Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DOWNSHIFTERS' DIARY: Hoover Dam

After spending the night at the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Las Vegas, we headed for Hoover Dam.

Built in the early '30s, Hoover Dam is still a marvel today. That it was built almost 80 years ago with the technology of that day is even more amazing.

As with other such wonders, pictures barely scratch the surface, but hopefully they'll whet your appetite. The picture of water cascading over the spillway is a photo of a historic photo on site. There have actually been only two occasions when Lake Mead has been high enough that water entered the spillways: shortly after the dam was completed in the '30s, and in 1983 during a record wet year.




After spending about three hours at the dam (we opted for the "short" tour for $11 per person; plan on more time if you want the longer tour for $30, we headed back toward Las Vegas but detoured when we saw the sign that said "Historic downtown Boulder City."

Boulder City was the town that was built to house the thousands of workers who came to the desolate area to work on the dam. Recall that it was the midst of the Great Depression, and jobs were hard to come by, so the difficult working conditions (seven days a week, two days off PER YEAR) were not a deterrent.

The city did not "spring up" spontaneously, nor was it an act of largess; the contract to build the dam required that Six Companies, Inc. (a joint venture of six construction companies who banded together to build the dam) provide housing for 80% of the workforce.

Downtown Boulder City nicely captured what must have been the feel of the '30s. It's quaint, sweet, and pleasant. Remove the modern motor vehicles and it probably looks the same as it did nearly 90 years ago. There's a brew pub, quaint hotel, charming main street -- and NO casino. Boulder City is the only town in Nevada that has prohibited gambling.

After our visit, it was on to L.A. for family time. More to follow.

Oh, and Vegas? I came out $26 ahead.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

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