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A friend e-mailed to ask me if, on my recent trip with Thomas to Las Vegas, I took my son to see Boulder Dam.  I wrote back to report that Karol and I took him to see that impressive structure back in 2006.

But in my reply I referred to it as “Hoover Dam.”  My understanding is that it was called “Boulder Dam” for a while because FDR (and/or his Interior secretary, Harold Ickes) didn’t want to give his presidential predecessor the glory of having such a monumental public-works project bear the name “Hoover.”  I then realized that, on this issue, I agree with FDR: better to name the dam “Boulder” than “Hoover.”  My reason is that boulders are far more laudable and productive creatures than are politicians.