After watching any of these Hoover Dam Videos, surely a visit to Hoover Dam is in order!

Hoover DamToday there are 1-million visitors to Hoover Dam and another 8-million visitors to Lake Mead each year. The builders and operators of the Hoover Dam Project instinctfully understood that people would flock to see the grandeur and sheer beauty of the smooth and graceful mega structure set into the craggy rock walls of Black Canyon that itself was carved out over millions of years by the mighty Colorado River. To share the impressive dam with the world’s visitors –most not yet born back in the 1930’s –Hoover Dam was built with tourists in mind. If you made it to Laughlin, you are as close as many visitors will ever be in their lifetime!

The builders recognized that the implausibility of the engineering feat in the 1930’s coupled with the dam’s remote setting in the inhospitable southwestern desert would draw endless generations of future admires, so they designed a tourist friendly marvel sporting an Art Deco look and feel into dam itself. The Art Deco look of the 400 foot high Penstocks (intakes on the Lake Mead side) is the first clue seen afar off; bolstered by statues, plaques, art in the floors, symbols cast in the concrete walls —all creating an elegance and grace only apparent to those who travel to Hoover Dam to see it up close and personal. The Hoover Dam should be on everyone’s Bucket List!

The Building of Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) (1937)

This original Black & White Film was put together and released in 1937, 2 years after the 1935 completion and 1 year after Hoover Dam’s official opening in 1936. It is an amazing overview of the herculean effort and resources that went into building Boulder City, NV in 1931 as a city for housing the workers who were simultaneously building Boulder Dam (later renamed “Hoover Dam” in 1947) 7 miles from Boulder City.


The Story of Hoover Dam (1957-1961)

What a great video with footage filmed in the late 1950’s. While, this color film has some of the same black and white footage as the 1937 film (video above), the film offers new footage and insights. The repeat footage starts at 04:10 and ceases at 16:00 where the film returns to late 1950’s color.

This film shows the actual assembly of the last turbine generator (N8 that went online in 1961 to help power the state of Nevada), and the efforts to get the huge parts delivered and lowered to the powerhouse. Footage shows the cutting of the concrete floor to accommodate the last turbine/generator, the mammoth control valve, the assembling of the scroll case, the turbine’s water wheel, the assembly of the butterfly valve that controls water to turbine N8, the 254-ton stator being placed followed by the 466-ton rotor being placed inside the stator which is then connected to its 38-inch diameter, 63-foot long polished shaft that connects the generator stator to the turbine’s blades that are spun up to 1,000 RPM by the water from Lake Mead.

The film moves on to show the resultant ability to control farmland water, which prior to Hoover Dam used to vacillate between drought or flooding; and Lake Mead as the largest reservoir in America now a recreation mecca for boating, fishing and wildlife. The film concludes by showing where the Colorado River water is dispersed downstream, including showing Davis Dam (67 miles downstream at Laughlin, NV), Parker Dam (155 miles downstream), Headgate Rock Dam, followed by the Palo Verde Diversion Dam, followed by Imperial Diversion Dam & Desilting Works (300 miles downstream).

TRIVIA FACT: Not one drop of the Colorado River ever reaches the ocean since Hoover Dam was constructed. The Colorado River is the ONLY major river that never reaches the ocean, but is completely consumed.


MegaStructures – National Geographic presents: Hoover Dam (2006)

A modern presentation using footage from the 1937 film and more footage and old photographs — but interspersed in little black & white clips throughout the modem presentation coupled with background music and sound effects. This better shows how the railroad in Las Vegas (30 miles away) was extended to the building site. The presentation shows how the 1931-1935 project was the perfect time to take advantage of the tens of thousands of depression-era workers. Excellent National Geographic graphics help show the steps. “Hurry-Up Crow” (Henry Crow) is highlighted as the driving force that saw the MegaStructure completed 2-1/2 years ahead of schedule.

The 2nd segment shows how a prior dam, Crystal Springs Dam is a similar-design, gravity dam constructed across the San Mateo Creek, impounding water to form the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo County, California. It was built of concrete — sand brought by horse 25 miles, and cement shipped from England — completed in 1888.

The final segments recall the human issues of trying to survive in the desert with no refrigerators, clean water, sanitation and the building of Boulder City where workers were charged $0.25 of every dollar for them or their families to live there. In 1939, the 17th generator goes online supplying more “Green Energy” than 2 modern-day nuclear power plants – supplying power to the western states all the energy needed to ramp up factories for World War II. The dam also is responsible for the fast growth of new cities. 56% of the power was shipped to Los Angeles and Southern California, the remaining went to power fast-growing cities in the United States: Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix, AZ.

Secrets Hidden Beneath Lake Mead – In the last segment are some interesting twists.


The Bridge at Hoover Dam (2009-2011)

If the Hoover Dam is not sufficient to get you in your car for a lovely 87 minute drive through historic Boulder City and then to the dam itself, you artists must see beauty and grace in the amazing new Hoover Dam Bridge!

Photographer and photo journalist, Jamey Stillings, facing a lethargic economy in 2009 decided to get proactive and take a photographic road trip. He wanted to visit Hoover Dam which he hadn’t seen since his childhood. He saw the bridge under construction and documented it as only an artist can. Chief Bridge Engineer, David Goodyear, offers his perspective and shares that the technology to build the concrete arch bridge did not exist when the dam was constructed in 1931-1935. Jamey captures the “man-altered” landscape, including the idea expressed by Mr. Goodyear that the new bridge “transverses the canyon efficiently and economically while complementing Hoover Dam by sitting respectfully in that historic site.”

This brief, 11-minute video is the icing on the cake to add Hoover Dam to your bucket list or travel plans. No matter your plans, you can just sit back and take in the majesty of Jamey’s photos set in video-format as he gets to be a kid once again and document this “erector set on steroids.” .


Hoover Dam construction time lapse video


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