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tv   The Story of Hoover Dam  CSPAN  September 6, 2014 8:00am-8:31am EDT

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too bad american history will not know the real james madison. thank you. >> each week, american history tv's "reel america" brings you archival films. an attempt to control the colorado river's flooding and provide water to california the , u.s. government began this construction on hoover dam in 1931. one of the largest man-made structures when it opened in the 1936, project employed over 21,000 workers. it was completed two years ahead of schedule. in 1955 department of the interior film about the planning and the building of hoover dam. the story explains the engineering feat necessary for construction and promotes economic and recreational benefits provided by the structure. ♪
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>> this is the story of hoover dam. a modern civil engineering wonder. ♪ build a dam in the wilderness and the world will beat a path to it. for many centuries, this was a lonely canyon unseen and untouched by man, scorched by a desert sun, scolded by an angry river slashing its way to the sea. now it lies peaceful and silent except for the gentle hum of a hydroelectric power plant, the bubbling up of water, the cheerful sounds of america and
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the world on the move who see this pioneer multipurpose reclamation project man built. in black canyon. millions come to this spot to see this engineering wonder, to hear the story of hoover dam. >> ladies and gentlemen, we are standing on the powerhouse ramp 566 feet below the top of the dam. this is black canyon where. nevada and arizona meet on the colorado once flowed uncontrolled. this is where man conquered this mighty river. placing a concrete yoke about its neck to harness its tremendous water and power resources. the water that flows to the canyon -- >> the river has gathered flowing southwestern in its wild 1400 mile descent to the pacific ocean. piling up great deltas of silt
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in the valleys. and damaging great canyons. early settlers were at the mercy of this untamed giant. melted snow from the mountains each spring swelled the colorado river into a raging torrent. flooding fertile valleys along its path. destroying farmlands, homes, cities. in 1905, the colorado cut through its banks to the mexican border and for two years, forming an inland sea. -- poured unchecked into the sultan sick, -- into the salted sick -- sank, forming an inland say. after each brings flood, when the river had spent its fury, it dried to a trickle. crops withered and died. all living things suffered. man and his livestock thirsted. settlers along the river were discouraged.
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some gave up and went elsewhere. others stayed to fight. the river had to be regulated, controlled in a year-round if they were to succeed. no more floods, no more droughts. arthur powell davis, first reclamation director and chief engineer, understood their problem. he had traveled up and down the river surveying, studying. build a high dam and a deep canyon upstream to control the river, he reasoned. in 1918, davis reported his findings and proposals to congress. congress responded in 1928, authorizing construction of hoover dam to control and regulate the colorado river. the all american canal system to deliver water to farmlands on the lower river. in 1930, president herbert
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hoover sign the appropriations bill to begin construction. the contract was awarded in 1931 to six companies incorporated. a combine of six major construction firms. man and machines went to work to build this dam of unprecedented size, this modern civil engineering wonder. reclamation engineers rushed to completion specifications and design drawings. crews at the dam site completed their surveys and investigations. the thunder of man's determination to conquer the colorado river paraded between black canyon as construction got underway. the first major task was to divert river around the dam site. four tunnels were drilled to the canyon walls. each 56 feet in diameter, they averaged 4000 feet in length.
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drilled holes were packed with dynamite and plaster. workman excavated over 1.5 million cubic yards of blasted material in 13 months. the tunnels were lined with concrete three feet thick. explosions rocked the canyon daily before placing the concrete and the dam began. acrobatic workman prepared the canyon walls for each blast.
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suspended on ropes, they drilled holes in the rock and loaded them with dynamite. after each explosion, these daredevils prying loose rock and clearing the walls of debris. in november 1932, the colorado river was diverted. under control for the first time in its history, the river float around and past the site. men in trucks dumped the rock embankment. across the canyon below the tamil openings -- the tunnel openings. a second earth and rock dam was built across the river above the tunnel outlets downstream.
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keeping water from backing into the foundation area. isolated and protected from the river, the site was pumped dry. men and machines dug 135 feet the low the old river level to reach bedrock. excavating over 2 million cubic yards of rock and sand. as cleanup of the site expose the ancient bad of the colorado river, geologists read the history of what happened ages ago. workman cleaned and prepared bad rock services to receive the first concrete. assuring utmost stability for hoover dams foundation. 12 miles upstream, drag lines, excavated sand and gravel. for the dams concrete from an old stream on the arizona side. the train hauled this raw material to an aggregate plant
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across the river a few miles above the dam site. the sand and gravel passed through various processes until it emerged as aggregate. then it was stock filed according to sizes. this process moved as called for two to mixing plants. , one in the canyon bottom, and the other on the nevada river. there sand and gravel were , blended with cement into a uniform mix, meeting rigid specifications for the concrete to be placed in the structure. ♪ from the mixing plants, concrete was dispatched to all points of construction.
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nine aerial cable ways spanning the canyon lower the concrete and handled other supplies and equipment as well. as the first bucket of concrete settled into its foundation on june 6, 1933, hoover dam began its rise from the depths of black canyon. as cable ways dropped load after load of concrete, dam soon reached its thickness in its base. it was poured in five foot layers of concrete, the structures interlocking columns climbed skyward the interlocking columns skyward as crew set new records daily. bucketful after bucketful ran a continuous cycle dumping its load of 16 tons.
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crews vibrated and compacted while buckets returned again and again to the mixing plants to be filled with more concrete. or other waiting forms. crews worked under all conditions all seasons of the year without cessation, rain or shine, day and night. by june 1934, two-thirds of the dam's concrete had been placed. hoover dam had risen to an impressive height, already taking its place as one of the world wonders. as hoover dam climbed between the abutments related structures , came forth. at the toe of the dam the , u-shaped powerplant to house generating equipment was built, one along each side of the canyon walls.
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intake towers for the power plants -- the maze of reinforcing steel and concrete perched on shelves, these graceful columns rose 403 feet well above the dams crests. two giant spillways were set against the canyon walls on each side of the reservoir just above the dam. these high-level controls, each capable of bypassing 200,000 cubic feet of water per second, as sure that no water will ever overtop the dam. water flowing into the basins lunges downward through the tunnels to enter the river below the dam. 100 foot long drum gates on the spillways crest rise to give the reservoir and additional 16 feet of storage. the system called for pipes of
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unprecedented size, ranging from 8.5 to 30 feet in diameter. 2.75 inches. was brought from eastern rolling mills. the fabrication plant erected for this job near the dam site rolled and assembled the three miles of pipe installed in the canyon wall tunnels. as in all unprecedented phases of construction fabrication of , the pipe sections required special machinery and equipment. edges of the dimension plates were placed in a plating machine two percent -- to assure precision. they were bent on a giant press enrolled into circular form -- and rolled into circular form. thesuch plate equaled
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complete circumference of a finished pipe. 1/3three of the largest plates welded together formed a ring 30 feet in diameter and 11 feet long. two of these rings made up a section weighing 150 tons. a vertical laid machined the edges so the the sections would fit precisely when joined into continuous pin stocks inside the canyon walls. trains revealed their comparative sides. when the intake powers and connected tunnels were ready, a specially designed trailer called the sections one at a time down the highway to the plant to the dam site. at the canyon rim, a 150 ton cable ways relieve the trailer of its tremendous burdens.
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swung the pipe sections out over the gorge and lowered them under absolute control. trailers carried them to their permanent connections inside the main tunnels. the pipe sections were hoisted into locations with cables and joined pressure pins to form continuous conduits between the intake towers, turbines, and outlet valves. a continuous stream of concrete had been pouring into the dam. the structure neared its full height of 726 feet. far above the crest of any other dem yet built by man. on may 29, 1935, crews placed the last concrete and hoover
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dam, a total of 3 million cubic yards. this modern civil engineering wonders to completed 2.5 years ahead of schedule. on september 30, 1935, president franklin delano roosevelt dedicated hoover dam. he praised its designers and builders. the dam stood like a sentinel, white and beautiful in the desert sunlight, guarding the river. floodwaters lapped helplessly against it. it spread into the valleys and canyons among the colorful hills and mountains. hoover dam had conquered the colorado. turbines were built into the powerhouse.
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the first generator began commercial operation october 26, 1936, to serve the city of los angeles. the generators filled demand for electrical energy in california, nevada, an arizona. in 1959, manufacture and installation of the last generator began. for 25 years, it has lain dormant and silent. except for the hom of other hoover their generators. as more generating capacity was needed, contracts were awarded for the generators manufacturer and installation. plants fabricated the many parts.
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the design followed that of other hoover generating units. it is a 90 95,000 kilowatts, driven by 115,000 horsepower turbine. hauling water from the reservoir is controlled by a huge butterfly valve which permits the water to flow to the turban. weighing 2000 tons, parts were shipped to hoover dam on 60 railcars. the parts were lifted by cable way out over the canyon and down to the powerhouse. parts descending into the gorge on strands of cable were familiar, and almost daily site, reminiscent of previous installations. the main operator with the same
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on you and helped install and operate the cable way during the dam's construction in the early 1930's. others likewise worked on the project throughout its construction. inside the nevada wing of the powerhouse, technicians assembled and installed the electrical cargo. crews prepared to receive the new generating unit. liners assembled were set in concrete. they removed temporary slabs. the turbines sections were lowered into the pit. sections were leveled, bolted together, and aligned. it was anchored in concrete, the turbines waterwheel attached to
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the bottom end of the shaft was installed inside the case. the butterfly valve was assembled on the generator floor and later connected between the penstock and the school case. -- and the scroll case. the generators two main parts the rotor and stater took form. , steel lamination plates were stacked around the frame. coils were locked into place and electrical connections were made. the powerhouse is overhead cranes lifted the completed stater from its direction they and carried it to its foundation over the turbine, where was lowered and bolted into place. the rotor was joined to the turbine waterwheel by a 38 inch diameter shaft, 63 feet long.
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other parts were added to complete the assembly. after a test run, it was on the line december 1, 1961. to serve the state of nevada and to complete the hoover powerplant, raising its capacity to one million kilowatts, keeping it is one of the world's largest hydroelectric installations. as the last sounds of construction faded into history, hoover dam cost $175 million. hoover dam's cost is being returned to the federal treasury at 3% interest. from the sale of hydroelectric power. hoover dam has fulfilled the hopes and expectations of those who envisioned this great
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reclamation project. colorado river waters that once destroyed man and his property now serve him. the colorado pours its waters into lake mead. these waters await by downstream users. water is released by the powerplant to irrigate over 1.25 million acres of desert land. serves municipal and industrial maze of the southwest and generate hydroelectric energy and provide various other multipurpose benefits. the clear waters of opened up a vast recreational vacation land for america.
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millions beat pass to this one time wilderness along the colorado river to picnic, go boating, swim, and fish. and enjoy these important out your reclamation products. hoover dam and its powerplant work around the clock to serve water and power needs of the pacific southwest. water from lake mead passing into the intake powers falls over 500 feet to spin the giant turbine wheel and then discharge the river. this action is repeated at downstream reclamation dams. transformers step up the voltage as it comes from the generators. lines carry this power up over the powerhouse room to the switch yard. it is transmitted over lines across the desert.
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the river flows southward. along the way, man diverts from the controlled stream to sustain his prosperous way of life. 67 miles downstream, davis dam reregulate the colorado, releasing water to its powerplant turbines to this country in mexico. generators interconnect with those at hoover dam upstream and those that parker dam downstream. this energy goes through transmission lines to farms, homes, factories. much of this energy pumps the farmers irrigation and draining water. parker dam, 155 miles downstream from hoover dam, was built with funds advanced by the much a politician water district of southern california.
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it provides a four bay for the districts colorado river aqueduct, another one of america's seven modern civil engineering wonders. this delivers visible in industrial supplies to the los angeles and san diego coastal areas. parker dam also controls floods. farther downstream, the diversion dams since water to the irrigation district, oldest irrigation development on the colorado river. at imperial dam, 300 miles downstream from hoover, colorado river water enters riverside canals to irrigate farmland in california and arizona.
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the all-american canal system carries part of the colorado west to the yuma, imperial and coachella valleys. and water reaches its farthest point on this canal system, it has traveled 500 miles after leaving hoover dam and has required 10 days to make the trip. the main canal takes water from imperial dam, south and east to valley and mesa lands of the auxiliary projects. mexico's share of the colorado river water passes imperial dam and most of it is diverted into the alamo canal. the non-surplus food and forage crops grown on lands nourished by water from hoover dam find ready markets throughout the nation.
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snow-covered lands lie idle, winter fruits and vegetables grown in the warm southwest with colorado river water are shipped to dinner tables across the nation. in return, these irrigated areas find farm machinery and other projects from the manufacturing centers. this exchange of goods between west and east, north and south, has helped develop america's free enterprise prosperity. hoover dam has pointed the way to the utilization of the colorado river is resources. man is adding other mighty reclamation projects to the stairway of dams. in northern arizona, glen canyon dam has joined hoover dam and conquering the colorado.
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potential sites in other canyons await the day when they will cradle mighty multipurpose dams. these developments will write new chapters in the story of hoover dam, truly a modern civil engineering wonder. ♪ >> here is a message to congress from one of the student camp competition winners. >> genetically modified tomatoes, corn, and soybeans are probably the most common. >> according to the usda, 90% of all corn and cotton and 93% of
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also being crops planted in the united states are genetically modified. despite suggestions of noble intent -- >> there is genetically modified rice to treat vitamin a deficiency throughout the world. >> there are people starving in africa and we can get them the food they need, i say why not. >> the safety and nutritional value of gmo;'s is income -- is inconclusive and highly controversial. >> there is no difference if you eat organic food or gmo, as long as you eat fresh. >> who is responsible for determining whether or not gm food should be labeled, band, or ignored? you decide. >> join us next wednesday during "washington journal" for the fame of the student cam documentary competition. scousen economist mark
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reflects on margin freeman -- milton friedman especially his work to reestablish the american economy following world war ii. he also reflects on his personal relationship with mr. friedman and the influence on his own career. the kansas city public library hosted this event, it's about one hour, 15 minutes. >> good evening and welcome to the kansas city public library. i'm the director of public affairs. we have all heard the old song, the third time's the charm. i have a feeling we will see a definitive proof of that assertion when he presents his third kansas city public library talk and barely more than 18 months. he is offering an original treatise on economist milton friedman, the nobel prize-winning intellectual architect of the free market

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