Something You’ll Only See Here

This photo is undated, but I think it must be 1957ish. The handwritten caption on the back reads,

“In bottom of canyon upstream from bridge. Concrete form for diversion tunnel shown here. To the bottom left is tunnel (mile plus long) which will connect the power house to top of canyon wall and to Page.”

Here’s the picture – a view I don’t think you’ll see anywhere but here – and one that is long since gone. Check it out. I’ll comment on it below.

52
Photo: A. E. Turner, USBR
Undated
Source: The LeGate Family

There are a couple of things that need pointed out on this photo. The writing I cited above mentions a diversion tunnel and a tunnel that goes to the top of the canyon wall. Those are two different things. The opening mentioned on the left of the picture is the bottom of the tunnel that runs from there to the top of the canyon and comes out behind the old Country Club an golf course. That tunnel is still in use. The lower opening to the tunnel that you see in this picture is now on the downstream side of the dam and comes out near the power house. The next time you’re there, look down and you’ll see it. It’s interesting that the back caption says this tunnel WILL connect the top to the bottom, as it was still under construction at the time of this photo.

The concrete form mentioned in the picture is the round object on the right. There were two diversion tunnels that re-directed the Colorado River water around the dam site during construction. In future posts, I’ll be sharing some pictures with you of construction inside those diversion tunnels, as well as the upper spillways which connected to the diversion tunnels.

Notice the roadway in the center of the bridge and the road protruding out from the canyon on the right side. The present-day visitor’s center is located on the right side of this picture by the road. Also notice the netting that hung off the bottom of the bridge to catch falling workers and material. The cables that spanned the canyon are clearly visible and it looks like there is another roadway support being set at the time of this photo. This view is long gone!

-Mike

A Tunnel Runs Through It

Here’s a couple of great shots of some unidentified workers in random tunnels in the rock around Glen Canyon Dam. The captions below the pictures tell you what was written or stamped on the back. I don’t know what these tunnels were used for, or if they’re still there. Enjoy!

Photo: F. S. Finch, USBR
4/27/1957
Source: The LeGate Family
The back of the photo reads, “Small tunnel in keyway. Used for what I don’t know.”
Photo: A. E. Turner, USBR
1/30/1958
Source: The LeGate Family
The back of this photo simply reads, “Tunnel in Keyway.”

-Mike

Computer Woes

I’ve been having some computer problems, so there won’t be a post today. I normally schedule Monday and Thursday posts in advance, but not this week. I should be able to resume my normal schedule on Monday. Thanks everyone who reads my posts and for your comments.

-Mike

That Was Then; This is Now

I have to confess, I spent a lot of time pouring over this top picture and then I had this brilliant idea to grab a current day photo and compare. Yes, I have moments of brilliance. But they’re short lived.

This post has two photos. The top one was then and the bottom one is now. I’m not going to write between them or below them because I think that will take away from the impact. Everything I want to say about them, I’m going to say here, above the pictures. Then you can do your own comparison after I shut up.

This top picture was taken before time began. That’s an exaggeration, but it’s not too far off. It’s a high altitude photo of the Colorado River at the Glen Canyon Dam site. There is nothing there but a muddy river. The soon-to-be city of Page is outlined in the dotted area. Wahweap creek is visible (and empty) at the bottom right. The beehive is plainly visible, but this was clearly taken before any work on Glen Canyon Dam or the city of Page had begun.

When you’re done with the top photo, look at the “now” picture below it for comparison. I want to thank Dugan Warner for supplying this photo to me so I could share it with you. Enjoy!

-Mike

Page Town Site
Source: Dugan Warner. The photographer is unknown, but this is most likely a USBR photo. It’s undated.
Capture
This is a present day look at the same area.

Highscalers

One of my first posts on this site was of a couple of highscalers belting off before going over the edge of the canyon. Here’s another one for your visual enjoyment! I’ll make a few comments below.

climbers
This photo is undated but is in the late 1950s. The photographer is not identified. Source: Dugan Warner

I don’t have the date this picture was taken, or any information about the photographer, but it was most likely a USBR photo. I can’t imagine who else would have gone over the canyon wall with these guys to get this shot. If you zoom in on this picture, you’ll see that they are using a drill of some kind to bore holes for anchors into the canyon wall. A square end plate was attached to the anchors (if that’s what these holes were for) to strengthen the sandstone wall and help keep it intact.  These could have been something else, but that’s my best guess. They’ve already anchored several that look ready to be finished. Notice the 2 x 12 platforms – one below them and the other nearer the photographer. The photographer’s probably standing on that one.

This picture was taken from the Page side of Glen Canyon, looking downstream. Glen Canyon Dam is behind the photographer. A special thanks goes out to Dugan Warner for getting this picture to me.

-Mike

7th Avenue From The Air

Early Page, looking at 7th Avenue from the north. Source: Unkown

Here’s an aerial shot of Page giving us a good look at 7th Avenue (now Lake Powell BLVD) and some of the early town construction. It’s undated, but 1960-61 is a good guess. I’ve had this photo for a long time and I don’t remember where I got it for sure (maybe Brian Keisling) and I’ve never known who took it or who marked up the different locations. But those are helpful, so let’s run through them.

LPB is Lake Powell BLVD (7th Ave). HAIR was the barber shop. I’m assuming the barber was Hank. Does anybody remember him? The barber shop eventually moved to the plaza near the theatre. That plaza isn’t built yet in this picture. K is the present location of the Circle K and NAV is North Navajo Drive. The unmarked building on the corner above North Navajo was a Gulf gas station. We used to ride our bikes there and fill up gas cans for my friend’s mini bike and our golf cart. The building marked BS isn’t a reference to a crappy building, but is referring to Redd’s Bottle Stop. It’s now the location of Stix Market. BAB is referring to Babbitt’s. First National Bank was also in that building. I’m putting a picture of that building below to give you a better look. LL was the Little League field.  I’m not sure what the M is referring to, but at one point, I’m pretty sure there was an ice skating rink in that location. It may have been the white building. K is a reference to Keisling’s gas station. You can see that Elm Street hasn’t been built yet on the right side of LPB. E is referring to the old Empire House. The last time I was in Page, that had become something else but I don’t remember now what it is. My first job as a teenager was as a busboy at the Empire House and my mom was one of the cashiers there for years. MCS is referring to the MCS apartments. PS is the Pink Sans. FB is the future site of the football field. It looks like it’s not there yet in this picture. The buildings just below FB must be the Manson Mesa pool.  You’ll notice South Navajo isn’t there yet either, but you can see part of the park to the right if the pool.  I think the dark line below the pool and the park is a fence. When I first saw this picture, I thought it was a road that is no longer there. But looking closer, I don’t see a break in the curb along LPB, so I’m pretty sure it was one of the many fences put up all over the place to stop blowing sand. They didn’t work too good. Looking along church row, you can see a few churches springing up, along with the teacher’s apartments on the opposite side of the road.

The picture below is a closer look at Babbitt’s and First National Bank, located in the building in the above picture behind The Bottle Stop (Stix Market).

First National Bank and Babbitt’s were in this building, located behind Stix Market

-Mike

Lower Footbridge

Glen Canyon Dam lower footbridge under construction. 1958? Source unknown.
Glen Canyon Dam lower footbridge under construction. 1958? Source unknown.

Who remembers this? If you take a look at my last post, you’ll see a portion of this footbridge near the bottom of that photo. It spanned the lower part of the canyon at the approximate location of the present-day powerhouse. This picture is taken from the Page side at the bottom of the canyon. The powerhouse tunnel exit is behind the photographer and to his left. This is a good shot of the canyon wall at the spot where the dam now sits.

The footbridge is still under construction on this photo. Either that, or you had to get a running start to make it across. This picture is undated and I don’t remember now where I got it. But due to its quality and the fact that it’s black and white, I’m guessing it’s a USBR photo and that it was taken around 1958. But that’s just my best guess. If anyone can give me more info on the history of this bridge, please do.

-Mike

In Memoriam

The building of Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge wasn’t accomplished without great personal loss by some. I’m posting two photos this time because they are closely tied to one another. Here’s the first:

Photo: A. E. Turner, USBR Source: The LeGate Family
Photo: A. E. Turner, USBR 9/10/1958
Source: The LeGate Family

This photo is dated 9/10/1958. The handwritten caption on the back reads,

“Lower end of diversion tunnel and adit for powerhouse tunnel road. Right above the adit is where the man got killed Aug 11th. Rock ledge 200 feet above adit broke off. Small footbridge across river is at lower left.”

You can clearly see the lower opening to the powerhouse tunnel mentioned in the picture. It’s located at the base of the dam, next to the powerhouse. The lower footbridge mentioned in the caption and visible in the photo was at the approximate location of the powerhouse. My next post will be a better look at that lower footbridge. The powerhouse tunnel runs along the inside of the canyon wall from behind the old Country Club/golf course on top, to this point below. It’s still in use. The adits mentioned in the caption are the smaller horizontal tunnels that intersect the main tunnel at 90 degrees at regular intervals, primarily for ventilation. If you scroll back up to the picture, you’ll see the adit that is mentioned in the caption.

This photo was taken or cataloged one day short of a month following a fatality at this location that occurred on 8/11/1958. The photo caption mentions that a rock ledge broke off above the adit and killed a man. According to the memorial plaque below, the individual’s name was Austin Merritt. He joins 17 others who lost their lives in the Glen Canyon Dam project. All of them are listed here:

This memorial lists the names of the 18 individuals who lost their lives during the construction of Glen Canyon Dam and bridge. Source: Unknown
This memorial lists the names of the 18 individuals who lost their lives during the construction of Glen Canyon Dam and bridge. Source: Wmpearl (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
The above memorial plaque was created by WMPearl in 2011 and is posted on Wikimedia Commons. I don’t know where it physically resides. Click [HERE] to view the source website at Wikimedia.

In the early 1970’s, one of my friends told me that her father was killed during the building of the dam. His name is listed at the top of the middle column, Raymond D White.

UPDATE 5/24/17: Here’s a list of memorials of the names on the plaque compiled by Donna Bloxton Petersen. Thank you Donna for all the time and work you put into this!

-Mike