President Herbert Hoover

How the Hoover Dam received its name

Initially the surveyors suggested the dam should be built at Boulder Canyon due to the granite rock floor. This brought about the name "Boulder Canyon." Once the dam's height was reviewed it was determined that Black Canyon would be more suitable since the dam would not have to be as high as at Boulder Canyon.

While preparing for the dam's construction, the railroad had to lay track to the dam site. To officially begin the railroad track project, on September 17, 1930, Secretary of the Interior, Ray L. Wilbur, named the dam "Hoover Dam" at the spike driving ceremony. This announcement came as a surprise to reporters.

Then in 1933 the country changed political party representation by voting Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt into office. Early in his term on May 8, 1933 Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior changed the name back to "Boulder Dam."

After 14 years congress felt compelled to pass a joint resolution to change the name back to "Hoover Dam" in honor of the United States 31st president, Herbert Hoover.

(Photo courtesy of United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation - Lower Colorado Region)