Category: Off The Beaten Path

On This Date: September 30, 1935 Hoover Dam Was Dedicated by President FDR

September 30, 2017
Hoover Dam Dedicated by President Roosevelt

Boulder Dam/Hoover Dam Dedicated by President Roosevelt Sept. 30, 1935

Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The cost of the construction was $49 million dollars and was completed two years ahead of schedule. The dam was controversially named after President Herbert Hoover.

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On This Date: July 3, 1930 Appropriation Bill for the Boulder Dam Was Signed

July 3, 2017
hoover dam

Hoover Dam on the Nevada – Arizona Border Built Starting in 1931

On July 3, 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the appropriation bill for the Boulder Dam.  Work started on the dam in 1931 and Las Vegas’ population swelled from around 5,000 citizens to 25,000, with most of the newcomers looking for a job building the dam. The casinos and showgirl theaters first appeared in Las Vegas to entertain the largely male-majority dam construction workers. The name of the dam was later changed from Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam.

Photo By: LasVegas360.com
Date Taken: November 26, 2011

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Stardust International Raceway in Spring Valley, Nevada

June 24, 2017
Stardust International Raceway

Stardust International Raceway

In the 60s, racing circuits popped up all over the United States to fill the high demand for racing entertainment. Before long, more tracks could be built than sustained by the industry many closed the gates and fell into neglect, later being developed into shopping centers and housing developments.

Stardust International Raceway

Stardust International Raceway

The Stardust International Raceway was opened in 1965 in the Spring Valley of Las Vegas, Nevada. The facility included a 3-mile, 13-turn road course and a quarter-mile drag strip. Owned by the Stardust Hotel and Casino, the track was built to attract high rollers to the hotel. When the hotel was sold in 1969, the track was abandoned with drag racing events finally ceasing in 1970. Later, the land was bought by Pardee Homes and the Spring Valley community was built in the track’s place. The area is now know as Spring Valley and with the old track boarding Tropicana Avenue, Rainbow Blvd and Flamingo Road.

Topo map of Spring Valley

1970’s Topo map of Spring Valley showing parts of the Racetrack

Stardust hosted Can-Am races from 1966 through 1968 with John Surtees winning the first two and Denny Hulme taking the last. A Trans-Am race was held in 1967, won by Mark Donohue.

Stardust International Raceway

Stardust International Raceway

Stardust International Raceway

Stardust International Raceway

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On This Date: July 21, 1948 B-29 Superfortress Bomber Crashed into Lake Mead

June 21, 2017
A Modified B-29 (F-13) crashed in to Lake Mead on July 21, 1948

On July 21, 1948 a Boeing B-29 Superfortress (F-13)  crashed in to Lake Mead. The Bomber was modified from a B-29 into a F-13. The "F" meant that it was modified for photo reconnaissance. It was on a special mission to conduct atmospheric research using an instrument called the "Sun Tracker".  Painted on the nose of the plane was the words "Cosmic Ray Research".  The plane operated as high as 30,000 feet down to just about as low as you can fly.

While on mission, the plane was making a very low pass over the Lake Mead surface with what is described, "glass like" when it hit the water.  The plane was traveling at about 250 mph as it crashed and skipping across the surface for over a quarter of a mile.  Five men on-board escaped via life rafts before the plane sank in water over 170 feet deep.  The crew was rescued from the lake six hours later and was instructed not to disclose any details of the flight, its mission or its loss. As the mission was classified, these details were not released until fifty years later.

In 2001, a private dive team searching for the B-29 using side-scan sonar found the wreckage in the northern arm of Lake Mead. Because the bomber lay inside a National Recreation Area, responsibility for the site fell to the National Park Service. Due to the cold deep water, the plane  has been well preserved. Currently the site is off limits to divers.

Photo By: Wikipedia.com – Public Domain

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Day Trip To Clark County Wetlands Park

February 24, 2017
Las Vegas Wetlands Park

Las Vegas Wetlands Park – source: Wikimedia

The Clark Country Wetland Park is a 2900-acre park; the largest in the Clark County area. It is open daily from dusk until dawn, and admission is free. There is a visitor’s center onsite and an exhibition hall. They are open from 9am until 4pm. The Wetlands Park was constructed as a wetland in order to reduce the environmental impact of waste water, but has since become an excellent attraction for a day trip. The atmosphere is relaxing, and there are hundreds of species of plants and birds to be seen. The nature center is also a great resource for education about wildlife and ecology.

The Clark County Wetlands Park is located 20 minutes drive East of Las Vegas, near to the Sam Boyd Stadium. To get there, follow the 515 South, and then turn left onto East Tropicana Avenue. You can find the park at 7050 Wetlands Park Lane, NV89122. If you can pull yourself away from the neon lights and poker tables for a few hours, this trip doesn’t take long, and is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the strip.

Map of Las Vegas

Click to Enlarge – source: maps.google.com

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On This Date: January 27, 1951 First Nuclear Bomb Detonated at Nevada Test Site

January 27, 2017
Able- First Nuclear Test At the Nevada Test Site January 27, 1951

Able- First Nuclear Test At the Nevada Test Site January 27, 1951

The first nuclear bomb was tested at the Nevada Test Site on January 27, 1951. The Nevada Test Site is located 65 mi northwest of Las Vegas. The series of test was called Operation Ranger it was the fourth American nuclear test. The nuke shot was called  ‘Able’ and it was the first air-dropped nuclear device to be exploded on American soil. The test took place on Frenchman Flat, a dry lakebed in the Nevada Test Site (site 5). The .5-kiloton explosion was the first series to be carried out at the Nevada Test Site. The bomb was dropped by B-50 bombers and exploded in the open air over Frenchman Flat (Area 5).

Photo:  Department of Defense

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