A Bridge Under Construction

Source: The LeGate Family, 1961
Source: The LeGate Family, 1961

This is a great shot of the bridge. I was looking closely at the detail in it (the resolution on some of these early black & white photos is amazing) and noticed quite a few things. Click on the picture to open it up and then zoom in. Here’s what I noticed:

First, it looks like it was taken from the old visitor lookout on the Page side of the canyon. Do you remember that spot? It’s still there but blocked off. It provided a great view of the dam and bridge from just downstream of it. There was a parking lot and a short trail down to the lookout. You can still see it on Google Earth. Back to the picture. This is looking upstream. Notice that on top of the bridge, construction is still going on while visitors are allowed to be there. I don’t think anyone would get away with that today. You can see the footbridge in the background. This also provides a good shot of the dirt coffer dam that was built to divert water (via the diversion tunnels) around the dam site during that early construction. Notice too, the first few levels of the dam that have been poured. The penstocks are visible, angling out of the top of each level. Look how small the people are standing on the dam. Notice too, the wooden walkways and stairs between each section. Those were constantly being moved as the dam went up. I remember standing on the bridge so many times, watching these same things going on below.

Did you notice the ladders at the top of the bridge? Do you see the cables tied to the handrails by the ladders? Follow them down to the horizontal cross brace and you’ll see two workers (one on each end of the brace) working to secure the cross brace to the main structure. You can see the cable from the crane on top between the two workers at the top. It looks like the crane is holding that cross brace in place while it’s being attached. You’ll notice the cross braces on the other side of the bridge are already in place, but the one to the left of the one they’re installing is yet to be added.

Enjoy!

-Mike

December Break

Hey all, I’m taking a break from blogging for the month of December and I’ll pick back up again in January. I want to leave you with a Christmas picture of early Page. Check it out…

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Photo: A. E. Turner, USBR
12/16/1961
Source: The LeGate Family

There isn’t anything written on the back of this picture except the name of the photographer and the date. I don’t know who that was dressed up as Santa. At first, I thought this was in the school gymnasium, which would have been new that year. But the more I look at it, I think it was somewhere else. That door in the background has a big window in it and the doors to the gym weren’t like that, at least not that I remember. I also thought at first that those were bleachers along the back wall, but I think it’s only a bench of some sort. Does anyone know what building this was in? There are two faces that I recognize, but I don’t have names to go with them.

How about you? Do you see any familiar faces in this shot? If so, let me know.

Enjoy your holidays and I will “see” you next year!

-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

Page Market

Page Market 1961
Page Market, 1961
Source: Unknown

Roueche’s Page Market stood adjacent to the Page Post Office in the plaza on the north side of Elm Street. I believe the post office is still there. In this photo, the post office is just off the picture to the right. These were adjacent businesses in one continuous building. Page Market was the only competition in town at the time to Babbitt’s Thriftway. Since the closing of Page Market (I don’t remember what year that was), several other businesses have occupied this space, but the one I remember most was Yellow Front/Checker Auto. I’m not sure what’s there now.

When I was a little tyke, probably about the time of this photo, I remember being in Page Market during a torrential rainstorm with my mom. We were at one of the checkout counters when the wall between Page Market and the post office moved a little and water started pouring in the Page Market side from the top of the wall. I remember my mom picking me up and putting me on the counter. I don’t remember what happened next, but I’m still alive so I guess it had a happy ending, at least for me. Oh, and several years later I found a $20 bill just outside the other set of doors that were around the corner to the left of this picture. If that was yours, so sorry. But finders-keepers.  I also remember that crowded bulletin board. It was Page’s early version of Craig’s List.

-Mike

This is a Dam Site

GCD 1961
Glen Canyon Dam 1961.

This shot was taken from an old Page High School yearbook and is a downstream look at Glen Canyon Dam in 1961. My apologies for the page crease down the middle. Pretend it’s not there.

It looks like the footbridge is still there. If you enlarge this picture and look close, you can see the posts on either side of the canyon and each end of the bridge. You can also see the shadow it’s casting on the canyon floor just upstream of the dirt dam that’s diverting the river water.

The original visitor’s center is to the left of the bridge on US 89. That building was later moved into town and became the LARC Center, located next to the football field at the corner of South Navajo Drive and 7th Avenue (now Lake Powell Blvd).

The town of Page is clearly visible in the upper left of the picture. The golf course and Country Club can be seen near the top right of the picture, on the far end of the canyon. The small body of water on top of the canyon next to the golf course was the old waste water treatment pond. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I don’t remember what the large building on the left was, next to the highway. I remember it being there, but I don’t remember what it was. If you can add more info about it, please comment below. The “Add a Page to your Trip” road sign that I mentioned in my first post was located on the highway turnoff to Page at the upper left of this picture.

I remember this stage of the dam construction well. It seems like we ended up out there almost every day, watching the construction progress. At night, there was a flashing “Cocktails” sign on the rim of the town that belonged to a bar on Vista Avenue. I was too young to go bar hopping, but I remember that sign well.

-Mike

Pink Sans Drive-In

Pink Sands Drive-in, 1961
Pink Sans Drive-in, 1961

I wish this picture was bigger. When I try to enlarge it, it gets blurry. This is the Pink Sans Drive-in circa 1961. It was (and still is) located on 7th Avenue (now Lake Powell BLVD) across from the park. More precisely, it was located across the street from the pool at the park. Yes, there used to be a good sized town pool at the corner of South Navajo Drive and 7th Avenue. I spent many summer days there.

This is the way I remember the Pink Sans looking. It was all outside, covered seating with picnic style tables. Just to the right of this picture was the Chevron gas station and on the other side (in the direction the camera is pointing) was the old Sportsman’s Headquarters. It eventually became a laundromat and after that, who knows. I don’t know what’s there today.

The Pink Sans was like Al’s Diner on Happy Days. It was the place to hang out, so we did. I remember watching occasional high school drag races down 7th Avenue. The Pink Sans was the starting line for those races and it seems like First National Bank, on the corner of Elm and 7th Avenue, was the finish line. There were no traffic signals back then, and evidently, not much traffic either! I’m not sure where the police (they were called Rangers back then) were, but I don’t remember ever seeing any when someone decided to race.

When I hit high school, we usually walked to the Pink Sans to grab a deep fried burrito from Sue, who always seemed to be working there at lunch, followed by some kind of Hostess treat for 13 cents at the Sportsman’s Headquarters next door. Ah the good ‘ole days!

-Mike

New School Buildings

phs-date-street-1961-62
Page Schools 1960-61
Source: Unknown

This aerial shot from 1960 or 61 shows the newly completed school buildings along South Navajo Drive at the intersections of Date Street and 5th Avenue. You can see a few church buildings springing up on church row at the top of the picture. Originally, that was called 7th Avenue but was renamed to Lake Powell Blvd a number of years ago. The teacher’s apartments are the long buildings on this side of 7th avenue. They’re no longer there. I guess someone thought it would be a good idea to round up all of the teachers and keep them in one spot for easy handling. Probably not a bad idea. Ha!

Ok, back to the picture. The oval shaped area on the left side of the picture is the football field and track. The bleachers are the small strip next to the field. I have a cool ground shot of the field and scoreboard that I’ll be posting soon. The area behind the bleachers was little more than a big sand pit used for football practice. I remember running wind sprints in full pads in that sand that seemed to be 4 feet deep. I get winded just thinking about it now.

I don’t know how these buildings are referred to now, but they were originally labeled by letter. The larger building on the left was A Building. The small one next to it was B Building (I know, pretty creative!). Both of these building housed the high school. The large building in the middle was the Gym (C Building) and the long one near the bottom was D Building. D Building was home to the junior high-ers and I think down to 3rd or 4th grade originally. I was in D Building when President Kennedy was shot. I was in 3rd grade, so it must have gone that low. What’s not shown in this picture is the old X and Y buildings that housed the 1st and 2nd grades for a few years. Those were to the right of this picture along 7th Avenue across from the Catholic Church. X and Y Buildings were long, temporary, wooden buildings where I started 1st grade. At the bottom of D Building, you’ll see a small fenced-in concrete slab that was called the playpen. We spent recesses out there playing anything we could play with a ball.

If I remember right, the square area just above the gym was blacktop. There must have been basketball posts there, but my memory of it is pretty sketchy. Cedar Street is just off the picture on the bottom left corner. Those two houses there are facing Cedar Street. We lived in the 2nd or 3rd house from Date Street on the north side of Cedar Street for a time. I remember listening to Beatles 45 records in the front yard.

It looks like there is still some construction going on with the Bureau homes in this picture, at least in the back yards and easement. The sand was always horrible during windy days and getting it under control seemed to be a constant battle. Check out the row of small trees there were planted in the front yards along South Navajo.

Does anyone else remember the school crossing guards that worked that corner of Date and South Navajo? They were older school kids who got to wear uniforms and carry big flags. When we got to the corner and needed to cross, they would lower those big flags to a 45 degree angle and walk out ahead of us to stop traffic (one on each side of Navajo Drive). I remember thinking how cool that was I wanted so bad to become a crossing guard. I wish I had a picture of them to show you.

For comparison, here’s an aerial view of the same spot today:

-Mike

2013 aerial

Green Thumb Nursery

60-green-thumb-nursery
Green Thumb Nursery, circa 1961
Source: Unknown

Does this building look familiar to my Page friends? It’s the old Green Thumb Nursery and the building that housed it was (is) located at 810 N. Navajo Drive. I don’t remember who owned it or who ran it, but I do remember peering in those windows a lot. If you can help add some background to this, please jump into the conversation and let me know.

This building eventually housed a fix-it/small appliance shop that always reminded me of Emmit’s Fix-it shop from the old Andy Griffith show. I don’t remember the name of that business but it may have been run by the Dolands. That sticks in my mind for some reason. Maybe Mrs. Doland just worked there, but I seem to remember her in there a lot. They also owned/ran the movie theater and Doland’s Curios Shop, which was located a couple of doors down from the theater. But I digress…

It seems like it sat closed for quite a while, but it eventually became Bella Napoli Italian Restaurant. No wonder I always liked their salads! Today, I think it’s called Bonkers. By the way, is that a Buick sticking its nose in the left side of this picture? It might be. Our family had one with that body style. If that’s a Buick, I’m not saying it was ours, but it could have been. Just sayin’. I’d sure take that pickup in a heartbeat though. And that VW bus would look real good in my garage!

Speaking of VW busses, here’s a shot of yours truly in 1974 filling up my bus at Specht’s gas station and car wash. This was located next door the Green Thumb Nursery building, across the street from what would one day be Stromboli’s. I don’t think Specht’s is there anymore, but if I’m wrong, let me know.

-Mike

Yours Truly with my VW bus in 1974. Photo: Susan Adams
Yours Truly with my VW bus in 1974. Photo: Susan Adams