The Birth of a Town

Photo: USBR. Undated. Photo Courtesy of Terry Edwards

Here’s an early shot of Page taken from the rim where North Navajo Drive and South Navajo Drive meet. Those are the Transit houses that dotted the rim along South Navajo and Aspen Street. As you can see, they are still being placed on site. The roads are being graded and the ground cleared. Notice the sewer pipe laying on the ground, awaiting installation. This photo is undated, but it has to be 1957 or 58. For comparison, look at the second picture I posted in the second blog on this site. It’s an aerial view showing the curve and the first airstrip which was about where this photographer was standing, along North Navajo. See it HERE.

Okay, back to this photo. There’s a school bus there because the Butler buildings were just to the right of this picture. They housed the first Page schools and they sat on the rim. You can see them in the link I provided above. I remember being told the water tank in the background of this picture was temporary while the town’s permanent water treatment plant was being built. I think that’s the water treatment plant being built in the far background. Did you know that the first water treatment plant for the town of Page was at the bottom of the canyon? It’s no doubt what supplied water to these tanks. See it HERE. Don’t miss the guy walking away on the left edge of the picture, as well as the outhouse. This picture provides a clear look at Le Chee on the horizon.


The Left Key-Way

Photo: Probably USBR. Courtesy of Terry Edwards. Undated

Here’s a great look at the left (Page side) key-way for Glen Canyon Dam. The key-ways were the vertical cut outs in the canyon walls where the dam was anchored into the rock. You can see two rectangle tunnels in the key-way and a third one to the right. I’m not sure what that third one was for, but there were a total of four of the other tunnels spaced along both key-ways. As the dam was built, these were connected to walkways inside the dam that ran the full length of the dam from edge to edge. There was instrumentation placed in those tunnels to measure stability and movement, and probably a lot of other things I’m not aware of. But having been inside at least one of them once the dam was finished, I remember how cold, wet, and eerie it was. I can also still remember the smell – like wet concrete. But I digress.

The towers above were the mobile cranes that rode along tracks and could move back and forth to move materials, people, and dump concrete buckets during the construction of the dam. There were three more on the opposite side of the canyon, behind the photographer. On the right side of the key-way is an elevator that ran on vertical rails up and down the canyon wall. I remember watching that thing from the bridge as it shuffled people in and out of the canyon. It seems like there was another smaller one to the right of that one, but it’s all a blur. I’m not sure what the wooden structures at the top of the key-way were.



Friday Freebie: How To Navigate a Foot Bridge

From my archives. Undated and source unknown.

Here’s a little something to take into your weekend. Remember, always wear a helmet. Especially if you’re crossing a footbridge 700+ feet above a canyon floor, with minimal or no side rails.


Below The Coffer Dam

Photo: USBR. July, 1959. Courtesy of Terry Edwards.

I love the detail in these old USBR photos. 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.

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

Video: Glen Canyon Dam Construction

This video has some excellent shots of the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. It’s part 2 of a 5-part series by Gary Ladd in what looks like a lecture at NAU. I put all 5 parts on a new video page. Click the Videos tab above to get there, or just click HERE.

Enjoy… Mike

School Daze

Photo: USBR. Courtesy of Terry Edwards. Undated

This first picture is a great look inside an elementary class in the old X and Y buildings. These were the temporary buildings that were built across from the Catholic Church, but I think they pre-dated that church. Maybe you were in this picture. If so, leave a comment and let me know. This teacher looks familiar, but I don’t have a name to go with the face. I remember those light fixtures and the heaters in the corner, hanging from the ceiling. The boy and girl closest to the photographer look pretty chummy. 😉 These pictures are undated, but have to be early 60s.

Photo: USBR. Courtesy of Terry Edwards. Undated

The photo above is an outdoor shot taken from the east-ish end of the buildings, looking west. 7th Avenue (Lake Powell BLVD) and the Catholic Church are to the left of this picture. Are you in this, or do you recognize Continue reading