Nevada Appeal at 150: Dedicated big dam In Hoover’s name

Hoover Dam Needle Test, 1941 by Cliff Segerblom.

Hoover Dam Needle Test, 1941 by Cliff Segerblom.

This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.

Dedicate big dam In Hoover’s name

Driving of Silver Spike and Naming of Dam Is Work Of Secretary Wilbur

Las Vegas, Sept. 17 — With the driving of the silver spike into a tie of the railway that will connect this city with Boulder dam, the real work of construction started today. From now on there will be scenes of activity, a rush of work will follow as son oas materials can be had and the dedication of the great engineering undertaking is in form. It marks the commencement of a new Nevada in industry.

Drives Silver Spike Secretary of the Interior Wilbur drove the silver spike, made from Tonopah silver into the tie with a few blows. Immediately following this ceremony, attended by many from several states, the secretary, in a very few words dedicated the work to President Hoover. His address was short as follows: “I have the honor,” he said, ‘to name this dam after a great engineer, who really started this greatest project of all time — the Hoover dam.”

Today’s celebration marked the start of construction of the 22 mile Union Pacific branch line, which will run from Boulder Junction seven miles west of Las Vegas to the dam site at the mouth of Black canyon. It was the first step in a gigantic construction program which will culminate several years hence with the completion of the 727 foot high barrier of steel and concrete which will be the fountain head of the greatest reclamation project in the world.

Mead Absent

Actual work on the dam proper will not start for more than a year. Preliminary steps — the building of the railroad spur over which materials and men will be transported to the dam site; the construction of Boulder city, a model community under the shadow of the dam where workmen and their families will live during the construction period; the excavation of runways, the blasting away of mountains of rock and hundreds of other details must be accomplished before the huge dam starts skyward. Dr. Elwood Mead, head of the reclamation bureau department of interior, who will supervise work on the project, was unable to be present at the ceremony. He became ill at the last moment and remained in a hotel here.

Refused to Sign

Official representatives of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, the six basin states signing the Boulder dam compact allocating water and power, were present. There was no official representatives of Arizona, the seventh state in the basin. Arizona refused to sign the compact, and fought the project since its inception. Offficals of the state are preparing to carry to the United States supreme court an attempt to enjoin the construction.

After Governor Fred Balzar of Nevada handed the Spike to Carl R. Gray, president of the Union Pacific railroad, and he in turn presented it to Secretary Wilbur, who drove it hone, the Secretary said: “This is one of man’s greatest victories over nature. It is as if our

country suddenly had a new state added to it, for a new and wider use of this controlled water will care for millions of people and create billions of wealth.”


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