Deep Inside Hoover Dam — Just the Facts
Look! I have photographic proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, there’s also a roughly 400 foot drop down a sheer surface to hot concrete below. Most visitors to the Hoover Dam only get the Power Plant tour, but there’s a longer version that brings you down to this creepy tunnel. Not even enough room for me to stand up all the way. As you get closer to the end, you feel the heat of the exterior radiating toward you. Best not to touch anything down there during the summer months, especially those metal pipes.
The tour guides have a lot of interesting trivia and facts, but they also seem to want to dispel the myths. For instance, there are no bodies buried in the damn. It wouldn’t be good for quality control. Besides, they only poured cement in a few inches at a time. There wasn’t some big vat that could hide a body. That doesn’t mean people didn’t die during the effort — including a father and son who died in separate incidents 13 years apart. 96 were lost due to industrial accidents, but more died due to heat and illness.
I typically thought of Hoover Dam as a project for electricity — and it is — but I was surprised to learn how much impact it had on agriculture. Coming from a very wet place, it never occurred to me. The impact of bringing water to the desert was enormous for agriculture and the economy. After all, something had to fill all of those Las Vegas pools.