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!


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


This photo is undated but is in the late 1950s. The photographer is not identified.
Source: Dugan Warner

One of my first posts on this site was of a couple of highscalers belting off before going over the edge of the canyon. Here’s another one for your visual enjoyment! I’ll make a few comments below.

I don’t have the date this picture was taken, or any information about the photographer, but it was most likely a USBR photo. I can’t imagine who else would have gone over the canyon wall with these guys to get this shot. If you zoom in on this picture, you’ll see that they are using a drill of some kind to bore holes for anchors into the canyon wall. A square end plate was attached to the anchors (if that’s what these holes were for) to strengthen the sandstone wall and help keep it intact.  These could have been something else, but that’s my best guess. They’ve already anchored several that look ready to be finished. Notice the 2 x 12 platforms – one below them and the other nearer the photographer. The photographer’s probably standing on that one.

This picture was taken from the Page side of Glen Canyon, looking downstream. Glen Canyon Dam is behind the photographer. A special thanks goes out to Dugan Warner for getting this picture to me.