The Story of Boulder Dam
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1540Alarcon discovers and explores the lower Colorado River.
1542Cardenas discovers the Grand Canyon.
1776Escalante explores the upper Colorado River and its tributaries.
1857Lt. J. C. Ives navigates the river from its mouth to Vegas Wash.
1869Maj. John Wesley Powell makes the first trip through the Grand Canyon.
1902President Theodore Roosevelt signs the Reclamation Act.
1902-1918Reclamation engineers make investigations and reports on control and utilization of the Colorado.
1918Arthur P. Davis, Reclamation Director and Chief Engineer, conceives control of the Colorado by a dam of unprecedented height in Boulder Canyon.
1922The seven Southwestern States initial the Colorado River Compact, Santa Fe, N. Mex., November 24.
1924Bureau of Reclamation recommends construction of the Boulder Canyon project in its report on Colorado River.
1928The Colorado River Board reports favorably on the feasibility of the project.

The Boulder Canyon Project Act, introduced by Senator Johnson and Representative Swing, passes the Senate on December 14, the House December 18, and is signed by the President on December 21.
1929The Boulder Canyon Project Act declared effective June 25.
1930Contracts completed for sale of all electric energy from the project.

Breaking ground on Government railroad September 17 inaugurates construction of the Boulder Canyon project.
1931Bureau of Reclamation opens bids for construction of Boulder Dam and powerhouse March 4 and awards contract to Six Companies, Inc., which starts work March 11.
1932The engineers divert the river, November 14.
1933First concrete placed in dam June 6.
1935Boulder Dam starts to impound water in Lake Mead February 1. Last concrete placed in dam May 29.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the dam September 30.
1936First generator goes into full operation October 22. Second generator goes into operation November 14. Third generator goes into operation December 28.
1937Two more generators go into operation March 18 and August 16.
1938Storage reaches 24,000,000 acre-feet, and Lake Mead stretches 115 miles upstream.

Two more generators go into operation, June 26 and August 31; total, 7.
1939Storage reaches 25,000,000 acre-feet, more than 8,000 billion gallons.

Two more generators, June 19 and September 12; total, 9. Installed capacity reaches 700,000 kilowatts, making Boulder's hydro-electric power plant the largest in the world.
1940Three more generators ordered.

All-American Canal placed in operation.

Metropolitan Water District's Colorado River aqueduct successfully tested.

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Last Updated: 01-Feb-2008