Friday, November 16, 2007

Dam it!


We decided on a bit of a walk today to explore the immediate area around Roosevelt Dam. Perfect weather, clear skies and temperature right at 60ยบ made for great walking. Roosevelt Dam is quite an impressive structure. Once the world's tallest masonry dam, it is named after President Theodore Roosevelt, who was instrumental in approval of the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902, and who dedicated the original dam named in his honor in March 1911. Forty one people were killed between the years 1904 and 1911 during construction of this massive project.

Due to fears of flooding, in 1996 a $430 million modification project was completed that raised the height of the dam to 357 feet and expanded the lake's storage capacity by 20 percent, enough for one million more people. This 77-foot increase offers six Valley cities 304,729 new acre-feet of water storage to the dam and, for the first time, provides SRP with substantial amounts of flood control and Safety of Dams storage space. The dam has hydrogeneration capacity of 36,000 kW. (Salt River Project Statistics)

Below is a statement from President Roosevelt given during the dedication ceremony of the opening of Roosevelt Dam

"If there could be any monument which would appeal to any man, surely this is it. You could not have done anything which would have pleased and touched me more than to name this great dam, this reservoir site, after me, and I thank you from my heart for having done so... As soon as it was done (the National Reclamation Act signed into law), ...I said, now I want this work divided fairly... and as Arizona and New Mexico have not any senators or congressmen and as I raised three-fourths of my regiment (Rough Riders) in New Mexico and Arizona, I will take their place, and now I want to see that they get a fair deal."

On March 18, 1911, at 5:48 p.m. Roosevelt pressed a button to allow the release of water from the reservoir. 

Roosevelt Dam forms Roosevelt Lake, with a length of 22.4 miles and a shoreline of 128 miles

Standing alongside Roosevelt Dam this morning, we could almost imagine Teddy Roosevelt as he gave his rousing speech while the crowd roared with excitement. His wonderful legacy lives on today.