BOULDER CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — It was 92-years-ago when hundreds and eventually thousands of men went to work in southern Nevada. They were looking to break out of poverty created by the Great Depression and the pay at the site was worth the danger.
On July 7, 1930, major construction began on what would become the world’s largest public works project to date.
Before 1930 the construction project’s name had no reference to Hoover Dam. At the time it was called the Boulder Dam Project. This was due to the initial plans for a massive dam being drawn up for the Boulder Canyon, several miles up-river from the Black Canyon where the dam would eventually be built.
These plans were scrapped after too many faults in the rock were discovered in Boulder Canyon.
When construction began U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur officially named the dam after President Hoover, widely considered to be a political move that locals in southern Nevada did not go along with and continued to call it Boulder Dam.
To confuse the naming of the dam more, by the time construction was ending in 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, changed the name back to Boulder Dam.
This, however, would not last. In 1947 President Harry Truman approved a congressional act to rename it, once again, Hoover Dam.
But the original name lives on in the area with Boulder City and Boulder Hwy.
The name of the man in charge of the newly formed Bureau of Reclamation also lives on in the area. Lake Mead was named for Dr. Elwood Mead, an American professor, government official, and engineer.