Airing Their Laundry

Photo: USBR. Undated. Source: Terry Edwards

This is a fantastic photo! It captures a true moment in the pioneering life of early Page. I’ve closely studied the details in this picture and I’ve concluded that this was taken from behind the transit homes, near South Navajo Drive and Aspen Street. If you click on the pic and open it, you can zoom in and take a look at some of the detail with me. Do you see the tanks on the right side of the image? You can get another look at them in THIS EARLIER POST of the transit homes to see what I’m referring to. In the picture above, the building to the left of the silver tank may be one of the Butler Buildings that housed the first school. Once zoomed in, you can see the canyon in the distance under the laundry. Also notice the second person hanging up clothes and what may be a little girl sitting by the car.

If you know who this woman is, please let me know.


Butler Buildings

Source: Lonnie Carl DeArmond via Donna Bloxton Petersen. Photo was originally a 35mm color slide. 1958-1959

Here’s a great shot of the Butler Buildings that housed Page Schools in the early years of the town. These sat on the rim where North and South Navajo Drives meet. A few of the pink transa homes are visible on the left side of the photo. The sidewalk and curb on the far side of the road haven’t been poured yet. Click on the image to open it in a new tab. You can see more detail that way. I have an aerial view of these buildings in another post called A Color Aerial View of Page. Does anyone remember what the black-sided building to the right of the Butler buildings was?

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.


Transit Homes

Photographer and date unknown.
Source: Terry Edwards

The transit homes were scattered along the rim of South Navajo Drive and Aspen Street. Even though these photos are black and white, these tiny houses made a bold statement all their own in their hot pinkish paint jobs. I’ve heard these referred to as transa homes too, but I’m sticking with transit. I hope that doesn’t drive any of you away, or to drinking. In a previous post, I mentioned these homes and you can see an aerial shot of them by clicking >>HERE<<.

This first picture is one of my favorites. The quality and detail are amazing. I’ll say a couple things about it underneath it. I give you…. the transit homes….

It looks like a serene winter day. And there just happens to be a 57 Chevy sitting there. No offense to the Rambler of course. This shot was taken looking along South Navajo Drive. In the background, you can see the houses continue along Aspen Street. Notice the dirt (sand) road and sidewalk. In the distance you can see the old X and Y school buildings and the Catholic Church. Behind that is the water tower. To the left of the X and Y buildings is the Southern Baptist Church and LeChee. The white rooftop in front of LeChee may be the Episcopal Church, but I’ve been wrong before. The building on the far left of the photo is the edge of the school D building, which would have been newly constructed about this time. Here’s another view…

Photographer and date unknown.
Source: Terry Edwards

I’m not sure if this one was taken along South Navajo or Aspen Street. But the large tank in the background that’s peeking over the roof of the closest home, caught me by surprise. I’m not sure what that was. This may have been taken the same day as the first picture. It was taken during the colder months, or the evap coolers would have been uncovered. Check out the 3rd home down the row. That round, white thing almost looks like a satellite dish! LOL.


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.”

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Color Aerial View of Page

1958-59 Aerial Shot
1958-59 Page Arizona
Source: Unknown

This is a rare color photo of Page taken in 1958-59 near the beginning of the construction of Glen Canyon Dam and bridge. You can see the airport in the distance (where yours truly lived, starting in 1960). The large rectangle area just this side of the airport is the Merritt-Chapman & Scott (MCS) trailer court. I had a paper route in that trailer court and there were some mean dogs in there that liked to chase paper boys on bikes. The buildings in the upper right of the photo are the MCS apartments on 8th an 9th avenue. It looks like they were still under construction since there’s only two rows of them.

The three buildings at the bottom of the picture were the Butler buildings that housed the Page schools until the permanent school was finished in 1959-60. The small buildings to the right of the Butler buildings were the old transit homes. These were all painted a hot pink and were initially there to provide housing for the construction workers.

The large rectangle building near the center of the picture is the US Bureau of Reclamation warehouse and is still there today. One of the first high school graduations took place inside that building in 1959. I have a picture that I’ll be posting of it soon. I’m not sure what the three white structures are in the top left of the picture, but the horse corrals and drive-in theatre were eventually built near that spot. I remember watching movies like Ben-Hur, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Greatest Story Ever Told (among others, but I don’t want to bore you) at that theatre. The drive-in was tore down quite some time ago.

The permanent school buildings are no doubt under construction at the time of this picture, but are off to the right and not shown. This is a good shot of Date Street and First and Second Avenue, which sat empty like that for years.

For an interesting comparison, compare this picture with the earlier one that I posted HERE.