Panoramic View of Hoover (Boulder) Dam
“Panoramic View of Hoover (Boulder) Dam: This colorful wide-angle shot of the mighty Dam spanning the Gorge of the Colorado River shows the main highway crossing the rim with Nevada on the right and Arizona on the left. The highest dam in the world by far, it is 727 feet high, 650 feet thick at the base and cost more than $125,000,000.00 to build during the 30’s.” With a set of numbers like that, it’s no wonder that this postcard had to be stretched out a bit; the card is 11 inches wide by 3.5 inches tall (28 cm x 9 cm). I’m not sure I’d want to trust a card like this to the Postal Service. For that matter, I’m not sure that they’d take it.
Before construction, the project was known as the Boulder Dam project based on its original planned location in Boulder Canyon, but this was not the official name of the dam at this time. (The location was moved to a different canyon along the river before construction began.) Naming of important dams is basically up to the Secretary of the Interior and, when construction began in 1930, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur announced that the dam would be named for then-President Herbert Hoover. Not only was it a tradition to name dams like this for the sitting President, but Hoover was himself an engineer and was deeply interested in the project.
Hoover was defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and FDR and his new Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, decided not to name the dam for Hoover — basically a big partisan slap in the face. But after Roosevelt died and Ickes retired, the Congress passed a resolution to restore the name of Hoover Dam, and the resolution was signed into law by President Truman in 1947.
This postcard was produced around 1964. Then, as now, and despite the official name change, the dam is still frequently referred to as Boulder Dam.