On the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona is a huge dam that blocks the Colorado river and holds back water that fills an enormous lake. It’s an giant block of concrete and steel called Hoover Dam.

When it was completed in 1935, Hoover Dam was biggest dam in the world. So how big is it? It’s 726 feet tall; it weighs over 6 million tons; it’s 660 feet thick at its base and 45 feet thick at the top. That’s not your average-sized dam!

The water that backs up behind Hoover Dam creates Lake Mead. Lake Mead is a huge manmade reservoir that provides water for 20 million people and lots of California farmland. When water from Lake Mead flows through Hoover Dam, which happens whenever more water is needed downstream, the turbines at Hoover Dam create electricity that’s sent to California, Arizona, and Nevada. No wonder Hoover Dam is considered a national landmark and and one of the world’s engineering marvels.

Fun Facts About Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Fun Fact: Construction on the Hoover Dam began September 30, 1930 . The last concrete was poured in 1935.

Fun Fact: Hoover Dam wasn’t always called Hoover Dam. When it was first built, it was called Boulder Dam (named after nearby Boulder Canyon). But the name Boulder Dam didn’t catch on.

Fun Fact: In 1947, both Houses of Congress unanimously voted to officially name the dam after Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States.

Fun Fact: It has been estimated that if the concrete used to make Hoover Dam was used, instead, to make a highway, that the road would stretch all the way from San Francisco to New York.

Fun Fact: Hoover Dam is as tall as a 60-story building, and at its base, it’s thicker than two football fields.

Fun Fact: Lake Mead is 120 miles long and has 769 miles of shoreline. When it’s full, it’s the largest reservoir in the United States (By the way, a reservoir is a manmade body of water.).

Fun Fact: At its full capacity, Lake Mead can hold enough water to cover the entire state of Connecticut to a depth of 10 feet. But Lake Meade hasn’t been full since 1983, and it’s not likely to fill up anytime soon.

About Nevada and Arizona

It’s a Fact: Hoover Dam backs up water that creates Lake Mead. Lake Mead is located in two states: Nevada and Arizona.

It’s a Fact: The capital of Nevada is Carson City. The largest city in Nevada is Las Vegas. The abbreviation for Nevada is NV.

It’s a Fact: Las Vegas is a huge tourist attraction, so it’s no surprise that the tourism industry is Nevada’s largest employer.

It’s a Fact: The capital of Arizona is Phoenix, which is also the largest city in the state. The abbreviation for Arizona is AZ.

It’s a Fact: Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon is a huge, steep-sided canyon carved out by the Colorado River.