Building the Dam Story

At the end, if there is success, one wonders how. Through this wonder one discovers the story. This blog is dedicated to that discovery.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dangerous dam work

Standing against the rail looking down into the concrete of the Hoover Dam reminds me of the dangerous, wearisome, death-defying jobs that were required to get this dam built. The first job was the drilling of the four diversion tunnels so the river could be diverted. Since this job on the dam began late spring, by mid summer the men were inside 116 degree tunnels on big rigs to carry in the Hercules or dynamite.
The extent these men went to do this work offers an interesting perspective. The men made no more than four dollars a day yet nearly killed themselves to outperform each other, believing it so worthwhile, so "important." Of course it was important to manage the river, the Colorado, for the sake of future development.
Yet, even today we see people taking on jobs that they must be prepared to lose their lives at. I wonder if it is in our DNA to not just work hard but for some of us to work dangerous.
Men are quoted saying that building the Hoover Dam was the best time in their lives, not because they were fed well or had money in their pocket, but for the camaraderie. Perhaps a dangerous job enables feelings of empowerment, makes us work harder, offering a kind of ennobling of our spirit.