Located just 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas, Hoover Dam attracts visitors from all over the world, and rightly so! This modern marvel is an astounding combination of natural beauty and man-made wonder. Built in the 1930s, the dam created Lake Mead from the waters of the Colorado River. The dam and the lake have changed the landscape and environment in the Southwest United States.
It is easy to enjoy a day tour from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam to take in the history, engineering, and natural beauty of the surrounding area. A tour usually lasts about 4 hours and makes a great diversion away from the city. Visitors of any age will enjoy the sites.
Back in the 1930s, Las Vegas was very small, and insignificant. Boulder City was created by the federal government to house the works brought into the area to build the dam. Boulder City was created and organized by the government and has never allowed gambling, even until today. The town has managed to keep much of its historic charm and atmosphere through strict ordinances and by limiting growth. Its Historic District still has most of the original buildings from decades past.
Originally the dam was called Boulder Dam, built at Black Canyon to stop the waters of the Colorado River. The name was later changed to Hoover Dam, after Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. From 1933 to 1947 its official name was Boulder Dam. But in 1947, President Harry Truman approved a congressional resolution that officially renamed it, Hoover Dam. Before 1993, the project had actually been called Black Canyon Dam.
High above the Colorado River spans the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, completed within the last ten years. This bridge made it possible for highway traffic to avoid driving over the dam while traveling between Nevada and Arizona. The bridge made the area’s transportation much more efficient. But it also added an entirely new tourist attraction with a parking lot and pedestrian lane to walk out and over the river. This allows visitors to enjoy a breathtaking view of Hoover Dam and the river below. This has increased the popularity of the dam and the surrounding area.
Art lovers will enjoy the beautiful Art Deco designs that are part of the dam itself, as well as the surrounding area. Winged statues, straight and curved lines, and distinct doors and windows add to the beauty of the project. Even more, art can be found in Boulder City, with an impressive collection of bronze statues that add to the aesthetics of the charming town. The statues range from historic and moving, to fund and whimsical. There are also some impressive art galleries that display some of the locally famous artists.
Within the Boulder Dam Hotel, there is a free museum that has very good information about the dam, the city, and the area. The hotel itself has a lot of character and history, and even housed Presidents and dignitaries over the decades. Also inside the hotel are an excellent restaurant, a local art gallery, and a famous Steinway & Sons grand piano which is close to 100 years old.
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