Over 37 years ago I toured the Hoover Dam for the first time, and I just went back again, for the same reason: to get away from Las Vegas. I'm not a big fan. It is a very interesting contrast to hear of the cost of building the dam vs. the cost of yet another mega casino (casinos cost more) and compare the benefits (the dam wins hands down.)
The view downstream has changed since 1977. To cross the river into Arizona you used to have to actually drive down a winding road, drive over the top of the dam and then back up another narrow, winding road. In 2010 they built an amazingly high arch bridge over the river and now those fleeing Las Vegas zip across 800 feet above the Colorado River.
The one thing that hasn't changed a bit is the tour, though there is now a new visitors center. The movie they have you watch looks identical and the tour people make the same jokes. The electrical generators are still just as enormous (over 600 tons each) and just as impressive and made me think:
Engineers of the 1930's invented and built things like the Hoover Dam and we got flood control, irrigation and electrical power that reached millions of people.
Engineers of the 1960s developed rockets that reached the moon and we at least got Tang.
Engineers of the 1990s developed the PC, the Internet and social media and we got viruses, phishing attacks and identity theft.
When you look upstream of the dam you see Lake Mead, with a very visible "bathtub ring" showing how low the water level is, due to long term drought in the Southwest. They do point out that the top level has only been reached twice: immediately after the dam was finished and they tested the spillways to see if they would really work; and in 1983 when record flooding caused those spillways to be userd for real, preventing water flowing over the top of the dam. But, the level has dropped something like 40 feet over the past 20 years - not good.
A more recreational view of Lake Mead, also showing that bathtub ring effect. From here it is about a 30 mile drive back to Lost Wages.