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Why Are There 2 Clocks at the Hoover Dam?

Last Update on April 20, 2024
by Marko Milin
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The Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel that tames the mighty Colorado River and provides power to millions across the Southwest, is also home to a curious sight that often puzzles visitors: two clocks displaying different times. Situated on the intake towers on the Nevada and Arizona sides of the dam, these clocks are not only functional but also symbolic, telling a story of time, geography, and the history of this iconic structure. But why are there 2 clocks at the Hoover Dam, and what significance do they hold?

A Tale of Two Time Zones

The answer lies in the geographical location of the Hoover Dam, straddling the border between Nevada and Arizona. These two states are in different time zones for part of the year due to Arizona's decision not to observe Daylight Saving Time (DST), unlike Nevada and the majority of other U.S. states. As a result, for half the year, when DST is in effect, there is a one-hour time difference between the two sides of the dam. The clocks are set to reflect the current local time in each state, serving as a functional reminder of this unique situation.

Historical and Practical Significance

The presence of two clocks on the Hoover Dam is more than just a quirky feature; it has practical implications for the operation of the dam and the lives of those who work there. The dam itself operates on Pacific Time to maintain consistency in scheduling and communication. However, the time difference can affect workers and tourists who cross from one side of the dam to the other, as well as residents of nearby communities who live and work across state lines.

Moreover, the two clocks serve as a historical marker, reminding visitors of the dam's construction during a time when the concept of time zones was still relatively new and the standardization of time was not as universal as it is today. They symbolize the intersection of human ingenuity with the natural world, highlighting the Hoover Dam's role in harnessing the power of the Colorado River to bring electricity and water to a vast region.

Exploring the Hoover Dam and Its Clocks

For those interested in seeing the two clocks and learning more about the Hoover Dam's fascinating history, engineering, and impact on the American Southwest, taking a guided tour is an excellent option. MaxTour's "Hoover Dam Walk on Top Tour" offers visitors an in-depth exploration of the dam, including insights into its construction, the challenges faced by its builders, and its significance today. Led by knowledgeable guides, the tour provides a comprehensive look at this monumental structure, including the story behind the two clocks.

A Symbol of Unity and Division

The two clocks at the Hoover Dam also symbolize the unity and division created by the dam itself. On one hand, the dam is a unifying force, bringing water and power to a region that spans multiple states. On the other hand, it physically divides Nevada and Arizona, a division made manifest in the differing times displayed on the clocks. This duality reflects the complex relationship between human endeavors and the natural landscape, as well as the compromises and collaborations necessary to undertake such a monumental project.


The two clocks at the Hoover Dam are more than just timepieces; they are symbols of the dam's unique location, the practical realities of its operation, and the broader historical context of its construction. They remind us of the challenges and achievements of those who built the dam and the ongoing importance of the Hoover Dam in the lives of millions. For visitors looking to delve deeper into the story of the Hoover Dam, including the tale of its two clocks, joining a guided tour like MaxTour's "Hoover Dam Walk on Top Tour" offers an enriching experience that brings the history and significance of this iconic structure to life.


Marko Milin

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