Happy 80th birthday, Hoover Dam

Harold Ickes delivering Boulder Dam dedication, Sept. 30, 1935, courtesy USBR

Harold Ickes delivering Boulder Dam dedication, Sept. 30, 1935, courtesy USBR

From hisĀ Sept. 30, 1935 speech dedicating what was then called “Boulder Dam,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes:

I venture to hope that this dam, with its great storage of health and wealth and happiness for thousands of people, will stand as a definite opening of a new era with respect to the natural resources of America; an era of conservation, which means the prudent use of all our natural resources for the greatest good of the greatest number of our people; an era that will recognize the principle that the riches of forest and mine and water were not bestowed by God to be ruthlessly exploited in order to enhance the wealth of a small group of rugged individualists, but were beneficently given to us as an endowment to be carefully used for the benefit of all the people. On no other theory would the Federal Government be justified in so generously opening the doors of its treasure house for the building of this and other similar projects that will turn large sections of this breathtaking Western country into rich homesteads where a happy and contented people will find it possible to live those comfortable and worthwhile lives that we covet for every man, woman and child in these United States.

I love this. It was such a hopeful time. Listen to the audio here.