The 1930's
Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.72

     challenging words:    high-scalers, dynamite, powerhouse, hydro-electric, undertaking, representative, federal, agreement, spiral, affected, government, power, schedule, series, rate, lower
     content words:    New Mexico, United States, Herbert Hoover, Colorado River Compact, Boulder Dam Project, President Calvin Coolidge, Boulder Canyon, Black Canyon, Boulder City, Colorado River

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Hoover Dam
By Jane Runyon

1     The lands of Nevada, Arizona, parts of California, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming have long been dry and mountainous. In spring and summer, the snows high in the mountains thaw. The water rushes down the mountains into rivers too small to receive the great amounts of water. There is little grass or few trees to stop the flow. Flooding is common. The water doesn't stay around long enough to provide irrigation to plants. As more and more people moved to this western part of the United States, the need for a good supply of water became very apparent.
2     The construction of a dam to contain the water from the mountains seemed to be the perfect answer. Important questions became apparent early on. Just who would be able to claim the water? Which state would control the use of the water? How would it be distributed?
3     A panel was formed in 1922 to discuss these questions. The governor of each affected state was on the panel. There was also a representative from the federal government. The federal representative was Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce. The members of this panel reached an agreement that they felt was fair to all in November of 1924. The agreement was called the Colorado River Compact. This compact split the river into an upper and a lower half. The states in each half would decide how the water would be divided. This agreement led to a decision to build a dam called the Boulder Dam Project.
4     Congress needed to approve funding for this large undertaking. Bills were first submitted to the House of Representatives in late 1922. It was December 1928 before both the House and Senate approved the construction of the dam. President Calvin Coolidge signed the bill. By the time the first federal money was budgeted in 1930, Herbert Hoover had become president.
5     The first plans for a dam had been for construction in Boulder Canyon in Nevada. The plans were changed and the dam was actually built in Black Canyon, but no one bothered to change the name.

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