President Calvin Coolidge Signs The Boulder Canyon Project Act

On December 21, 1928, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Boulder Canyon Project Act intended to dam the fourteen hundred mile Colorado River and distribute its water for use in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Hoover Dam, considered a wonder of civil engineering, was constructed in Black Canyon, on the Arizona-Nevada border. Often referred to as Boulder Dam, the site was officially named after Herbert Hoover, an engineer actively engaged in the dam's development and distribution of its water rights, and president-elect on this day in 1928.

In 1869, Civil War-veteran Major. John Wesley Powell was the first person on record to travel the length of the Colorado River. As head of the U.S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, Powell was also one of the first to describe the Southwest's geography in his work Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States.

The first attempt to gain Congressional approval for construction of Boulder Dam came in 1922 with the introduction of two bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bills were introduced by Congressman Phil D. Swing and Senator Hiram W. Johnson and were known as the Swing-Johnson bills. The bills failed to come up for a vote and were subsequently reintroduced several times. In December 1928, both the House and the Senate finally approved the bill and sent it to the President for approval. On December 21, 1928, President Calvin Coolidge signed the bill approving the Boulder Canyon Project. The initial appropriation for construction was made in July 1930, by which time Herbert Hoover had become President.

I went to California in 1906, and worked for the CLM Cattle Company. The cattle men in that country dreaded the overflows from the Colorado River, caused by the melting of snow in the mountains and spring rains. Sometimes when the cattle were caught in those overflows we'd have to go out in boats and pull 'em out. It was certainly mean work. It was very brushy too. We always carried our branding ring with us, and if we ran across an unbranded calf we'd brand him on the spot.”

— "M. C. Manuel," Annie McAulay