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Hoover Dam Fall

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Hoover Dam Fall

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Hoover Dam Fall

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An enormous number of deaths Over people died in the construction of the Hoover Dam. Of those, 96 are identified as official "industrial fatalities", allowing the deceased's family to obtain compensation.

Not included in the 96 are individuals who died from from pneumonia, a diagnosis now believed to be a cover for exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide.

Claiming pneumonia as the cause of death allowed Six Companies, the body governing this massive construction undertaking, to pursue a loophole preventing the payment of death benefits to families.

Interestingly, no locals died of pneumonia during this time. Forming the Massive Concrete Blocks that made up the Hoover Dam To build the dam, enormous seven foot deep and seven foot wide buckets poured concrete into square and rectangular forms ranging from 25 by 25 feet to 25 by 60 feet.

Depending on the square-footage of the block needed, the concrete level would rise two to six inches after each pour, making it rather difficult to lose a worker in a small increase in depth.

Falling into the concrete might become an issue, but the workers could easily be extracted before the concrete hardened. Decaying bodies are an architectural issue If a body did make its way into the Hoover Dam, the point of burial would quickly become a weakness in the structural integrity of that particular concrete block.

A human body is less structurally sound than the same volume of concrete. And if the body experienced any sort of decay, an air pocket could form around the body, further decreasing the stability of the weak point.

Both situations would lead to a considerable six foot long, two foot wide weak spot in the dam, and a major problem when trying to hold back millions of gallons of water.

In , W. Jameson found himself on the wrong end of a tumult of recently poured concrete. When a concrete form gave way, the wet concrete slid down the side of the Hoover Dam, covering Anderson and at least one other worker.

Anderson did not survive. Sixteen hours after the fatal accident, workers removed his body from the site. Workers continue to speak of buried bodies Those constructing the Hoover Dam not only failed to squash rumors of individuals buried inside during construction, but often exacerbated the tales.

In the mids, Todd King, a University of Nevada Professor, conducted interviews with several individuals who worked on the Hoover Dam to learn the truth behind their accounts.

Though some of the stories of burial told by the elderly gentlemen sounded plausible to King, not one of the workers interviewed witnessed a person purposefully buried amidst the construction of the Hoover Dam.

To protect the construction site from the Colorado River and to facilitate the river's diversion, two cofferdams were constructed. Work on the upper cofferdam began in September , even though the river had not yet been diverted.

When the cofferdams were in place and the construction site was drained of water, excavation for the dam foundation began.

For the dam to rest on solid rock, it was necessary to remove accumulated erosion soils and other loose materials in the riverbed until sound bedrock was reached.

Work on the foundation excavations was completed in June Since the dam was an arch-gravity type, the side-walls of the canyon would bear the force of the impounded lake.

Therefore, the side-walls were excavated too, to reach virgin rock, as weathered rock might provide pathways for water seepage.

The men who removed this rock were called "high scalers". While suspended from the top of the canyon with ropes, the high-scalers climbed down the canyon walls and removed the loose rock with jackhammers and dynamite.

Falling objects were the most common cause of death on the dam site; the high scalers' work thus helped ensure worker safety.

The construction site had, even then, become a magnet for tourists; the high scalers were prime attractions and showed off for the watchers.

The high scalers received considerable media attention, with one worker dubbed the "Human Pendulum" for swinging co-workers and, at other times, cases of dynamite across the canyon.

When workers wearing such headgear were struck hard enough to inflict broken jaws, they sustained no skull damage. Six Companies ordered thousands of what initially were called "hard boiled hats" later " hard hats " and strongly encouraged their use.

The cleared, underlying rock foundation of the dam site was reinforced with grout , forming a grout curtain. This was done to stabilize the rock, to prevent water from seeping past the dam through the canyon rock, and to limit "uplift"—upward pressure from water seeping under the dam.

The workers were under severe time constraints due to the beginning of the concrete pour, and when they encountered hot springs or cavities too large to readily fill, they moved on without resolving the problem.

A total of 58 of the holes were incompletely filled. It found that the work had been incompletely done, and was based on less than a full understanding of the canyon's geology.

New holes were drilled from inspection galleries inside the dam into the surrounding bedrock. Bureau of Reclamation engineers calculated that if the dam were to be built in a single continuous pour, the concrete would take years to cool, and the resulting stresses would cause the dam to crack and crumble.

When an individual block had cured and had stopped contracting, the pipes were filled with grout. Grout was also used to fill the hairline spaces between columns, which were grooved to increase the strength of the joints.

The concrete was delivered in huge steel buckets 7 feet high 2. The buckets were then suspended from aerial cableways which were used to deliver the bucket to a specific column.

A total of 3,, cubic yards 2,, cubic metres of concrete was used in the dam before concrete pouring ceased on May 29, Overall, there is enough concrete in the dam to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York.

With most work finished on the dam itself the powerhouse remained uncompleted , a formal dedication ceremony was arranged for September 30, , to coincide with a western tour being made by President Franklin D.

Eastern Time. Most work had been completed by the dedication, and Six Companies negotiated with the government through late and early to settle all claims and arrange for the formal transfer of the dam to the Federal Government.

The parties came to an agreement and on March 1, , Secretary Ickes formally accepted the dam on behalf of the government. Six Companies was not required to complete work on one item, a concrete plug for one of the bypass tunnels, as the tunnel had to be used to take in irrigation water until the powerhouse went into operation.

There were deaths reported as associated with the construction of the dam. Tierney, fell from one of the two Arizona-side intake towers.

Included in the fatality list are three workers who took their own lives on site, one in and two in Ninety-six of the deaths occurred during construction at the site.

Workers alleged that this diagnosis was a cover for death from carbon monoxide poisoning brought on by the use of gasoline-fueled vehicles in the diversion tunnels , and a classification used by Six Companies to avoid paying compensation claims.

No deaths of non-workers from pneumonia were recorded in Boulder City during the construction period. The initial plans for the facade of the dam, the power plant, the outlet tunnels and ornaments clashed with the modern look of an arch dam.

The Bureau of Reclamation, more concerned with the dam's functionality, adorned it with a Gothic -inspired balustrade and eagle statues.

This initial design was criticized by many as being too plain and unremarkable for a project of such immense scale, so Los Angeles-based architect Gordon B.

Kaufmann , then the supervising architect to the Bureau of Reclamation, was brought in to redesign the exteriors. He designed sculpted turrets rising seamlessly from the dam face and clock faces on the intake towers set for the time in Nevada and Arizona—both states are in different time zones, but since Arizona does not observe daylight saving time , the clocks display the same time for more than half the year.

At Kaufmann's request, Denver artist Allen Tupper True [81] was hired to handle the design and decoration of the walls and floors of the new dam.

True's design scheme incorporated motifs of the Navajo and Pueblo tribes of the region. With the agreement of Kaufmann and the engineers, True also devised for the pipes and machinery an innovative color-coding which was implemented throughout all BOR projects.

True's work on the Hoover Dam was humorously referred to in a poem published in The New Yorker , part of which read, "lose the spark, and justify the dream; but also worthy of remark will be the color scheme".

Complementing Kaufmann and True's work, sculptor Oskar J. Hansen designed many of the sculptures on and around the dam.

His works include the monument of dedication plaza, a plaque to memorialize the workers killed and the bas-reliefs on the elevator towers. In his words, Hansen wanted his work to express "the immutable calm of intellectual resolution, and the enormous power of trained physical strength, equally enthroned in placid triumph of scientific accomplishment", because "[t]he building of Hoover Dam belongs to the sagas of the daring.

Surrounding the base of the monument is a terrazzo floor embedded with a "star map". The map depicts the Northern Hemisphere sky at the moment of President Roosevelt's dedication of the dam.

This is intended to help future astronomers, if necessary, calculate the exact date of dedication. To put such large bronzes into place without marring the highly polished bronze surface, they were placed on ice and guided into position as the ice melted.

The bas-relief on the Arizona elevator depicts, in his words, "the visages of those Indian tribes who have inhabited mountains and plains from ages distant.

Excavation for the powerhouse was carried out simultaneously with the excavation for the dam foundation and abutments.

The excavation of this U-shaped structure located at the downstream toe of the dam was completed in late with the first concrete placed in November Filling of Lake Mead began February 1, , even before the last of the concrete was poured that May.

In the latter half of , water levels in Lake Mead were high enough to permit power generation, and the first three Allis Chalmers built Francis turbine - generators , all on the Nevada side, began operating.

In March , one more Nevada generator went online and the first Arizona generator by August. By September , four more generators were operating, and the dam's power plant became the largest hydroelectricity facility in the world.

The final generator was not placed in service until , bringing the maximum generating capacity to 1, megawatts at the time.

The smaller generators were used to serve smaller communities at a time when the output of each generator was dedicated to a single municipality, before the dam's total power output was placed on the grid and made arbitrarily distributable.

Before water from Lake Mead reaches the turbines, it enters the intake towers and then four gradually narrowing penstocks which funnel the water down towards the powerhouse.

The entire flow of the Colorado River passes through the turbines. The spillways and outlet works jet-flow gates are rarely used. The maximum net generation was The amount of electricity generated by Hoover Dam has been decreasing along with the falling water level in Lake Mead due to the prolonged drought in the s and high demand for the Colorado River's water.

Lake Mead fell to a new record low elevation of 1, Control of water was the primary concern in the building of the dam. Power generation has allowed the dam project to be self-sustaining: proceeds from the sale of power repaid the year construction loan, and those revenues also finance the multimillion-dollar yearly maintenance budget.

Power is generated in step with and only with the release of water in response to downstream water demands. Lake Mead and downstream releases from the dam also provide water for both municipal and irrigation uses.

Water released from the Hoover Dam eventually reaches several canals. Electricity from the dam's powerhouse was originally sold pursuant to a fifty-year contract, authorized by Congress in , which ran from to In , Congress passed a new statute which set power allocations to southern California, Arizona, and Nevada from the dam from to The new arrangement began on October 1, The Bureau of Reclamation reports that the energy generated under the contracts ending in was allocated as follows: [3].

Tourists gather around one of the generators in the Nevada wing of the powerhouse to hear its operation explained, September The dam is protected against over-topping by two spillways.

The spillway entrances are located behind each dam abutment , running roughly parallel to the canyon walls. Each gate weighs 5,, pounds 2, metric tons and can be operated manually or automatically.

Gates are raised and lowered depending on water levels in the reservoir and flood conditions. The large spillway tunnels have only been used twice, for testing in and because of flooding in Both times, when inspecting the tunnels after the spillways were used, engineers found major damage to the concrete linings and underlying rock.

In response to this finding, the tunnels were patched with special heavy-duty concrete and the surface of the concrete was polished mirror-smooth.

The damage, also due to cavitation, led to the installation of aerators in the spillways. There are two lanes for automobile traffic across the top of the dam, which formerly served as the Colorado River crossing for U.

Route Pending the completion of the bypass, restricted traffic was permitted over Hoover Dam. With the opening of the bypass, through traffic is no longer allowed across Hoover Dam; dam visitors are allowed to use the existing roadway to approach from the Nevada side and cross to parking lots and other facilities on the Arizona side.

Hoover Dam opened for tours in after its completion, but following Japan 's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, , it was closed to the public when the United States entered World War II, during which only authorized traffic, in convoys, was permitted.

After the war, it reopened September 2, , and by , annual attendance had risen to , The dam closed on November 25, , and March 31, , days of mourning in remembrance of Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower.

In , a new visitors' center was built, and the following year, visits exceeded one million for the first time. The dam closed again to the public on September 11, ; modified tours were resumed in December and a new "Discovery Tour" was added the following year.

As a result, few of True's decorations can now be seen by visitors. The only self-guided tour option is for the visitor center itself, where visitors can view various exhibits and enjoy a degree view of the dam.

The changes in water flow and use caused by Hoover Dam's construction and operation have had a large impact on the Colorado River Delta.

The Colorado River had experienced natural flooding before the construction of the Hoover Dam. The dam eliminated the natural flooding, threatening many species adapted to the flooding, including both plants and animals.

During the years of lobbying leading up to the passage of legislation authorizing the dam in , the press generally referred to the dam as "Boulder Dam" or as "Boulder Canyon Dam", even though the proposed site had shifted to Black Canyon.

When Secretary of the Interior Ray Wilbur spoke at the ceremony starting the building of the railway between Las Vegas and the dam site on September 17, , he named the dam "Hoover Dam", citing a tradition of naming dams after Presidents, though none had been so honored during their terms of office.

Wilbur justified his choice on the ground that Hoover was "the great engineer whose vision and persistence After Hoover's election defeat in and the accession of the Roosevelt administration, Secretary Ickes ordered on May 13, , that the dam be referred to as "Boulder Dam".

Ickes stated that Wilbur had been imprudent in naming the dam after a sitting president, that Congress had never ratified his choice, and that it had long been referred to as Boulder Dam.

Taylor of Colorado on December 12, , [] but was likewise ignored by Ickes. When Ickes spoke at the dedication ceremony on September 30, , he was determined, as he recorded in his diary, "to try to nail down for good and all the name Boulder Dam.

In the following years, the name "Boulder Dam" failed to fully take hold, with many Americans using both names interchangeably and mapmakers divided as to which name should be printed.

Memories of the Great Depression faded, and Hoover to some extent rehabilitated himself through good works during and after World War II.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 16 November For other uses, see Hoover Dam disambiguation.

For other uses, see Boulder Dam disambiguation. Hoover Dam. National Register of Historic Places. National Historic Landmark.

See also: Hoover Dam in popular culture. Arizona portal United States portal Water portal Renewable energy portal. GDP Then? Retrieved September 22, Bureau of Reclamation.

Archived from the original on May 20, Retrieved July 2, Archived from the original on March 23, Retrieved February 22, National Park Service.

National Historic Landmark summary listing. Archived from the original on July 16, Retrieved July 4, Archived from the original on September 6, December 9, Retrieved August 1, David September 28, Archived from the original on December 11, Retrieved September 29, Archived from the original on May 14, Archived from the original on June 23, Archived from the original on May 28, David September 22, Archived PDF from the original on September 21, Retrieved June 14, Retrieved October 20, Archived from the original on May 15, Retrieved February 7, The Hoover Dam.

Twenty-First Century Books. Desert Gazette. Archived from the original on December 20, Retrieved December 7, United States Bureau of Reclamation.

March 12, Archived from the original on December 30, Quote, p. Archived from the original on January 12, Retrieved January 13, Archived from the original on September 28,

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