Hoover Dam

Mom says I drew a picture of Hoover Dam when I was five and gave a “report” on it in kindergarten for “what I did on my Christmas vacation”. As mom tells the story, the teacher was impressed with the rigor and detail I offered. I was an exceptional child. At least that’s how mom tells it.

Hoover Dam, Oct. 20, 201

Hoover Dam, Oct. 20, 201

To be honest, the only thing I remember is a sense of foreboding. I remember the view from the Arizona side, driving down the switchbacks until we got to the overlook, getting out and looking down at the massive intake towers. In the winter of 1964-65, they had begun holding water upstream, behind the newly completed Glen Canyon Dam. So the levels were low, and it must have looked very much like it does in this picture, which I took last night. All I remember is the fact that, from a child’s vantage, point, that was scary frickin’ far down there! I don’t remember looking down into the spillway, but I must have.

And I remember the tour guide telling us that Hoover Dam has enough concrete in it to pave a road all the way from San Francisco to New York, or some such. So I guess my childish fear of the abyss somehow mixed with a sense of wonder.

The “San Francisco to New York” isn’t part of the tour schtick any more. At least it wasn’t when I took it last night. But the sense of wonder, the triumphalism of Hoover Dam, remains.

One Comment

  1. John,

    I also, as a young lad, had a fascination with dams. Not just Hoover, any dam held interest with me.

    Later in life, through random chance, Delbert got the opportunity to sweep the floors at Hoover Dam. You learn a lot while sweeping floors. Take the Generators for instance. We all have seen pictures of them on both the Arizona and Nevada wings. They all look the same. All built from the same plans. However, pushing my broom around them I could see they were made from different manufactures. Westinghouse, GE, Allis Chalmers to name a few. Also, the generators had different characteristics. Best way I can explain it is to compare them to two of my uncle’s logging trucks. Uncle Bob’s truck ran extremely well at 45 mph. Uncle Melvin’s truck ran rough at 45 mph but ran better at 50 mph. Same with Hoover’s generators. Although both trucks were the same model they ran differently given the same conditions.

    The only other thing that I can tell you about the place that it was a unique experience to buff the floor starting on one state and ending the job in another state. I was in the same room during the entire job. During this time I had crossed time zones multiple times with the buffer.

    I hope that that has added a new perspective to your view of the dam. Oh yeah, that stilling well you mentioned in an earlier post might also be nestled on the state line (and time zone). Oh Oh, that opens another can of worms. When exactly in time did the Lake Level actually change? Was it AZ time or NV time?

    Got to go. More floors to sweep.


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