Did you know…?
The builders of the Hoover Dam owe a huge debt to acrobats.
The most spectacular—and dangerous—job on the Hoover Dam project belonged to a group of men called the high scalers. It was their job to strip the canyon wall of all of the loose rock caused by the wind, water, and extreme temperatures. The loose rock posed a threat to all of the men working on the dam’s foundation in the riverbed a thousand feet below. The job entailed being lowered over the canyon rim in bosun’s chairs—rectangular 2’ × 1’ wide—and then rappelling from the chair down the cliff to the worker’s station. Getting back up was even worse: the worker had to climb hand-over-hand up the hundreds of feet of cliff. On top of that, they had to work with 44-pound jackhammers.
High scaling was not a job for the weak, uncoordinated, or faint of heart; they needed strong men who wouldn’t be afraid of dangling in midair, hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. So they hired sailors, acrobats, and circus performers for the job. The job wasn’t all strenuous work, though; occasionally, when the foremen weren’t looking, the acrobats and circus performers would do stunts for the workers below.
Did you also know…?
- To the west of Bermuda is an ocean with no shoreline.
- There is a place in Japan that is hell on earth—actually, nine hells.
- The name of the San Diego Wild Animal Park’s monorail, Wgasa, is actually an acronym—and not a very clean one.
- Georgia, the 13th colony, was founded to house British debtors.
- The state of Wyoming is named after a place in Pennsylvania.
- Elvis did not name his now famous mansion.
- Disneyland’s Matterhorn ride has a secret place built into it.
- Chicago’s nickname, “The Windy City,” has nothing to do with weather.
- Because of a Virginia law, the Pentagon has twice as many bathrooms than was originally planned.
- Mexico City is sinking.
- London’s Big Ben is not a clock.
- Minnesota is not only the land of 10,000 lakes, it is the land of 10,000 “firsts.”
- The builders of the Hoover Dam owe a huge debt to acrobats.
- Zanesville, Ohio, has the most confusing bridge in the United States.
- In Japan there is a ceremonial festival dedicated to broken needles.
- The Canary Islands are named for dog worshippers.
- There is a Stonehenge in the United States.