Boulder Dam

While travelling between The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, we made a little visit to the Boulder dam. Vegas and The Grand Canyon were both amazing and sublime in their own way, butit was the Boulder Dam that Truly inspired me. It’s Perhaps better (and officially) known as the Hoover Dam, but in my family it’s always been and always will be the Boulder Dam. Constructed in the 1930’s, my Grandfater worked on the Dam and for reasons that were never quite clear to me, always refused to refer to it as the Hoover.

Some info from the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation website:

Hoover Dam provides generation of low-cost hydroelectric power for use in Nevada, Arizona, and California. Hoover Dam alone generates more than 4 billion kilowatt-hours a year – enough to serve 1.3 million people. From 1939 to 1949, Hoover Powerplant was the world’s largest hydroelectric installation; today, it is still one of the country’s largest.
Hydroelectricity is a clean, renewable source of energy that does not result in air pollution, chemical runoff, or toxic waste disposal.

There are 17 main turbines in Hoover Powerplant. The original turbines were all replaced through an uprating program between 1986 and 1993. With a rated capacity of 2,991,000 horsepower, and two station-service units rated at 3,500 horsepower each, for a plant total of 2,998,000 horsepower. The plant has a nameplate capacity of about 2,080 megawatts. This includes the two station-service units, which are rated at 2.4 megawatts each.

The average annual net generation for Hoover Powerplant for operating years 1947 through 1994 was about 4 billion kilowatt-hours. The maximum annual net generation at Hoover Powerplant was 10,348,020,500 kilowatt-hours in 1984, while the minimum annual net generation since 1940 was 2,648,224,700 kilowatt-hours in 1956.

Some more pics for your enjoyment…



Prior to this visit I no idea the dam complex was so damn beautiful. Art Deco has never seemed more appropriate…or just plain cooler. These statues remind of something that would stand outside of a Howard Roark building. The inscription between the two identical statues reads “It is fitting that the flag of our country should fly here in honor of those men who, inspired by a vision of lonely lands made fruitful, concieved this great work and of those others whose genius and labor made that vision a reality.”
A parting shot of me looking over the canyon.

5 Replies to “Boulder Dam”

  1. Boulder Dam is must-see architecture. Did you take the long tour, which takes you down to the power house and into the inspection tunnels in the dam? I still have my hardhat! Absolutely cool. Much better than blowing money in the casinos in Vegas by a long shot.

  2. you know, the first thing i thought of when i saw that winged statue was, “that’s straight out of The Fountainhead.”

    how very ironic, a “collective unconscious” moment… inspired by Ayn Rand!

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