Historic Timeline

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1936 – America’s largest reservoir was created with the completion of the Hoover Dam. The lake and surrounding area was named Boulder Dam Recreation Area. The dam was built from 1931-1936 and was officially dedicated Sept. 30, 1935.

1938 – The last citizen of the town of St. Thomas rowed away from his home after the waters of Lake Mead overcame the community.

1947 – Boulder Dam Recreation Area is renamed Lake Mead National Recreation Area after former commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Dr. Elwood Mead. The area that would become Lake Mohave, following the construction of the Davis Dam, was added to the recreation area.

1948 – A B-29 Superfortress engaged in high altitude atmospheric research crashed into the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. The crew of five survived the crash, but the plane was lost in the depths of the lake. Local divers found the plane in 2001.

1952 – The Davis Dam, which created Lake Mohave was constructed from 1942-1950. It was officially dedicated Dec. 10, 1952.

1964 – Public Law 88-639 established Lake Mead National Recreation Area under the sole jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
Timeline Images

Lake Mead Water Level Timeline

The water levels at Lake Mead have visibly fluctuated over the years. Despite the fluctuations, the lake is still one of the largest reservoir in the United States with depths surpassing 300 feet. It is the sixth most visited unit of the National Park System and the premier inland water recreation area in the west.

February 1935 Lake begins to fill to 708.70 feet
July 1941
Lake Mead reaches 1220.40 feet
March 1956
Lake Mead drops to 1083.57 feet
July 1983
Lake Mead reaches 1225.44 feet (highest point)
June 2015
Lake Mead reaches new low at 1074.71 feet
June 2017
Projected to be 1062.51 feet

View full timeline at: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/mead-elv.html

View projections at: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/24mo.pdf

Last updated: July 16, 2020

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