Joseph Stevens, Hoover Dam: An American Adventure Discussion Questions:
1.a. Why did the people of Imperial Valley in California want Hoover Dam? 6 b. Why
did the powerful Southern Pacific Railroad also want it? 15 c. What is the danger of silt buildup?16
2. What was Herbert Hoover’s great compromise that broke the western state’s deadlock over the dam? 18
3. Who was warren Bechtel and how did he help young Henry Kaiser? 41
4. Why was Hoover Dam the Most difficult dam in the world to build? 46
5. Was it the dam workers’ physical weakness that caused their frequent illnesses? 60
6. Why were living conditions so bad in the river camps? 62
7. What problems did the Wobblies (International Workers of the World) face in trying to unionize the dam workers? 66-67
8. What were the risks of working in the diversion tunnels? 101
9.a. Why were the “high scalers” needed? b. What were the dangers of their job? 103-104
10. What about river floods from rain storms? 110
11. Why did the Bureau of Reclamation build Boulder City? 121
12.a. Who lived in the dormitories? b. Why did the Bureau want its workers to eat in Boulder City mess-halls? c. Why did the Bureau build workers’ cottages in Boulder City? 126-129
13. How did Boulder City residents stay cool in this era before the widespread use of air conditioners? 136
14.a. how was Boulder City different from the “booming construction camps of the past”? b. What institutions did the government forget to build in Boulder City? 140-141
15. Why were Boulder City residents upset about the lack of business licenses for private wholesale and retail stores? 149
16.a. Why did Six Companies erect a Boulder Highway? b. How did city manager Sims Ely deal with boozers? c. What about family problems?
17. Why were injured dam workers always dragged to the Arizona side of the canyon?
18.a. On election day in 1932 who did Six Companies favor for President of the United States? b. Who did the workers favor? 173
19.a. What changes did the new Secretary of the interior, Harold Ickes bring? 175 b. What about Black dam workers? c. How did the State of Nevada raise taxes off the dam/ 177-178
20. During dam construction, how many railroads were in Hemenway Wash for the gravel-screening plant? 180
21. Why was the dam built in a piecemeal block-by-block approach? 193
22.a. What was the purpose of Frank Lowe’s cableway system? 197 b. What were Joe McGees?
23. How did Six Companies investigators handle the Jack Morman gassing case? 211-213
24. in order to install the pipes that would carry the Colorado River through the dam, why was it necessary to build a steel fabrication factory right at the dam site? 216
25.a. How did workers use their identification badges to get discounts from prostitutes? 225 b. How did the Railroad Pass casino start?
26.a. What Hollywood celebrities came out to see the dam under construction? b. As dam construction wound down, where the workers go? 230
27.a. What was the 8-hour day controversy rally about? 232-233 b. How did Henry Kaiser respond to government charges? 234
28. How did City Manager Sims Ely react to the presence of a union organizer in Boulder City in 1934? 235-236
29.a. How did workers respond to a wage cut by Six Companies in July 1935? b. What was the outcome? 240
30. Where did beloved dam builder Frank Crowe go after Hoover Dam? 253-254