On This Day: One of the Greatest Feats of American Engineering

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On this day in 1930 construction began on the Hoover Dam in Nevada.¬†Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest man-made structures in the world. The idea of a dam in the area goes back to the early twentieth century, but it was the enthusiastic backing of the dam’s namesake, Herbert Hoover, as both the Secretary of Commerce and President that made the idea a reality. The dam would provide essential flood control, which would prevent damage to downstream farming communities that suffered each year when snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and joined the Colorado River. Further, the dam would allow the expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and would provide a dependable supply of water for Los Angeles and other southern California communities. It would also generate much needed electricity for nearby communities. The contractors finished their work two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Today, the Hoover Dam is the second highest dam in the country and the 18th highest in the world. It generates enough energy each year to serve over a million people

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