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Hoover Dam Quotations
|President Franklin D. Roosevelt, September 30,
1935: "This morning I came, I saw, and I was conquered, as everyone
would be who sees for the first time this great feat of mankind. .
. .Ten years ago the place where we gathered was an unpeopled, forbidding
desert. In the bottom of the gloomy canyon whose precipitous walls
rose to height of more than a thousand feet, flowed a turbulent, dangerous
river. . . . The site of Boulder City was a cactus-covered waste.
And the transformation wrought here in these years is a twentieth
century marvel." "Speech by Roosevelt at the Dedication
of Boulder Dam, September 30, 1935," in Edgar B. Nixon, ed.,
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Conservation, 1911-1945, 2 vols. (New York,
1957), pp. 438-41.
|"We are here to celebrate the completion
of the greatest dam in the world, rising 726 feet above the bedrock
of the river and altering the geography of a whole region: we are
here to see the creation of the largest artificial lake in the world-115
miles long, holding enough water, for example, to cover the whole
State of Connecticut to a depth of ten feet; and we are here to see
nearing completion a power house which will contain the largest generators
and turbines yet installed in this country, machinery that can continuously
supply nearly two million horsepower of electric energy." "Speech
by Roosevelt at the Dedication of Boulder Dam, September 30, 1935,"
in Edgar B. Nixon, ed., Franklin D. Roosevelt and Conservation, 1911-1945,
2 vols. (New York, 1957), pp. 438-41
|"The landscape everywhere, away from the
river, is of rock--cliffs of rock, tables of rock, plateaus of rock,
terraces of rock, crags of rock--ten thousand strangely carved forms.
. . cathedral shaped buttes, towering hundreds or thousands of feet,
cliffs that cannot be scaled, and canyon walls that shrink the river
into insignificance, with vast hollow domes and tall pinnacles and
shafts set on the verge overhead; and all highly colored. . . ."
John Wesley Powell, Exploration of the Colorado River of the West
(1875), p. 206, quoted in Donald Worster, A River Running West: The
Life of John Wesley Powell (New York: Oxford, 2001), pp. 178-9.
|"The creation of huge reservoirs allows some
control over the flow of the river itself. . . . But the [river] is
not just a machine. It is an organic machine. . . . For no matter
how much we have created many of its spaces and altered its behavior,
it is still tied to larger organic cycles beyond our control."
Richard White, The Organic Machine (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995),
|"Salinity, sedimentation, pesticide contamination,
diminishing hopes of replenishment, the dangers of aging, collapsing
dame: all these [are] the hydraulic society's worsening headaches.
. . . [Yet] nostalgia for what has been lost might lead people to
the discovery of new, radically disturbing moral principles, in this
case the idea that pristine nature in the West has its own intrinsic
value, one that humans ought to understand and learn to respect."
Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire (New York; Oxford, 1985), pp. 324-25.