Bridge (both Oregon ) took parts. Bureau of Reclamation conducted work of site investigations and supervising. Work started immediately.


Hoover Dam Power Plant and Black Canynon<-- Click the picture to start at this place. This is the view downstream from the dam. Powerplant is below. Museum is at the right.

Hoover Dam or Black Canyon Dam as it was called until 1947 was the highest dam at the time of construction.

In November 1932 after finishing the diverting Colorado waters from its natural flow, the dam construction begun.

The dam is 727 feet (221 m) high, 660 feet (201m) thick at the base, 1244 feet (379m) long at crest. Numerous tunnels were dug with aggregate length 7 miles (11 km) including four 56 feet (17 m) 4000 ft (1200 m) long water diversion tunnels.


Lake Mead and Hoover Dam Intake Tower<-- Click the picture to start here. Your will appear at the middle of the dam. This is the reservoir. One of the four intake towers are on the right. They sit on the shelves in the rocky sides of the canyon 250 ft (76 m) above the old river bed. Height of the towers is about 395 ft (120 m), diameter is about 75 ft (23 m).

Storage of water in the Lake Mead reservoir started on February 1, 1935. The construction was accepted on March 1, 1936, two years in advance of schedule. First electrical energy was produced in the Fall of 1936.

Original powerplant capacity was about 1,344 MW. Installed now - 2,078 MW.

  Las  Vegas Electri-City<-- Click on the picture to make a Las Vegas tour . Hover Dam gave life to the development of the America West including the development of Las Vegas and cities of southern California including Los Angeles. It generates electricity, saves agricultural areas from flood and brings water to desert.

Read more about history of Arch Dams. Hoover dam is designed as a curved gravity dam.
Some interesting facts about dams.
How many dams are in Unites States? More than 75,000.
There was a lot of critic about recent new dam construction in Turkey, China, and other developing countries. Are dams good or bad? Canadian view.

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