Early Page

Page Arizona, 1957-58. Source: USBR.
Photo courtesy of the LeGate Family

This fantastic aerial shot of Page is undated, but I think it’s safe to place it in the 1957-58 time frame. The original photo is an 8×10 with the following hand written on the back by Gene C. Legate (unedited),

“Gov’t houses under construction. Ours [Legate’s] is 4th house from right end of the line of houses which extend from middle of picture to left toward middle of picture. Other place marked is where we’ll move to shortly. Black road is fresh oil which is put on before asphalt is placed on it. The first 100 houses shown are near completion. The second 100 are now about finished and are in the two blocks below first 100. Dam site in exposed canyon. Temporary school at lower right under construction.”

There is a lot going on in this picture that I would like to talk about. Let’s start at the bottom of the picture. I don’t remember the two lines of mobile homes at the bottom along 7th Avenue (now Lake Powell Blvd), but they are sitting on the approximate location of the Catholic Church. I think there’s a tennis court there now too. The temporary school buildings across the street from the mobile homes referenced on the back of the picture, became the X and Y buildings where I started 1st grade in Mrs. Frye’s class. I have a street-level picture of those buildings, and a story to share with you at a later date. The circular road next to the X and Y buildings was the drive through where buses and parents would drop their kids off for school. I remember it well. That road’s been gone a long time and is now baseball fields, I believe. The high school football homecoming bonfires used to be held in that area.

The row of buildings along the street next to the drop-off loop, that continue on to South Navajo Drive, were the transit (transa?) houses. I think these were originally put there as temporary housing for some of the USBR employees. Someone help me out here if you have more info for us. What I do remember is that they were a bright pink color and they were there for years. Do you see the green pen mark next to the 4th one along Navajo Drive? That is the one referenced in the description on the back of the picture as being where the LeGate family lived for a time. It’s hard to see, but if you enlarge the picture, you’ll see a green square drawn on Cedar Street, also referenced on the back of the picture as “the place…we’ll move to shortly.”

The government homes referenced in the picture are the original block homes that are still there, mostly in the center of that part of town. I remember when the government put them up for sale to the public. The houses with a carport went for $11,500 and the ones with a garage listed at $12,000. You can see in the photo that houses were under construction along Cedar and Birch Streets.

You can also see the hospital, the buildings that eventually became the phone company, and the USBR offices across from the hospital on North Navajo Drive. I think that building is now a Park Service building, but before that, it was a municipal building and courthouse.

If you grab a magnifying glass and look close, you’ll see that the Utah side of the bridge is about half way across the canyon and under construction. You can also see the exposed canyon walls at the dam site. That’s it for now…


8 thoughts on “Early Page

  1. It had to be 1957. We moved to Page in March of ’58, and lived in a house 2 doors down from the Legate’s, so those houses were done by then. My dad moved to Page in Oct ’57, and I don’t think the bridge was connected at that point, but I’m not positive about that.


  2. I think some people are confused on dates of things. We arrived in Kanab, Ut. on Feb. 21, 1957 and the wives were stashed in Kanab in small trailers and the men camped in trailers at the dam site at that time. They got to come to Kanab on weekends over a jeep trail. Sometimes various trails were flooded and they couldn’t even get home on weekends. The transa houses were frantically being assembled but we didn’t get to move out to ours until the second week of Dec. of that year. The only way to get to the transa houses was up through Jacob Lake, down by cliff Dwellers and up the road from Bitter springs which we had to have special permission to travel as the road had not been completed at that time. We moved into our house on Cedar St in early ’59 as Cheryl was born in April of that year. So some of the dates that have been listed about things are not correct. Has anyone commented on the fact that the streets ran according to the alphabet? Aspen, Birch Cedar, Date, Elm, Fir etc and the street that made a complete circle around the original government part of the town was North and South Navajo. The street was so wide that the standing joke was that a semi-truck could make a complete U-Turn on it. I’ll shut up now, Mike. Thanks for all your work. I enjoy this site so much.


    • Mrs. L, Thanks for the good info. It never dawned on me that those streets were in alphabetical order. But I never was much good at English – or the alphabet, evidently. I think I have a picture of that small trailer park you’re talking about. Was it on the Kanab side of the canyon, just north of the dam site? That picture is posting tomorrow morning. Let me know if that’s the one you’re referring to.


    • Your right Ramona, I was 13 or 14 when our family moved from Kanab to Page and we lived in a trailer on H or I street. The streets were from A to Z for the trailers and I don’t think I ever saw a house anywhere until we left in 1958.
      Thank you all for the info and pictures on this site…I’m a new Page Pioneer and am so excited to see all this!!
      Thanks again! Val LaVerne McKeown Peters


  3. This is so interesting ! My family moved to the trailer village in 1957 and lived on (I believe) row “D”. When we left in 58 the rows went to “P”…..many pioneers followed to build this new city. I was in the 2nd grade and remember the first school building – no other modern amenities at that time.


    • Elaine, we lived at the airport (literally), just beyond P Street. Our trailer was about 50 feet behind the airport hanger. Our closest neighbors were on P Street. I wish I had pictures of our trailer and that immediate area. I spent a lot of time riding my bike through that trailer court, being chased by dogs.


  4. Trailers across the street from X and Y school buildings were for school teachers and some of the USBR employees. We moved there in October ’57. We came in thru Coppermine Rd. What a muddy mess! We lived at G-16. Street not completed at that time. I started school in the Butler Bldgs in the 4th grade. Mrs Mayes was my teacher. When school started in ’58 I remember The Hopkins were both teachers and they lived in that USBR court. Also David and Helen were very close friends of my parents and they lived there until Park was taken out. I remember how exciting it was to see new people coming in everyday. My dad, Grady Butler was the Superintendent of the temporary power plant, so he was gone a lot because the construction was 24 hrs and there was always a problem. I remember when Suburban propane put up their little substaion and then was replaced with the teen canteen. It was such a great place to grow up and explore.


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