On September 30, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt presided over the dedication ceremony of the Boulder Dam (the name was later changed to honor Herbert Hoover).

As early as 1900, Black Canyon and Boulder Canyon were studied to consider the possibility that either might be able to support a dam to control floods, provide irrigation water, and create hydroelectric power. Severe flooding of the Colorado River in 1905 spurred this movement and necessitated the building of a dam to control the waters.

Construction on the dam began on April 29, 1931. At the same time the dam was being built, work began on Boulder City, to house the workers. By 1932, the dam employed over 3,000 workers. At its height in July 1934, there were 5,251 people working on the dam. Work on the dam was difficult. During the summer the temperature reached highest of 119 degrees, taking the lives of 16 workers and residents in one month alone. Over the course of the construction, 112 workers lost their lives.

By the summer of 1935, most of the work on the dam itself was finished, though the powerhouse wasn’t entirely done yet. In September President Franklin Roosevelt was going to be passing through on a western tour, so officials made arrangements for him to oversee a formal dedication ceremony. The ceremony was held at 11:00 a.m. on September 30, 1935. In spite of the hot 102-degree weather, some 10,000 people turned out for the dedication ceremony. President Roosevelt delivered a rousing address in honor of the dam and its workers:

“This morning I came, I saw and I was conquered, as everyone would be who sees for the first time this great feat of mankind…”

This Day in History… September 30, 1935

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Sep 30 2020


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