Accomplishments and Records

A Family Tradition or a Dam Shame?

Oskar J. W. Hansen’s memorial at the dam which reads in part “They died to make the desert bloom.”

The Hoover Dam, built to tame the mighty Colorado River was an engineering marvel. Built between 1931 and 1935, it became the largest man-made structure on the planet while the world was in the grips of the Great Depression.

There were 112 deaths associated with the construction of the dam. J. G. Tierney was the first victim. He was a surveyor who drowned on December 20, 1922, while looking for an ideal spot for the dam.

The last victim died 13 years later to the very day. His name was Patrick W. Tierney. He was the son of the first victim.


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