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.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Tour

Touring the Hoover Dam is a bittersweet experience. It is for one a tourist destination, aka trap. So many visitors to one site, the air is full of "I gotta have something to remind me where I've been," yet the gift store had only a few books on the subject, with a lot of stuff made in foreign countries, which belies the fact that the Hoover Dam supposedly is an icon of American ingenuity...don't get me started. Anyway, with the trapping is also a sense of wonder and awe, as in "can you believe what it took to build this dam?" mixed with all the dam jokes you can dam feet hurt, when will this dam tour start, I've never seen such dam tourists...

Meanwhile, crossing the dam by way of being inside the dam is an experience which is a bit heady, considering the location is seven hundred feet above bedrock--an unusual location and half-freaky if you are claustrophobic. Nevertheless, this interior "space" gives the dam's exterior another face, the way one might understand how a clock works by being inside of it.

Often the best part of the tour are the comments by the tour guides. For instance, today a guide suggested that the actual dam was an amazing feat to build, but he believed tunneling the four diversion tunnels were equally impressive, considering safety standards at the time and the fact that each tunnel is almost a mile in length--what with blasting dynamite and racing to get out before the blasts occured...

Anyway, this is exactly why a story on the men who built the dam needs telling, and not just building the dam, but those who worked inside those diversion tunnels. Just like being inside the dam walls, the story of the workers themselves tells how the dam was built.