The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Here’s proof:
The photo above was taken from the west side of the canyon. Behind the photographer was a circular parking lot built around a small sandstone hill. The next photo shows the parking lot and the photo below it is an image I took today using Google Earth that shows the remnants of the circular parking area as it appears today. This temporary foot bridge spanned Glen Canyon and was located just upstream of Glen Canyon Dam.
Here’s the image I captured this morning on Google Earth showing how the parking area appears today.
I’ve written other posts about the upper footbridge. To see them all, type “footbridge” in the search box at the top of the page.
There’s a lot of good detail in this photo.It’s a good look at both spillways and the temporary coffer dam at the bottom of the picture. The concrete batch plant is visible on the canyon edge to the right. Water is visible exiting the right diversion tunnel, but not the left. The left diversion tunnel inlet was about 33 feet higher than the right tunnel inlet and was intended to be used only during high river flows. The parking lot for the lookout point is visible on the left, just above the bridge. The rectangular building along the highway on the left side of the bridge was the original visitor’s center. It was later moved into town and became the LARC center. I don’t remember what that acronym means. The rail-mounted cranes are visible on either side of the canyon. There was a 25-ton and a 50-ton crane on each side. In addition to transporting buckets of concrete to the dam, these cranes were used to transport people and equipment in and out of the dam site. Near the bottom right corner of the picture, you can see the tower structure holding the footbridge, and the footbridge is visible too. The dark area by that tower, that curves around the sandstone knoll, was the road/parking lot for the footbridge. You can still see the remnants of that road on Google Earth. Go take a look.
As a bonus, here’s a penciled version of this same picture that I had done because I think it looks cool…
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.
Welcome to my site. Here’s a sample of what awaits you inside. If the slideshow doesn’t automatically start, click on the photo to open it. This post will remain at the top of the page for a while. Enjoy your stay!
I love the detail in these old USBR photos, assuming this is one of them. If you zoom in on them, you can see some pretty cool stuff. This one is no exception. It gives us a good downstream look at the temporary coffer dam. You are looking upstream toward what would eventually become Lake Powell. The coffer dam was built to divert the Colorado River water into the two spillway tunnels that routed the water through the canyon walls to the downstream side of the dam site. The right side tunnel (the Visitor Center side) was the primary tunnel and it handled most of the diversion water. I’ll make a few more comments below the picture.
The excavation going on in this picture is prep work for laying the base of the dam. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that the base concrete for Glen Canyon Dam was poured 135 feet below bedrock. This picture captures that excavation. Some of the dirt and rock that was Continue reading “Below The Coffer Dam”→
This is a longer post than most of my others and there are several pictures. Make sure you see them all. Before and during the construction of Glen Canyon Bridge, the footbridge served as a means for foot traffic (and evidently, at least one VW Beetle) to get from one side of the canyon to the other. The footbridge was located a short distance upstream from the dam – far enough upstream to not interfere with the construction. It’s visible in several of the photos I’ve posted and I’ve mentioned it a few times in different posts. This post is solely about the upper footbridge and there are several pictures.
I don’t know the source of this first picture below or the date, but it’s a great shot of the bridge that gives you a good idea of the size and scope. This bridge was completed in 60 days.
That’s a sweet picture isn’t it. That was no small task for something that would be temporary. There’s a big part of me that wishes it was still there. Here’s another view from ground level that shows some of the Continue reading “The Upper Footbridge”→
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.
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:
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:
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!