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Hoover Dam Construction Photograph Album, 1931-1934

By Finding aid prepared by Lawrence A. Landis.

Collection Overview

Title: Hoover Dam Construction Photograph Album, 1931-1934

Predominant Dates: 1932-1934

ID: P 260

Extent: 0.9 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The album is organized into two groups of photographs. The first group of 27 photographs, which starts with the second photograph in the album, contain dates and captions. The second group of 196 images are dated and arranged chronologically.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Hoover Dam Construction Photograph Album consists of 224 photographs depicting the construction of Hoover Dam at various stages between 1931 and 1934.

Scope and Content Notes

The Hoover Dam Construction Photograph Album contains 224 black and white, mostly 8x10, photographic prints documenting the construction of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River on the Arizona-Nevada Border between August 1931 and October 1934. Depicted are photographs of the dam site at the beginning of construction, preparation of the site, and construction of the dam, spillway, intake towers, cofferdams and diversion tunnels, and hydroelectric infrastructure. The collection also contains photographs of construction workers in their company mess hall and the company store; portraits of Charles A. Shea, director of construction for the Six Companies; and a composite photograph of the officials of the Six Companies. The photographer(s) and the compiler of the album are not known.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The vision for a dam on the Colorado River began as early as 1902 with the establishment of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In 1918 the Bureau of Reclamation recommended construction of a dam in the Boulder Canyon section of the river on the Arizona-Nevada border. The seven Colorado River Basin states signed the Colorado River Compact in November 1922, which eventually led to the 1928 Boulder Canyon Project Act. This act was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge in December 1928 and the Boulder Canyon Project Act was declared effective in June 1929. The dam project was bid and the Six Companies, Inc., was awarded the contract in March 1931. Construction commenced soon after. The river was diverted around the dam site in November 1932 and the first concrete was poured in June 1933. In early 1935 the dam began impounding water, creating Lake Mead. The dam was completed later that year and dedicated in September 1935. Hydroelectric power generation began in October 1936. In 1947 the dam was renamed Hoover Dam in honor of President Herber Hoover. The final power generator was installed in 1961. Hoover Dam today is maintained and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. (This information was abstracted from a chronology of the history of Hoover Dam on the Bureau of Reclamation's Hoover Dam web site http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/articles/chrono.html).

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 224 photographs; 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Photocopying of images from the album to be done by University Archives staff.

Physical Access Note: Album pages not attached to album cover.

Acquisition Note: Collection was transferred to the University Archives from OSU's Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in 2006.

Related Materials: The University of Nevada Las Vegas Special Collections houses a large collection of materials pertaining to Hoover Dam.

Preferred Citation: Hoover Dam Construction Photograph Album (P 260), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: Album pages reordered chronologically and interleaved with acid-free tissue paper.

People, Places, and Topics

Boulder City (Nev.)
Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)
Construction workers--Nevada--Boulder City.
Dams--Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)--Design and construction.
History of Science
Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.)
Hydroelectric power plants--Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.)
Six Companies
United States. Bureau of Reclamation

Forms of Material

Photograph albums.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Itemized Photographs, 1931-1934
Extent: 27 photographs

Item 1: Boulder (Hoover) Dam construction crew and officials of Six Companies Inc. Contractors posing in front of a sign that reads "United States Dept of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation, Boulder Canyon Project, Pouring 1,000,000th cubic yard of concrete in Dam 7th Month After Start of Pouring.", January 7, 1934
Item 2: Charles A. Shea, Director of Construction-Six Companies, Inc (1)., ca. 1931
Item 3: Charles A. Shea, Director of Construction-Six Companies, Inc (2)., ca. 1931
Item 4: Charles A. Shea, Director of Construction-Six Companies, Inc (3)., ca. 1931
Item 5: Officials of Six Companies, Inc., ca. 1931
Item 6: Looking upstream, toward the site of Hoover Dam, taken on the Nevada side of the Colorado., August 9, 1931
Item 7: Colorado River, looking upstream from the Nevada side from a point just below the lower portals of the diversion tunnels., August 21, 1931
Item 8: North Wing of Six Companies, Inc. 1150 man mess-hall at Boulder City, Nevada., September 23, 1932
Item 9: Kitchen of Six Companies mess-hall at Boulder City, Nevada., September 23, 1932
Item 10: Waiters employed at the mess-hall, Boulder City, Nevada., September 24, 1932
Item 11: Looking upstream from the Nevada site. Hoover Dam will rise at the location indicated by the second foot-bridge., October 21, 1931
Item 12: North wing of Six Companies, Inc, dining in the mess-hall., October 31, 1932
Item 13: Looking upstream in Black Canyon, from a point near the government water intake on the Nevada side., November 29, 1931
Item 14: Drilling jumbo in operation at the face of one of the diversion tunnels, showing method of construction and mounting., December 8, 1931
Item 15: Another view of the drilling jumbo, backed up to the tunnel face., December 8, 1931
Item 16: View of Hemenway, Washington and Reservoir site. When Hoover Dam is completed, the range of hills in the foreground will be entirely submerged., January 20, 1932
Item 17: Low level concrete mixing plant nearing completion., January 28, 1932
Item 18: A flashlight photograph of the interior of one of the diversion tunnels., January 28, 1932
Item 19: Flashlight view of one of the diversion tunnels. Drilling jumbo in foreground is being used to excavate invert., February 5, 1932
Item 20: Marion electric dragline, with 5 cubic yard capacity bucket, loading gravel at the Arizona gravel pit upstream from damsite., February 2, 1932
Item 21: Interior of Recreation Hall, maintained by Six Companies, Inc. for their employees., May 7, 1932
Item 22: Looking North from the crusher bin at the gravel screening plant. Various types of locomotive, crane, and car equipment used by Six Companies, Inc. are shown in the foreground., May 15, 1932
Item 23: Looking into the upper portal of Diversion Tunnel #2., May 11, 1932
Item 24: The drug department of the Boulder City Company Department Store in Boulder City, Nevada., June 2, 1932
Item 25: A flashlight photograph of the drilling jumbo working on the invert excavation at the upper portal of Diversion Tunnel #1., March 8, 1932
Item 26: Telephoto view of the low level concrete mixing plant., March 28, 1932
Item 27: Looking downstream on the Nevada side, from a point immediately above the damsite., March 14, 1932
Series 2: Non-Itemized Photographs, 1932-1934
The Non-Itemized Photographs were accessioned from the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. This series includes 187 undescribed images of the construction of Hoover Dam. These images depict different stages in the initial excavation at the base of the dam, as well as construction of the diversion tunnels and the main dam structure and towers. Also included are images of the Colorado River before major above-ground construction began, the Boulder City Department Store and the low level concrete mixing plant.
Extent: 187 photographs

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