Courtesy of The Canyon Club of Page, Arizona, I’ll be giving a presentation through photos on the beginnings of Glen Canyon Dam on Friday, November 18, 2022 at the Courtyard Marriott in Page, Arizona. A social is planned for 6:00 PM followed by my presentation at 7:00 PM. This short video is a small sample of what’s ahead. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there!
This is a great 1965 aerial photo of the Glen Canyon Dam site. It shows the remnants of the construction days and what was still in place from those years. Click on it to enlarge it in a new window. You’ll notice on the right side of the photo that the cableway towers, which were between the Beehive and the canyon wall, are gone and the tracks they rode on have been removed. Construction of the Visitor’s Center hadn’t begun yet.
Moving upstream along the canyon, both spillways are clearly visible, as is the horseshoe-shaped road/parking area where the footbridge once stood. The faint white-dashed line spanning the canyon was the log jam to prevent boaters from getting too close to the dam and spillways. The nighttime trout fishing with the boat tied to the log jam was always good.
The aggregate piles are still there where the conveyor belts once stood. The red line on the photo may have been a proposed route for the road to Wahweap. There are still a few buildings from the construction days and an electric substation near the Beehive. I made a then-and-now post of the Beehive you can see at The Beehive Then and Now.
Here’s an 8mm YouTube home movie I came across with some excellent shots of the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, Glen Canyon Bridge, and Page Arizona from the late 1950s. This video captures some great moments of that time. Enjoy!
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. These pictures capture some of that day. If you were there, I’d love to hear your story in the comments.
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.
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.
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 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, looking downstream.
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.
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.
Until next time… Enjoy and share!
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!
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” is 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 MCS 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 same 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
The Hive as it looked then….
The Hive as it looks now…
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! 🙂
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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 crane towers are visible on each side of the dam. If I remember right, there were two 25-ton towers and one 50-ton tower on either side. These crane towers moved back and forth along tracks. The road down to the visitor lookout site is visible on the right side of the canyon, coming off of US89. The oval shaped area was the parking lot and you can see the walking 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 hauling gravel to the concrete batch plant at the dam site. Aggregate was trucked in to the batch 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.
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 were two 25-ton cranes and one 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.