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Elwood Mead

Elwood Mead (1858-1936) was the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the era of the development of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, Grand Coulee Dam in Washington and Owyhee Dam in Oregon, among other large water projects.

Before joining the Bureau as commissioner in 1924, he had a varied career, including teaching mathematics at Colorado Agriculture College in the 1880s, holding the position of Wyoming state irrigation engineer in the late 1800s and serving as chief of investigation and drainage irrigation for the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1897-1907.

For eight years, he chaired the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in Victoria, Australia. When he returned stateside, he taught at the University of California and chaired the California Land Settlement Board. He died in office in 1936. Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, was named in his honor. Learn more about Elwood Mead on the Bureau of Reclamation website.

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