Transcript for Lake Powell, segment 03 of 11

The story of Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell began years ago. At that time, the canyon lay isolated, remote, and almost unknown to the outside world.


In October nineteen fifty-six, the first blast was detonated high on a canyon wall. The isolated dam site required links to the outside world, roads and bridges to bear the weight of fifty thousand trucks carrying equipment and material for the new dam.

The canyon itself was spanned by the world's highest steel arch bridge that soon joined highways from Arizona and from Utah. Meanwhile, beneath the bridge, high scalers, cat skinners, shovel operators, and truck drivers began the job of excavation, of diverting the river, of carving the canyon to fit the dam for three years, blasting and digging, loading and hauling, till the canyon was ready.


Huge buckets, each carrying twenty-four tons of concrete, made over four hundred thousand trips to the rising bluffs. For three years, a steady stream of buckets carried concrete to the dam. Then on one rainy September day, the last twenty-four tons of concrete were hoisted aloft, the last of over ten million tons carefully fitted into the canyon.

The Open Video Project is managed at the Interaction Design Laboratory,
at the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill