Hoover Dam is named for Mr. Herbert Hoover, the Nation's
31st President. When construction of the dam was initiated, on September 30,
1930, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur ordered that the dam to be
built in the Black Canyon of the Colorado as part of the Boulder Canyon Project
Act was to be called Hoover Dam. By a Congressional Act of February 14, 1931,
this name was made official.
After Mr. Hoover left office, the names "Boulder Canyon Dam" and "Boulder
Dam" were frequently used when referring to the dam, allegedly because the new
Secretary of the Interior did not like Mr. Hoover. However, the name of the dam
was never officially changed from "Hoover."
In the 80th Congress (1947), a number of bills were introduced to
"officially" restore the name of Hoover Dam.
On March 4, 1947, House Resolution 140 was introduced for this purpose. The
"Herbert Hoover, while Secretary of Commerce in 1922, presided as the
representative of the Federal Government over two score meetings of the
representatives of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah,
and Wyoming for the formulation of the Colorado River Compact. He had a major
part in bringing the States into agreement. This compact, signed November 24,
1922, made construction of the dam possible by allocating the waters of the
river system between the upper and lower Colorado River Basin, settling a
25-year old controversy. The Boulder Canyon Project Act, enacted December 21,
1928, when Mr. Hoover was President-elect, ratified the compact and authorized
construction of a dam in Black Canyon or Boulder Canyon, leaving to the
Secretary of the Interior the choice of sites. It also laid upon him and the
Secretary of the Interior extraordinary responsibilities.
As President, Herbert Hoover took an active part in settling the
engineering problems and location of the dam in Black Canyon; was required by
the Project Act to obtain power and water contracts adequate to assure some
$200,000,000 of revenues before construction was begun; settled the difficult
and controversial questions involved in the allocation of the power, and made
the revenue contracts which Congress required; and proclaimed the Boulder
Canyon Project Act to be in effect on June 25, 1929. This Act ratified the
Colorado River compact, which Mr. Hoover had signed 7 years before, and
subjected all operations of the Boulder Canyon project to that compact. He
subsequently reported to Congress, through Secretary Wilbur, compliance with
its mandate that this project be built on a self-liquidating basis; Congress
made the necessary appropriations (in acts which five times named the dam in
his honor); the construction contracts were signed under his administration,
and when he left office construction had been pushed to a point where it was
more than a year ahead of schedule.
After Mr. Hoover left office, the Interior Department, for reasons that
need not be referred to in detail here, avoided the use of the name "Hoover
Dam" where possible, and used the names"Boulder Canyon Dam" or "Boulder
After hearing testimony relative to the need for clarifying the present
situation with regard to the name of this dam, it is apparent to this
committee that affirmative legislative action by Congress is desirable.
It is particularly timely that this measure honoring Mr. Hoover should come
to the floor of the House at a time when he is completing the second of his
great humanitarian missions for President Truman in the relief of world-wide
The resolution passed the House on March 6, 1947. On April 23, 1947, a
companion resolution was passed by the Senate. And, on April 30, 1947, a
resolution was signed by President Harry S. Truman restoring the structure's
name to Hoover Dam. That resolution reads:
"Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled, That the name of Hoover Dam is
hereby restored to the dam on the Colorado River in Black Canyon constructed
under the authority of the Boulder Canyon Project Act, approved December 21,
1928 (45 Stat.1057), and referred to as Hoover Dam in the Act approved
February 14, 1931 (46 Stat.1146); in the Act approved April 22, 1932 (47 Stat.
118); in the Act approved July 1, 1932 (47 Stat. 535); in the Act approved
July 21, 1932 (47 Stat. 717); and in the Act approved February 17, 1933 (47
Stat. 845). Any law, regulation, document or record of the United States in
which such dam is designated or referred to under the name of Boulder Dam
shall be held to refer to such dam under and by the name of Hoover Dam.
Approved April 30, 1947.
Source - U.S. Department of the Interior - Bureau of Reclamation