Being interested in construction, it was an easy sell with Jackie for an early visit to the dam, for a full tour. Many years ago, they offered the "Hardhat Tour' which has now been retired for security reasons, but the replacement is just about as good.
If you like Art Deco architecture, and appreciate tremendous attention to detail, coupled with meticulous housekeeping, pay this place a visit. Built in the 1930's, it's now 80 years old and still gleaming.
One of several outdoor entrances, this one to the elevator goes deep within the dam.
To see some spectacular pictures of its construction, click here...
A very impressive eye-catcher is the Hoover Dam Memorial. Pictured here is one of the angels, with wings soaring upward. Around the granite base is a large expanse of multicolored terrazzo depicting the solar system, with locations and directions to planets and stars. Here's a sample as we stand in the sun.
The first thing returning visitors note is the highway bypass which handles all truck traffic now. Can you see the 53 foot transport truck at the top? That is one long bridge, and it's wayyyy up in the air...
Just for a bit of flavour of the place, here are a few photos, out of hundreds composed and taken.
This is a picture of the Arizona spillway, which is only needed if Lake Mead rises close toward the top of the dam, and threatens to overflow it. The water will run over the adjustable metal barricades out of view on the right side of the picture and then descend 600 feet in a concrete lined tunnel 50 feet in diameter, to get past the dam. There is one of these on the Nevada side too. Can you see the people on the bridge crossing it?
Down the smaller drain. This time it's a water fountain in the visitor center...
Down the Drain
Within the dam, there are levels of tunnels. These are near the top. The terrazzo is classy.
Nearby the powerhouse, the tunnels are more rustic. A bit of water seeps in here and there.
No-Bull Bolts, and other serious hardware. Plenty of exercise handling this stuff.
Note the 300 Ton crane dollies, with storage lockers, tables and equipment permanently installed
This little red Pelton wheel generator is used to make power to run the control systems of the Hoover Dam. It doesn't rely on power from the grid if a re-start is required!
Lots of long, deep, and steep service and inspection tunnels.
We were lucky to be part of the first group of the day: Within maybe twenty minutes of getting our tickets, the rest of the day's big tours were sold out . As it was, we were back in strong sunlight by 11, and had time to visit REI (Outdoor mountaineering equipment) in Boulder City before heading out to Zion.
Outside REI, a guy was sunning his lizards and talking to people about them. Jackie made the acquaintance of one, and another inspected my shoe, probably attracted by similar lizard-like colors...