by Mark Bergmann
To think that the engineering marvel, the Hoover Dam, was constructed in the 1930s, is astonishing. Just looking at the huge dam is an amazing experience, but to get the full impact you should take a tour or at least visit the on-site museum. I thought it incredible that when construction started in 1931, engineers estimated it would take 100 years for the concrete to cure. Someone decided to put cooling pipes inside the concrete as it was poured, which sped up the curing process into weeks instead of decades.
There are many discrepancies about the death toll during the building of the dam. Our guide told us there were not as many deaths as most people believe. She said only one person died during actual construction when scaffolding collapsed and the worker fell into wet concrete. But many workers died at the hospital and at home, with the official cause of death listed as pneumonia. Many believe that the real cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning at the work site, but the company claimed pneumonia in order to avoid paying health claims.
The most amazing fact– the last person to die was the son of the first person to die.
I could go on but this picture could be how you are feeling reading this about now.