Hoover Dam

When talks began for a dam over the Colorado River, several key Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce representatives were on hand. Pop Squires and James Cashman, among others, were instrumental in facilitating Las Vegas’ involvement in the Dam’s construction, resulting in a major population and economic jump-start for the area.

In 1931, the city’s population increased to 7,500 in just one year, and the project became a national tourist attraction, bringing over 300,000 tourists to the area in 1934. It also attracted new entrepreneurs, like the Ronzone family, who brought their department stores to the Las Vegas area during the boom of the dam construction days. Las Vegas enjoyed about $70 million in federal spending on the project beginning in 1930, and used the funds --- mostly from New Deal programs --- to pave roads, construct a federal building downtown, improve sanitation, as well as build a new high school and hospital.

When the Dam was dedicated on September 30, 1935, President Roosevelt was in attendance, as well as most of the Las Vegas community and other public officials. During his dedication speech, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes said,

“No better example of understanding, cooperation between man and nature can be found anywhere than this imagination-stirring project, that in grandeur of conception and in skill and speed of execution ranks as one of the greatest engineering undertakings in the history of the world.”

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