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Hoover Dam

             For citizens by the tumultious effects of the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam project provided two essentials that were in short supply: work and housing. At the project's start those who were lucky enough to be hired on as laborers were forced to hunker down, families and all, in a dry and barren spot called Ragtown. In 1928, congress passed the Boulder Canyon Project Act, which authorized construction of what was originally called "Boulder Dam," now known as "Hoover Dam." Boulder Dam or Hoover Dam's construction began in 1931, with the last concrete poured in 1935. With the remote location of the Dam, and difficult working conditions, the government's contractor was hired. The contractors were called "Six Companies, Inc." (Six large American contractors merged to form this large company.) Construction and engineering interests were eager to leave their stamp upon the finished product. They were weary, though, of the five-million dollar performance bond the government was demanding from whomever was awarded the contract. That staggering amount seemed to pose a financial risk beyond the means of any one construction company. The coming together of what became Six Companies is a story of the melding of ambitions of maverick individuals, each driven by a desire to transform the emerging West. Each of them knew that success of this project would allow them to step out of from the shadow of Eastern financiers and industrialists. The idea to form one company out of a union of various construction and engineering firms came from Harry Morrison of the Morrison-Knudsen construction firm of Boise, Idaho. Morrison had forged a profitable working relationship with Utah Construction and decided they, too, should be in on the Black Canyon, as it was called at the time, project. Once the players were in place and the requisite performance bond funds were available, all attention turned to the submission of a winning bid.

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