Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication

The dedication ceremony of Glen Canyon Bridge took place on Friday, February 20, 1959. My understanding of that event (we moved there shortly after the bridge was dedicated) is that the ribbon-cutting was actually a chain-cutting using a cutting torch and once the chains were cut, the crowds quickly moved onto the bridge to take a look below at the beginnings of Glen Canyon Dam. The pictures below capture some of that day. If you were there, I’d love to hear your story in the comments. Enjoy!

Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication, 1959. Source: Terry Edwards. USBR photo.

The photo above is taken from above the beehive, looking back toward Page. If you click on the picture you’ll be able to zoom in and see the detail. Look at the number of cars parked on the Page side of the bridge and the line of cars still arriving on US89 in the distance. You can also see the original visitor’s lookout near the top of the canyon wall on the Page side of the canyon.

Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication, 1959. Source: Terry Edwards. USBR photo.

The photo above is a look from the Page side of the bridge. Check out the ambulance, the ’57 Chevy, and the old busses. The ambulance is visible in the first picture above by zooming into it.

Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication, 1959. Source: USBR.

Click on the above photo and look at the detail. The parking lot on the right was for visitors and there was a walking path down to the lookout point that I mentioned in the first picture, also clearly visible in this photo. The buses in the previous photo are visible in this one, to the right of the bridge. The first visitor center would eventually be placed on US89 between where those busses are parked and the end of the bridge. Looking in the canyon, the ledge has been cut in the canyon wall for the concrete batch plant but it’s not there yet. You can also see the keyways are cut for where the dam would be anchored to the canyon walls. The lower footbridge is visible near the bottom of the photo and the upper footbridge can

A still from the TV series, Route 66: Layout at Glen Canyon, 1960.

be seen in the background. No dam yet, but it’s on its way. You can see water flowing through the right diversion tunnel. Right and left seem relative, but in previous photos, right and left are usually referenced from the upstream side of the dam. If you watched the episode of Route 66 that I’ve talked about in previous posts, the small photo to the left is from a scene filmed just above the diversion tunnel outlet that was filmed about a year after the dam dedication. That episode is worth watching for the historical value. The scene at the spillway shows the force of the water through the tunnel and the construction sounds of the dam will never be repeated.

Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication, 1959. Source: USBR.

The above photo is like the “Where’s Waldo” of bridge dedications. Are you in this picture, or do you recognize someone who is? If so, please leave a comment and let me know.

Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication, 1959. Source: Donna Bloxton Petersen

The photo above was sent to me by Donna Bloxton Petersen with this caption, “Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication or First Bucket of Concrete for GC Dam when Paul Fannin was Governor – by Donna Burgess Kielland” I’m going with the bridge dedication since there is only one crane tower built and it may not be completely built (two more were built on that side of the canyon). Those three cranes were used in conjunction with the three on the opposite side of the canyon to lower the concrete buckets (and other things) into the lower canyon.

Source: Page Signal dated February 4, 1959.

 

Glen Canyon Bridge Dedication, 1959. Source: USBR.

Until next time… Enjoy and share!

Mike

New Episode on Mike’s Dam Podcast

Hey friends, I published a new episode on the podcast today. Check it out when you get time.

Episode 2: Introduction

Enjoy!

Country Club Living

This picture is undated and I don’t remember where I got it. I’m guessing it’s 1962-ish, based on the height of the dam and the fact it’s not visible yet. It gets pretty grainy when you zoom in, so I can’t make out any of the faces. But I think the guy in the white shirt standing in the back on the left could be Royce Knight. Just a guess. How about you? Do you recognize anyone? Check out the chaise lounge chairs. And that poor tree needs to be staked before the Page winds rip it out of the ground! Enjoy!

 

A Few More Kicks on Route 66

Back in 2013, I posted a blog about an episode of the old TV series, Route 66, being filmed in Page. You can see that post >HERE<. If Route 66 was before your time, it was a show about two guys – Tod (with one “d”) and Buz (with one “z”) – driving the old Route 66 in a cool Corvette Stingray and doing stuff. You may know Route 66 as Interstate 40. Season One, Episode Nine of Route 66 was filmed in Page and at the Glen Canyon Dam site when it was under construction. This episode aired on November 2, 1960 and was entitled, Layout at Glen Canyon. Construction on the dam was in its early stages and the bridge dedication took place the year before.

In this post, I want to tease out a little more trivia by way of some still images I made of the show while watching it. Some of these are little blurry but clear enough to see what’s going on. Enjoy!

This first image above is one I used on the original post in 2013. They’re filming the scene where the women are getting off the plane. Click this image and enlarge it. Take a look at the all the details and notice the sign on the side of the truck. I’m not sure what the thing on the cart is. Careful leaning on that Corvette people! We lived at the airport (literally) and this scene wasn’t too far from our trailer’s front door. But I don’t remember them making this show. Here are some stills from the show:

This early scene shows Tod (Martin Milner of Adam-12 fame) and Buz (George Maharis) in a deep discussion just before the models get on the bus to be escorted to where they are staying, which was a couple of trailers somewhere near where the “P” was painted along US89. You can see Manson Mesa in the background of the scenes filmed at those trailers if you watch the show. In the picture above, the line of trailers is P Street, the last street of the trailer court, next to the airport. Our trailer was to the right of this picture right behind (literally!) the hanger. Here’s a wider shot of the area:

The picture above is a wider shot of the trailers behind the airport along P Street. The dirt driveway that Tod and Buz are headed to was the entrance off of P Street to the airport and the driveway to our trailer to the right of this picture. Here’s another action shot of the same scene: Continue reading “A Few More Kicks on Route 66”

The Beehive Then and Now

The Hive as it looked then….

beehive

The Beehive as it appeared in this 1950s photo showing preliminary construction of Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge underway. This photo is undated.

The Hive as it looks now…

beehive_now

The Beehive as it appears today. The upper parking lot of the visitor center (on the far side of the Beehive) is where the rail-mounted crane towers were located that were used to lower buckets of concrete, equipment, and personnel into the canyon.

The early, undated photo of the Beehive at the top shows preliminary work underway for the Glen Canyon Bridge and Dam. I can’t tell if the east side has been cut away yet. The second picture is one I captured on Google Earth for comparison. I love putting together these then and now pics when I come across them. I’m close to brilliant! 🙂

Be sure to check out my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pageaz/

-Mike

Glen Canyon Dam Construction Site

glen-canyon-dam-construction-site
Photo: A.E. Turner, Source: Terry Edwards

Here’s another aerial view of the Glen Canyon Dam construction site. This is looking upstream toward Wahweap creek. It’s a good look at the coffer dam, the early stages of the dam itself, and the power plant. The cranes are visible on each side of the dam. There was one 25-ton and one 50-ton on rails on either side. The road down to the lookout site is visible on the right side. The oval shaped area was the parking lot and you can see the trail down to the lookout point. The footbridge is faintly visible in this photo too.

Lake Shore Drive, which was still dirt, is clearly visible. It was built and used for gravel trucks. Aggregate was trucked in to the cement plant from Wahweap Creek and dumped in an underground hopper at the base of the conveyor belt visible in this picture near the end of the road. The aggregate was processed and conveyed to the concrete mixing plant seen in this picture on a large shelf cut out of the canyon wall. That concrete mixing plant was about twenty stories tall. The mixed concrete was dumped into a rail car that in turn, dumped the concrete into the buckets suspended by the cranes, for their trip to the topmost section of the growing dam. That’s the abbreviated story of the process. I always wanted to go inside that mixing plant but I never got the chance. Click on the image to enlarge it. Download it and check out the detail.

Enjoy!

It’s a Dam Site

dam-color
Glen Canyon Dam Construction, 1962 or 63. Source unknown.

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…

dam-pencil

Enjoy!

Mike

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

Photo Gallery

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Operation Glen Canyon

This is a pretty cool  28 minute video documentary on the first four years of construction of Glen Canyon Bridge and Dam. Thank you Donna for posting this link on our Facebook page! Enjoy!