Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam

Construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, part of the Colorado River Storage Project, officially started in 1956 on a site that formed a basin capable of containing an immense amount of water with strong and stable canyon walls and bedrock foundations.  This 710 foot tall dam was built with blocks of concrete 7.5 feet high.  It took seven years and 400,000 buckets holding 24 tons of damp concrete to build the dam.  From 1963 to 1966 turbines and generators were installed.  According to the Page – Lake Powell Visitor Guide, the plant generates more than 1.3 million kilowatts of electricity with each generators 40-ton steel shafts turning at 150 rpm.  With all eight generators operating at full output, over 15 million gallons of water pass through the power plant’s pen-stocks each minute.  It took 17 years for Lake Powell to completely fill for the first time.  The lake is 560 feet deep at the face of the dam.  Our tour guide, Duane Berrier, now a volunteer, spent his career as an electrical engineer at Glen Canyon Dam.

Glen Canyon Bridge

Glen Canyon Bridge

The top of the dam is not used as a road.  Until Glen Canyon Bridge was completed in 1959, construction crews drove 200 miles to cross from one side of Glen Canyon to the other.  Pictures of the bridge’s construction showed that half the bridge was transported to each side of the canyon prior to assembly.

Page started as home to the construction workers building Glen Canyon Dam on 17 square miles of land acquired through a trade with the Navajo Nation.  In 1975, Page was incorporated as an Arizona city.  Interestingly, 12 denominations were given adjoining land on the main street, Lake Powell Boulevard.  With plenty of motels and restaurants, Page is an excellent base for sightseeing excursions.

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