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.
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.