Hoover Dam Or Boulder Dam? A History Question

If you talk to an “old timer” from Las Vegas (or the child of one who is an area native) and you get the conversation going about Hoover Dam, you’re also likely to find out what side of the political aisle they favor. How so? The dam was originally going to be built in Boulder Canyon on the Colorado River and the construction project was casually refereed to as Boulder Dam. Ironically, it was decided that Black Canyon was a more suitable location (Boulder Canyon has a fault running through it), but the Boulder Dam name originally stuck.

Congress never gave the project an official name, but Hoover’s Secretary Of The Interior Ray Wilbur showed up to break ground on the rail line running from Las Vegas out to the dam (most of which is still in service today), he unilaterally decided to name it Hoover Dam. And so it was… until Roosevelt (who succeeded Hoover in office) Interior Secretary Harold Ickes attempted to revert the name back to Boulder Dam at the dedication ceremony. It never really caught on, and Congress stepped in and officially sanctioned the name Hoover Dam more than a decade later.

Hoover was a Republican. Roosevelt was a Democrat. And some area natives aren’t letting the argument die. In the meantime, you can enjoy a Hoover Dam tour and enjoy this amazing, working piece of history for yourself.

Ted Newkirk
CEO/Manging Editor

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