Today, this 726′ high concrete behemoth is better known as Hoover Dam. When construction started in 1931, it was initially called Boulder Dam—being that it was to hold back the mighty Colorado River in Boulder Canyon. Instead, it was built-in the Black Canyon and renamed Hoover Dam 17 years after it was opened. It was so named because of President Herbert Hoover’s integral role in negotiating the water rights between the seven states that the Colorado River runs through, while he was the Secretary of Commerce. This is eventually what allowed the dam to be legally built.
The mission was to tame the flood prone Colorado River. The River’s erratic nature had plagued farmers for centuries. According to history.com, Hoover Dam generates enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes. It also created Lake Mead which is the U.S.’s largest reservoir. Without the controlled irrigation that Hoover Dam now provides cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, they would not have been able to develop to their current population sizes. Hoover Dam officially became one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders in 1994.