Post-Construction Glen Canyon Dam Site

Photo: F. S. Finch, USBR. July 23, 1965. My Source: Tim McDaniels.

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.

-Enjoy!

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Video: Glen Canyon Dam Construction

I came across this video showing some good footage of the Glen Canyon Dam construction as well as some great shots of early Page Arizona. Some of the narration gets a little cheesy but the footage is amazing. You may even recognize some of the faces. I was surprised to see Chet Huntley narrating it. After the first minute and half to two minutes in, it picks up and gets good. The total length is only 27 minutes.

Enjoy!

More Upper Footbridge Mania

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Here’s proof:

This shot of the footbridge was buried in a PowerPoint presentation that was sent to me a few years ago. It’s undated. Click on it to enlarge.

The photo above was taken from the west side of the canyon. Behind the photographer was a circular parking lot built around a small sandstone hill. The next photo shows the parking lot and the photo below it is an image I took today using Google Earth that shows the remnants of the circular parking area as it appears today. This temporary foot bridge spanned Glen Canyon and was located just upstream of Glen Canyon Dam.

Here’s a view of the parking area on the west side of the upper footbridge.

Here’s the image I captured this morning on Google Earth showing how the parking area appears today.

From Google Earth. The horseshoe-shaped parking area is wrapped around the sandstone hill on the west side of the canyon. The spillways are visible at the bottom of the photo.

I’ve written other posts about the upper footbridge. To see them all, type “footbridge” in the search box at the top of the page.

Enjoy!

-Mike

It’s a Dam Site

Glen Canyon Dam Construction, 1962 or 63. Source unknown.

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.

 

Enjoy!

Mike

A Bridge Under Construction

Source: The LeGate Family, 1961

This is a great shot of the bridge. I was looking closely at the detail in it (the resolution on some of these early black & white photos is amazing) and noticed quite a few things. Click on the picture to open it up and then zoom in. Here’s what I noticed:

First, it looks like it was taken from the old visitor lookout on the Page side of the canyon. Do you remember that spot? It’s still there but blocked off. It provided a great view of the dam and bridge from just downstream of it. There was a parking lot and a short trail down to the lookout. You can still see it on Google Earth. Back to the picture. This is looking upstream. Notice that on top of the bridge, construction is going on while visitors are allowed to be there. I don’t think anyone would get away with that today. You can see the footbridge in the background. This also provides a good shot of the dirt coffer dam that was built to divert water (via the diversion tunnels) around the dam site during that early construction. Notice too, the first few levels of the dam that have been poured. The penstocks are visible, angling out of the top of each level. Look how small the people are standing on the dam. Notice too, the wooden walkways and stairs between each section. Those were constantly being moved as the dam went up. I remember standing on the bridge so many times, watching these same things going on below.

Did you notice the ladders at the top of the bridge? Do you see the cables tied to the handrails by the ladders? Follow them down to the horizontal cross brace and you’ll see two workers (one on each end of the brace) working to secure the cross brace to the main structure. You can see the cable from the crane on top between the two workers at the top. It looks like the crane is holding that cross brace in place while it’s being attached. You’ll notice the cross braces on the other side of the bridge are already in place, but the one to the left of the one they’re installing is yet to be added.

Enjoy!

-Mike

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.

-Mike

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 “Below The Coffer Dam”

The Upper Footbridge

Source: Terry Edwards
Undated and the spell-checker must have been broke. :)Source unknown and photo is undated

This is a longer post than most of my others and there are several pictures. Make sure you see them all. Before and during the construction of Glen Canyon Bridge, the footbridge served as a means for foot traffic (and evidently, at least one VW Beetle) to get from one side of the canyon to the other. The footbridge was located a short distance upstream from the dam – far enough upstream to not interfere with the construction. It’s visible in several of the photos I’ve posted and I’ve mentioned it a few times in different posts. This post is solely about the upper footbridge and there are several pictures.

I don’t know the source of this first picture below or the date, but it’s a great shot of the bridge that gives you a good idea of the size and scope. This bridge was completed in 60 days.

Source unknown and photo is undated

That’s a sweet picture isn’t it. That was no small task for something that would be temporary. There’s a big part of me that wishes it was still there. Here’s another view from ground level that shows some of the parking and a dry Wahweap bay in the background.

Continue reading “The Upper Footbridge”