Roosevelt Dam, on Arizona's Salt
River (Rio Salado), is shown here during its renovation in 1994. This view is
from the Apache Trail (SR88).
Construction on the dam began in 1903, intending to provide a means of
storing water for the Salt River Project, and for flood control through the river's
valley. Farther downstream, this river runs through Apache Junction, Mesa, Phoenix,
and other cities in the Valley of the Sun.
Geology has played an especially significant role in the dam's genesis. Large
stone blocks, quarried from the Precambrian Mescal Limestone nearby, form the
core of the structure.
Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911, and at that time, it was the world's largest
masonry dam -- 280 feet (84 meters) high, and 723 feet (216 meters) long at the top.
The reservoir behind it, Roosevelt Lake, was then
the world's largest artificial reservoir. It was originally called "Salt River
Dam Number 1", and not named after President Theodore Roosevelt until 1959.
The renovation project was begun in 1989. Eventually, the dam's exterior was
resurfaced with concrete and its height raised 77 feet (23 meters) to 357 feet (107
meters). This then increased the storage capacity of Roosevelt Lake by around 20%.
The remodeling job was finished in 1996.
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