Arrowrock Dam: Historical Presentation


>>So, I’m Kelsey
Doncaster, I’m the historian for the Columbia-Cascades
Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation in Yakima. So I’m not here from
the Snake River, but they have asked
me to come down. And I really am excited to be
here to present to you folks about Arrowrock Dam, Idaho’s
8th wonder of the world. As mentioned, I am a fifth
generation Washingtonian. My mother would talk about Grand
Coulee Dam was the 8th wonder of the world. But before Grand Coulee,
there was Arrowrock. And you could not have Grand
Coulee without Arrowrock Dam. So we’re going to learn tonight
about the wonderful and amazing and magnificent structure built by reclamation from
1911 to 1915. And I like this post card because it shows a
little lady there, it shows you how big the dam is
and it says it’s the highest dam in the world, and
largest dam in the world. Boise, Idaho. I thought that was very unique
and a neat way to advertise such a wonderful structure. So Arrowrock Dam facts, it was the tallest concrete
gravity-arch dam in the world when completed in
1915 until 1932. It’s built from July
1911 to November 1915. And as the largest
number of islands of any reclamation service
dam, some folks here from Idaho Power, I don’t
know about your system, don’t know if that’s
true but I know for reclamation that is true. It was the first
reclamation service dam that required 20 ensign
valves, at its peak, a 1059 people were employed in
the construction of the dam. Reclamation service created
its own town called Arrowrock, where as many as 4300 people
lived there during the height of construction. Interestingly enough, this dam
is actually in two counties. Boise and Elmore County split
it right down in the middle. That was very interesting
because a lot of times there were
dams associated in one spot or the other. It’s been cut in two. It was built by the Reclamation
Service under a forced account which means, that the
agency couldn’t find people who could afford to or have
the capital or the knowledge to know how to build
such a structure. So the government was
forced to do it themselves. In its construction, those
working set a world record for concrete placed in a month. 45,700 cubic yards in April 1914 and it would be the next
month was 51,490 cubic yards. The dam is composed of 613,330
cubic yards of sand concrete when it was completed in 1915. It is one of only two
reclamation service dams built of sand concrete in
the United States. The crest of the dam is
approximately 1150 feet long which winds to be 223
feet wide at the bottom. In 1935 to 1937, it was
increased in height to 353 and a half feet as part of the work’s progress
initiation project. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that especially we have
time is why there was a WPA project on the dam and
it has to do with some of the revolutionary
style of construction that was done back in the day. So, the dam is built to
serve the Boise project. Here is a map of the Boise
Project, we see here, I’ll try to walk
up a little bit. So here’s Arrowrock dam over
here, and it brought water and regulate it, so it
irrigated the whole project with 397,000 acres here all
the way from Boise to Nyssa. This project helped turned
the Boise Valley from desert and make it bloom
with agriculture. Other two divisions,
in it the Arrowrock and the Payette Division,
and the one is Arrowrock of course gets the water
from Arrowrock dam. Payette also gets
some additional stuff in that water from
Arrowrock dam. So, the dam was built
and located at a certain spot
called Arrowrock. And this was a real mystery. I worked with some of
our regional people to discuss how this came about
and where this location was. And I found this photograph
in the National Archives. We’re going to see
many photographs today from the National Archives. This shows Arrowrock in 1912. So the story goes that
this is called Arrowrock because you’re showing
Indians would fire their arrows into the rock. It was target practice. I don’t know if that’s
true or not. Idaho State Historical Society
has interesting interview done of a gentleman who was a wagon
driver who discusses that, because it’s a wagon road, they went up to Canyon
to Twin Springs. Another story was at Idaho
State Historical Society, they have someone found an
Arrowhead inside the dam, but then they lost it. Don’t know if that’s true. But I do think it’s true is that
there a geological formation that is somewhat in
the shape of an arrow. And so, it may have been
something that they thought, that’s why they call it
Arrowrock because it looks like the shape of an arrow. The other interesting thing which you can’t see here,
I will move on then. There is a sphere, it looks
like inside it, I don’t know if that’s really there or not. This is the valley
before it was flooded. This was taken in 1912. It’s looking downstream
at the dam site. Arrowrock was chosen over a
location called Hell’s Gate, which is three miles upstream,
as it would take less excavation to bedrock to do that. But this shows you
what that looks like. Here we are in 1910, it
shows the dam location, diamond drill barge,
getting ready to drill holes down to bedrock, to
go where the dam is. You can see the trail here
of the wagon road, you know, winds its way along here. It went from Boise
to Twin Springs. And this was a really
unique spot that they thought they
could build this dam. So they have these diamond drill
barges that they used to get out to the bedrock, you
think about how that work was of a gentleman there, no fall
protection, this was 1910, safety and relative, still
had safety, mind you. But it was not what
we think of today. And here this is hot, sweaty
work here on the river and across the way, you see the
division, whenever you’re up, the diversion tunnel
for the dam. So the diversion
tunnel was hand out, was broken out by
hand tools and by– we’re going to see here drills
in that time and that was done for way to reroute the river. Idaho City Historical
Society put a poster of a river that ran through it. Well that’s what they did. They forced river out of
the way, so they can clear out the bedrock and
they drilled this tunnel to push the river through. They built a cofferdam up to
help dry out and we’ll do work for where the dam
would be executed out. So picture taking here
on October 30th, 1911, think of what you want to do in
October, be stuck in a cavern. So then, what this was working
on, here we have them high up on the hill, 400 feet
up, and breaking out rock and blasting for the spillway. This is before the
railroad came. This is work that was
done primarily by hand until larger machinery could
come up from the railroad. And you can see, here
we come with the Boise and Arrowrock railroad. So, the agency needed
to have a railroad because that’s how you are going
to be able to get supplies. It’s still the most efficient
way to ship large volumes of material from one
place to the other. And the agency had a problem. The dam was built 22 miles from
Boise, but there was no railroad that went 22 miles from Boise. So they had to build the Boise
and Arrowrock, government-owned, standard gauge, common
carrier railroad. That was built from May 28th,
1911 to November 15th 1911, and it was 17 miles long. Railroad operated
daily except Sunday by mixed train passenger
service, beginning on December 7th,
1911 to August 2nd, 1915. The Boise and Arrowrock had
three steam locomotives, two passenger cars, two
box cars, one caboose, 14 flat cars and
26 gondola cars. The railroad transported
13,966,264 tons of freight for the dam. So over 13 million. Plus, it also transported
60,314 tons of non-reclamation
service freight. So they also would, because a
common carrier, someone needed to move their livestock,
or need a stove, or– and something else they would
also bring it up for them. Special excursion trains
left Boise every Sunday at 3 ‘o’clock for Arrowrock dam. There were 89,603 excursions who
took these trains on the Boise and Arrowrock to see the world’s
tallest dam under construction. So here’s an example of
a mixed train and also when the snafus was, the
lettering was mixed up, the reclamation service
purchases equipment, had some lettered and organized,
or we should say, all Boise and Arrowrock and they
labeled it United States reclamation service. But the government
was efficient. They didn’t renumber,
didn’t repaint things, they just left it that
way and ran it as it is. And here is a train in 1913
in [inaudible] next station. But the railroad was designed
to bring heavy freight up. And so this slide
here shows the dumping of materials into storage vans. And I want to point out that
there’s an Oregon short line which was the Union
Pacific gondola here. So you know, they
had 26 gondolas that didn’t have enough. That means they had to
buy more or lease more and bring the [inaudible] from,
down by Boise diversion dam and other locations,
to help build the dam, besides what they did to all of
the spillway and in the bedrock. It’s a very unique operation, something that you
don’t see today. But these are the Sunday
excursions that I talked about. There’s a great image
that I found. This was not at the
National Archives. It’s actually onearchives.org, but it shows the greater Boise
excursion to Arrowrock dam. Everyone’s dressed, like
myself in a Sunday finest, coming up to see this
wonderful magnificent thing that they are creating
on the Boise River. And I thought it was
a big deal, you know. It was something people
were really proud of, they want to be a part of and what you guys have
learned about today. So the railway brought
up large machinery. Here we see the Atlantic steam
shovel 70 tons, that was brought up by rail, we see
western rail scrappers, little narrow gauge dump cars and arrow gauge saddle
tank steam locomotive. These were needed to help
do large scale excavation for the dam. And you couldn’t bring this
up without the railroad because that’s a lot of heavy
machinery that couldn’t come up on its own, by freight
or wagon or otherwise. And it’s something that
you think about, you know, what was life like for this
people that came to a place that was 22 miles from Boise. It wasn’t something that was
known to be a metropolis. It’s a place that
wasn’t that much, out on its own in
the environment. And so here we see they’re out– In 1912, they started
an excavation in the Boise river bed. There’s a drag lining machine
[inaudible] skips for cableways. They’ll be lifted up and
they take that material and they crush it, to use it for the concrete mixture
they are building at the dam. It really gives you a sense
of the work environment. It’s dusty, it’s
dirty, it’s wet. We see all the water here. And so they had equipment– stays in certain
locations to make use of– most efficient use in the
material and the location where it was at, one of which
here we see on the spillway. Again, we talk about safety, notice that lovely eight-ton
boulder there, people are under. So they were blasting
rock out of the spillway. And they had the steam shovel
now located up on the spillway, taking out large, eight-ton
boulders and other things to move that and make it the
spillway that it is today. So here we are in 1912. This is on June 15th. We still see the Boise River
running in its normal course. We start to see some of
the river being diverted into the diversion tunnel. This will change, shortly you
will see what it was going to shift to being– for having a
cofferdam and then they’re going to start holding back
the river and forcing it through that tunnel
to make Arrowrock Dam. I really like these photographs because they’re taken
from a certain point. Walter Lubkin picked the same
spot many times to photograph. And so you can see
their progress overtime. This is in 1912. Again, this is on October 15th. This is the upper
cofferdam in place. And you know we don’t
think it is today, but a hundred years ago, they
were very, very ingenuous. They’re very thrifty, not
that we aren’t are today, we have microcomputers and other
things, but you have to realize, they had to work with what
they had, and I talked about the 70-ton Atlantic
steam shovel was there in the bed of the river. And then they have
it on a spillway, well how do you get it up there? Well, they disassembled it
into pieces and hauled it up by a cable way to
the spillway up there. And that was really interesting
that they weren’t afraid to disassemble a steam
shovel and then back up on the spillway, put
it all back together again and work it there. Also very interesting to note
as historian, when I found some of the records and
things that just says, we moved the steam shovel from
the riverbed to the spillway, well how did they do that? I found this photograph,
I was like well, how the hell did they do it? Here we are in 1913, same spot,
shows 8000 second feet of river, going to through the
diversion tunnel. And we can see now that
the cofferdam is in place. They’re just trying
to build up here where they’ve got the sliding
gauge right here, of the dam, there’s going to
be 25 [inaudible] so this is just the first five. Now, you’re starting to see,
we got the cofferdam here and the river is
forced that way. Here we go again, now
it’s getting taller. And this date, it is
September 15th, 1913. And then they kept
building the dam. They’re still working the
spillway at the same time. And it is followed by another
photograph taken in 1914, that will show us the upper
cofferdam has been removed. They build cofferdams, to
people who don’t understand, to hold back the river or the
water so they could pool it up. But here, they’ve removed it and now we see all the
water pooling up down here. Well the dam, but it was
finished at that level so they could do that. And it’s always amazing, if you
noticed the snow on the ground, they operated year round. And they didn’t take
time off for the winter. They did have Sunday off though. I found they didn’t
work at Sunday at all. But the trains from Boise
always come up on Sunday, so kind of a mixed
message there. So here we see the
view in September 1914. This is the view of it. Now, the dam is getting
higher and higher. They’re placing more forms. They’re using the cable way. We see the town down below. Everybody starts to
see the dam take shape, to what it’s going to be today. To do all this, so they have
to not only place the concrete but then they had to
form the concrete. And they would form it in
different fashions with rebar, the technology needed
to build the structure and to support the dam. And so here we see
that rebar in the forms for the concrete
that’s sluice outlets, these big cylinders here. And you see all the faults work. Imagine all this wood
that was involved in the building of this dam. They had so much wood. I’ll tell you where
they got it later on. Here we see the sluice
gates installed. And we’re looking upstream,
this is on September 15th 1913, so you can see them
then you get an idea of the scale of this project. Three little men,
here’s the sluice gate; and you can see the
delivery system, the [inaudible] cable way
concrete delivery system. So they would build these in
sections and each layer will go up farther and farther
and farther. And when they drive in,
here we see it again, now they’ve covered over
that section we just saw where the sluice gates were,
and they’re building farther and farther and farther
up in the dam, getting the second hyphen
[phonetic] in, getting it dry and then going in and
build another one. So, as this progressed,
and then they had to do something different
with the machine that they had and locations they moved
it up moved it around. And as I mentioned, here is
a line steam shovel again. OK, so now they finished
excavating the spillway, how did they get it down? Because they needed to use it out by Boise diversion
dam, the big gravel pit. Well this time, instead
of disassembling it, they decided it would
just work its way down on the railroad tracks and
a switch back down this canyon, which is pretty crazy if
you’ve even been there because it’s a lot
of loose material, that’s not very strong bedrock. I thought that was
really amazing that they have enough gumption
if you all just get the men out, we’ll just build a railroad
track and we’ll just inch it down the hillside to go
to Boise diversion dam. But again, same thing, very much
you know, brute force ingenuity, something I found
as I mentioned, we moved it to Boise
diversion dam. That’s all I found,
didn’t say how or why, and what was the whole process
involved in doing such a thing. We’re going to see another
slide next coming up. We’re going to be looking
upstream at Arrowrock in 1914 to show what the
dam would look like. So we see it starting
to go up like this, it’s moving farther
and farther as we go. Again, more and more solid
wall of concrete in the canyon. And I like these
photographs getting taken on the same location, show
how the dam is progressing and the different features
that were used to build it and around it and how
the landscape has blended into the dam. It’s really, you know, do you
think– but these are also, here’s the end of the
spillway, looking up stream and you see all the
reinforcing steel. This is in October 6th, 1914. And you know, these are
all classified negatives, for the most part, I found it at
College Park National Archives. And we lugged all this stuff
up by camera, you know, they put a big piece
of glass in. They’re 8 by 10, get it
shot and make it roll. So here we are on October
30th– August 30th, 1915, this shows the dam
nearly complete. And we’re seeing one of
the features we know today, if you happened to
be there or go by. There is a truss bridge
and there’s the dam. There’s– one of the features
here is this lovely log way or log shoot, that they built. This is very interesting,
at 637 feet long, portion of it is
still there today. Don’t know if it was ever used. When they started
building this dam in 1911, a lot of logs were rafted
down the Boise River. But by 1915, they came out
mostly by railroad, later on, by truck and so on and so forth. So, the agency spent the time, I don’t know what the
whole story was behind that to build it, and
then they didn’t use it. Here is the dam in August
30th, 1915 nearly complete. Ready to go and starting
to be used, you see the ensign valves open. They’re on the lower level. And getting an idea of the
water that comes out of this, we’re going to see a series of photographs of
the spillway here. So here it is closed. This is showing it– showing you
the spillway is 402 feet long and has six drum gates. It’s a boomerang shape. It’s not a flat or a
straight angled spillway, that’s the boomerang. And we’ll see that it’s
slowly trying to open up, so these are a series of gates. And these gates will open
each one independently. And they help release water on
the dam, and people will ask, what’s a spillway for? Anyone knows what
a spillway is for? That’s designed to
release water, so it doesn’t over top the dam. So they have a problem. They’ve got too much
water, and then they want to release some water. We want to maybe release
it out through [inaudible], they can’t quite do so
they’re going to push out over the spillway, they’re
going to spill that water out. But for the most part with
the reclamation service and today’s United States
Bureau of Reclamation, they didn’t ever
really use those, they want to keep
all that water. So you can’t see a lot
of spillways in use. Here we see it dumping
6,000 cfs right there, so that’s a lot of water. So we do know it
was used sometimes but it wasn’t used a whole lot. But they’re really
magnificently designed, something that you would
even appreciate especially if you were downstream. So, here we are in June 1917
Arrowrock dam had been completed for the cost of $4,796,488
and 82 cents. It was 2 million– it’s not
$2– $2 million under budget. Do you have an idea
what that cost is today? Historians like to
look it up, in 2014. This dam would cost
$110 million and change. So we also see different
features here on the dam as I mentioned and we
have the truss bridge and we have the spillway,
we have the dam here, we have a crane on the dam,
we have the log way which may or may have never been used. Here is the little dry chain
to pick it up and the chain of the logs and we have
the caretaker’s house. And today there still is a
caretaker at Arrowrock dam. It’s a very important
installation to have someone who’s there
24 hours a day always on call. So, as I wanted to
talk about some of the details, I
have limited time. Too many images and
too much information. I did want to talk
about this crane. This is a 7-ton crane which
was taken in 1917 here, used for operation maintenance
of the valves and the gates. An interesting thing
about Arrowrock is that it has the valves on
the outside going this way. And so we would have this crane,
and they would usually come down to the back
side of the dam. And it would come down so it
could operate on these valves and do maintenance in all
the needed requirement. So it was a little bit
interesting to operate and to maintain because
of the location. So again, I found this
picture here, this gentleman. He gets hoisted 100 feet
down to work on these. So you know, it was definitely
not for the faint hearted if you had to work there. And I really thought that that
was a real unusual photograph. We haven’t found many of
these and I found this one, showing the gentleman
being lowered for operation and maintenance purposes
on the ensign valves. So next we’re going to talk about the Arrowrock
dam town side. This is in 1912. As I mentioned, some may
heard it on the radio. The United States Reclamation
Service had to build a town because there was no town there. They had to have housing
for all the employees. This was a big deal because
you had to have people who were there at the
dam, they couldn’t leave. They had to work. And so they built this
whole complex we see here. We see a hospital, bunk houses,
dormitories, US post office, cottages, guest house, general
store, ice plant, soda fountain, meat market, bakery, public
bath, a 70 horse table, engine house, turn table for the
Boise and Arrowrock locomotors, warehouses, cement
testing facility. Lumber finishing mill because
they bought in lumber up stream but it was rough cut they
had to finish it there. There’s a sewer, there
is a water system. There was a volunteer
fire department. There was even a soda
fountain in the general store. And they actually did
quite well with that. It served the general
population and area because, I think they also did well because no alcohol
was allowed in camp. If you are caught with alcohol,
you are reprimanded and fired. So they do not keep
people around and they’re also
really strong and kind of make sure this was
a sanitary facility. There’s a lot of concern
with infectious diseases. You know, people being
adequately cared for– You know, this is
an era in 1915. We think of it as
commonplace today. But they had electricity. They had running water. They had indoor toilets,
you know. In that time people had
to go to the outhouse. Maybe people here in Boise
proper had some of that but certainly in the outskirts, you’re [inaudible]
things of this sort. So, to get this town built,
they had to have lumber. It’s an all wooden town, and
so they have this location on Cottonwood Creek
13 miles upstream of Boise of Arrowrock dam. So it was 35 miles from Boise. And this, saw mill cut all
the lumber for the town. Until that came with
all the lumber, people lived tents we see here. They do have the warehouse
done, they have the stable done. But the interesting thing
on this caption from 1911, stated there have been–
this is before the fire. So you see the importance of having a volunteer
fire department because they’re 20 miles from
Boise and if it is wooden town and it burns down, you
don’t have anything to do or anywhere to go. So you see it being developed
here in August 10th, 1911. And we see the town progressing,
a series of slides now through 1911 and 1912,
the town will grow. They developed it
in certain stages. Some, they built what they
could before the railroad came. This is part of the railroad
so everything was bought in by wagon or the lumber was
bought down the Boise River or by wagon from there
from Cottonwood Creek. And it was all– something
that you think but was a lot of effort, a lot of work to
have to be just freighted up and to pay the [inaudible] to bring it all the way
20 miles from Boise. So it wasn’t a minor event. They started to build
more and more of the town. They built the associated
structures. They built the complexes first. I think, I thought it was
interesting as here it is in December 12th, 1911. And I see it’s snowing and
you know, it’s snowed up here. There’s ice on the river
and by now, the bunk houses for the single men have
been built across the river, that seemed to be built
later, I’m not quite sure why. The interesting thing
about the housing is that each housing often had
a varying scale of price, based on design or layout. So, the dormitories
for mechanics and foremen cost them
$2 dollar a month. The dormitories for skilled
laborers was a dollar 50 a month. Engineers and office personnel, their cost of their
dormitory was four to five dollar per month and
that depended on each design and layout of them some
are more fancy than others, some are more crude than others. And I think it’s interesting to
see how the cottages were done. These were the most expensive. These were $10 to $16 per month. There were 14 of these. They were the most
expensive housing. They’re used for married men. And they were kind of, I think
probably you would say the tour of homes, the show piece
for the Arrowrock camp. It is really a neat little
complex and interesting to see how the camp was divided
up and developed over time. Certainly those who
lived in the cottages, they had a screen then porch. They had, you know,
more privacy, they had, here is a flower garden. So it was really, you know,
a little paradise in there, it was somewhat wilderness. I mean, it’s still very
rugged out there today. It’s something that was very
much peacefully made into a spot that people enjoyed; as
a garden you see there. There are some fruit trees. And so every good engineered
work or logging company or other natural resources
extraction really lives on its food. So here we see the kitchen and
the mess crew with a large mess and this is taken in 1912. So look at all these men
here, look their pots and pans and all things, there
was a dishwasher here which again not a big thing
today, but hey, 100 years ago, dishwasher, that was a big
deal, was automatically run, wasn’t the person having the
wine or clean the dishes, they made so much food
there, it’s amazing to think how much
was used in 1914. They used 431 pounds of
mutton, 27,488 pounds of beef, 56,703 pounds of pork and
one whole refrigerated car– just the meat would have been
over 30,000 pounds of meat. And, you know, they
were very thrifty because again you’re
22 miles from Boise. They used everything. So you know, they didn’t
make anything go waste. They made sausage. They made bacon. They made head cheese
and they made pickles, pickled pig’s feet. So here we see the
man at the mess hall. This is laborer’s mess hall. This could hold 600
men at a time. So there’s a side– so in the
tables that were 4.5 to 5 feet in diameter and they’re
all crowded in here and you see some
coffee on the wall and see the cups in the plates. I love these photograph because
they give us an insight upon this construction that maybe
isn’t in the written record but shows us visually. I was in Twin Falls and
someone noticed something very interesting on this picture because here is the
engineer’s mess hall. The engineers have
their own mess hall. It fed 36 people, not 600. And after August 1st in 1913, they had their own cook
and female waitress. So prior to August
1913, food was brought over from that laborer’s mess. Someone at Twin Falls,
knows last night, I thought it’s very interesting. The men in this photograph if
you noticed except for two, don’t have any facial
hair but all the men in the laborer’s mess hall have
a mustache or they have a beard. But the one place where everyone
went to that could participate in no matter whether
they were engineers or they were the common
laborer is the Arrowrock club. The Arrowrock clubhouse and
we see here, it was available to all employees from eight in
the morning till ten at night. Arrowrock Club, it was furnished with various [inaudible]
district brands of the YMCA and provided pool
tables, piano, victrola, movies for 10 cents,
checkers chess sets. One of the neat things is
you see who was involved and actually people
could have access to everything being
[inaudible] Idaho free lib– Idaho free traveling
library provided books. So hey, go Idaho, free
traveling library. They provided books,
magazines and newspapers. They had a steward
to help with letters. And the banks would come up
twice a week to help cash checks and do other needed
financial things. So, it was really
the hub of the camp. Besides, they’re
having entertainment, you would have need
for hospitals or cuts or cares or bruises. And so here, we see the general
ward on April 18th in 1912 that treated 145 patients
with various illnesses and 201 patients with
accidents in 1914. Each year, they keep
track a records of how many people they have
to see what they were caught or what was involved with. Here, we see the
office and exam room. Looks a little scary today? But hey, 1915, that was the
cutting-edge modern medicine and they had everything
painted white and they made sure things
were clean and sterile because they wanted
everyone to be healthy. They really did. And the camp prided
itself in cleanliness and did not have any labor
troubles at that time. I thought it was
interesting because, you know, some men lived in the camp,
there are also some men who lived in the dormitories
at the most inexpensive and sparsely furnished ones. And they had to go to work
every day via suspension bridge. So, you seem crossing
there in the camp. So here, we see the camp
on January 1st, 1912. A little boy here with some
Idaho Statesman, I presume, and a dog and here’s a train
that came up and it’s winter because they operate
year round and the quote on the glass plate negative was, “Sagebrush to civilization
in six months”. So, six months, why there
wasn’t anything there. And here is the town
of Arrowrock that had its own post
office and postmark stamp. And as a historian, I’m always
curious about different aspects when we talk about, you know,
the buildings and what was said or what happened but
also about people. So, we have who’s involvement
because this dam wasn’t built up by machines but it
was built by people. And here, we see a photograph
of engineers for Arrowrock Dam and a gentleman on the bucket. This is the first bucket of
concrete placed in the dam in 1912, one yard bucket. That is Frances Crowe
and we have Charles Paul, this gentleman right here. He was the construction
engineer for the project. And so here, here’s
office staff. And I got some great shot. It shows all the accountants,
clerk, also timekeepers, pay masters, et cetera,
in 1911, wearing a suit, looking fine, got the tie. And, you know, that
was one portion of this because they helped
control what was coming in and out and make things work. But these were the people who
really worked hard in the dam. These are the laborers,
you know, and we also got table
rolls, old shirt, you know, that’s a rough thimble work. These are the drillers
working on the spillway. You know, laborers were
paid $2.40 to $2.50 a day which was the lowest wage
there at the dam construction. Now, give me idea what
is that cost today. That means you’re
making $56 to $58 a day. Here we see, a gentleman
also working on the spillway but is now is now,
it’s blasted out. They’re using burly drills and
they’re injecting the spillway with these drills, you can
see men in motion there. The highest paying job
was not this, was actually for the dragline operator
which you got $5 a day. So, everyone has a sliding
scale how much they were paid. But, you know, this
dam was built, even though with
modern technology, with the brute muscle of men. And we see this here because
here we see gentlemen clearing rock that’s been blasted
in the bedrock for the dam. And so, even though, they
had all these machines here, these men are out with picks
and shovels and they’re picking up the pieces of rock and
putting them in these 8 by 8 skips to be lifted away. There’s a lot of
hand labor in there. Other jobs in the camp were
blacksmith, cooks, carpenters, cableway, powder men, riggers and even a gentleman
called the flunky. So, as I mentioned,
technology for the dam, we had Boise Diversion Dam which
is built prior to Arrowrock and a powerhouse built on there. We see here in 1912. And they built a powerhouse because even though we
have had hand labor, we have these other things, we
had to have electricity power to do this to operate
this dam 24 hours a day in this construction in
certain parts of the season. So, they built a powerhouse
at Boise Diversion Dam, they hydroelectric power, brought it up via transmission
line here to Arrowrock Camp. And then, it was transformed
and it went to the houses, it went to the plants,
whatever you see here, they’re using inside
the diversion tunnel. They didn’t have a
candle with a wick in it. They actually had lights. And so, it was a lot easier
to work with having all that electrical power. When, you know, very much new
inventions still at that time, in 1914, in 1912, in 11 and 15. This is a great picture. I love this photo. This shows that actually
working at night. So they were at times
three shifts. And so, they would have
the dam lit up at light and they were continually
placing concrete, building it higher and higher. And shows you that they had to
have the electricity in order to keep the dam construction
moving or they would be
stymied by that. And so, electricity
was very important in building of the
Arrowrock Dam. It wasn’t the first time that
was used for but certainly, very much in a large,
large scale. So, one of the interesting
things was this cable way system. So, they devised a system to– string a series of cables
across the dam with towers. And here, we see it in 1915. We see a tower over here. There’s a linger wood
tower system here. And it goes across and
there are two here. This is 100-foot tower here
and they’re 260-foot there. And you see it would bring
material out from the bottom, the bedrock in this portion,
and then they double here in this hopper and they crash
that rock and they would it in the concrete mixing
production for the dam. They were very much
focused on trying to be thrifty with this project. We would think of today, they
were just being economical. They re-used a lot of
materials that were raw to make this– to finish dam. So here, we see this
two-yard gravel bucket. Imagine how huge it is. You got Manny fits gladly in it. I want to think I would
want to rest in there but it’s definitely a
large piece of machinery. And so, these cableways would
take this and pick it up, bring it high up
on to the hillside where this hopper was located
and then they would dump that material into it and
crush it and screen it. And then, they would try to
make a concrete out of it. So this carrier was used
from many different things. We see it here, they’re
using just rudimentary with a grab bucket in
getting out the material, bringing it up and deposit it. But also was used as a way to ferry things across
the dam site. So here, we see, here’s a
narrow-gauge locomotive being carried across. So again, same thing like with
the 7-ton Atlantic steam shovel, they took it apart and
they do what they could. Stuck it out around
cables and strung it all across the canyon here. That was very ingenious that
they were very thoughtful and they really want to
make sure they had good use of the equipment they had. These are taken on
April 2nd, 1915. It shows 8 foot by 8 foot skips. These are getting to ready
to dump the load of concrete. So, not only that we have the
gravel bucket bringing material up and deposit it,
then later on, we have it bringing up concrete. And one the main things with
the first things with these dam and they made it the
8th wonder of the world, was use of the Crowe
concrete distribution system. So, Frank Crowe,
France, his name, his official name devised a
system to be used on a cableway to help deliver concrete
to the dam. And we see here being started
with a small floor pour. We have the two components
right here and here. And this had never
been done before. This technique was
used later in dams such as Hoover and elsewhere. But it never been done so that
comes in on a conveying bucket, it was an automatic
dump we see here. And then it goes
into a swivel hopper. And so, they could
put that batch in. They could three yards
of concrete in it. Bring in the hopper
then they could pour it out here on the dam. Gentleman earlier on asked me about if they had
used a wheelbarrow, if someone had a wheelbarrow. And this one here is if that
was when you use some of them. I’m not really sure because
they have this system where they could
deliver the concrete in the sections in
this occasion. It doesn’t mean they didn’t used
a wheelbarrow somewhere else in the dam’s construction. But it’s only here,
they were using this because this is very efficient. They use this system for two
8-hour shifts 6 days a week. And we see here the
second section of the dam under construction
and being poured, so very much somewhat we still
live today a very much a wet muddy mess of the concrete. And it’s being poured in
all kinds of directions to get the right amount. So, the real unusual thing on this dam is it specified
the use of ensign valves. O.H. Ensign devised a way
to use reservoir pressure to have a horizontal plunger
or needle that moves forward and backward to open or close. And this was something
that was a new technology. And it had been tried before in
several other reclamation dams and had kind of worked OK
but it had been retrofitted or in someday was specified for
something that was brand new. And Arrowrock required
20 of these. And I thought it was very
interesting because I was so– how did you get these
things installed in a dam? Because these as you
can tell are not small. Well, they brought
in a railroad car. Interesting is they brought
them in, just like we saw with the Atlantic steam shovel
and narrow gauge locomotive. And then they had
to disassemble them. So, just disassemble, one
here is a disassembling of 58 inch ensign valve
prior to insulation. This is on December 18th, 1914. So, they brought it in
and they took it all apart and labeled it. In here you could see,
they start taking apart and used the cableway
system to bring it up over the dam onto
the other side. So here, we see the– here,
we see the [inaudible], the face of the dam,
looking on the south side, we can see a 7-ton piston
going up the cableway. I always think, you know, look
at the amount of ingenuity and fearlessness that they
do some of these things. Here’s a base ring
going across the canyon. It’s going to be
installed in the dam. Imagine, that 7 tons. And then, it was transferred
from the cableway to a car which then go to the deck
to be lowered and placed. And that’s what we see here. Now, they’ve swung it all
the way across the valley. And they put it down
here on this little car. There are gauge rails and
then they’ll take it to a deck which is then going to put it down on the other
side of the dam. And you again look
at all the lumber. I mean, they had the [inaudible]
cricket cut all that, cut all the trees
and make it work. So here we see, it
being lowered the piston in the trash rock
structure on the backside. So, it was a quiet and event,
just to get this installed, they had had to it 20
times, they had 20 of these. Bring it up and bring
it down and put in place then assemble
all down there. So here on this view
from August 3rd in 1915, we see them in place. You see two more, that
are left to be finished. So, it was more what
the dam would look like nearly when it was done. And these valves
were very efficient. They did not need to have any
electric power, they’re operated by hand, they’re open or
were lever or they’re open, they were shot in one mark. So you see, they’re
fully open or closed. And here we see a 9,000 CFS
coming out over the dam. Here’s upper and lower
valves being opened. Now, we’re going to talk a
little about sand concrete. That was this dam was buillt of. This was the first
one to build that way. And you see the missed
from the dam. So, I’m going to talk a little
bit what that caused later on the dams lifelong longevity. So, we see the sand
cement plant here. And the sand cement was
something that they devised, recommend sort of testing
concrete and its uses. And they discovered that portland cement
was very, very heavy. So for you to ship all the way up from Boise even
though it’s 20 miles away, it’s extremely heavy,
it cost a lot of money. They felt, “Hey we could take
this material, we can pulverize and make it small
and we can combine with some portland cement. We can get a mixture. We get a blend.” And this blend will
turn out to be a strong as pure portland concrete. And so, they were able to save
over $250,000 back in the day by doing the sand concrete
mixture and making the material from the riverbed and spillway
that they’ve blast out or moved. Do you have an idea how
much money that is today, I mean $250,000 still
wasn’t seems changed. But back in that era, in
1915, that’ll be $6 million. So, that was quite
a cost savings. And so, when they mixed in
the sand concrete plant, we saw there, then
they went and took it to the concrete mixing plant. They have a 3-cubic
yard electric dump cars and mixers and a trolley system. So the dam was completed
somewhat on October 4th 1915. Actually, it wasn’t completed
until November that year but they have 4,000
people come up from Boise so here’s a special
train, all passenger cars. They came up as I mentioned
in my teaser for this event. Governor Alexander
awarded as one of the Greatest Engineering
Achievements of Mankind. The other thing is that
they let people mill around. They give them barbecue, meat
and vegetables and grains from the Boise project lands
that were served by this dam. So everyone got a free meal. When people milled around,
they did certain things and they wanted to make
sure people were safe. One of the things was– is
they do not want anyone going down the 6,037 foot
long log way. Well [ Laughter ] It’s a hundred years ago. But people still the same
back then as we were now. People went down that
and they got stuck. And so, one of the reclamation
service employees was caught saying, “We nailed
up that entrance to keeping fool such as you out. ” [ Laughter ] So as I mentioned, the dam was
dedicated on October 4th 1915. But actually, it wasn’t
completed until November. Then you can see
enough photograph that that the globe wasn’t
on the light fixture. Dam is still there today. Go up and see it. Take a look at it. I have my cousin here. She– [inaudible]
in the audience. But she’s actually been in. So it’s a great structure. It’s really cool. It’s something you can see
and be a part of today. You can’t go on it due
to security reasons today but you can certainly
drive by and see it. So, I’m going to finish here. And you see, people in
Idaho were so proud of it. They even have [inaudible]
labels made with Arrowrock brand. Anyone have any questions? Yes?>>So how much longer
will it last?>>Well, it’s very, very strong. Now, the sand concrete as I
mentioned was a great mixture and did really well in fact. But unlike Elephant Butte Dam
which is the other dam build by Reclamation Service
in New Mexico. That missed from
the ensign valve. You don’t want to cause that
dam to get eroded over time. And it really got
pitted within 20 years, they have to rephase
the whole dam with Portland concrete,
strict concrete. But it’s still very sound today. Even though the other portion
of the dam is sand concrete, it’s still as strong as
it was when it was built. They made sure that they had
different types of check systems in it and guards and gutters. They help break the water out. And so, it’s not going anywhere. I can see it here,
Christian’s here but it’s not– the
press is gone. In 1985, someone asked the
dam tender, “What would happen if we had a cataclysmic,
you know, 500-year flood, would it wipe out the dam? He said, “No. It would just go over.” Yes sir. [ Inaudible Remark ] Right. So then, during
the summer time, they had three shifts. And so, they would have a
shift, for example, you know, do you have an idea of
the time for the kitchen, they would breakfast at 4:15,
that’s for the first shift. And then, they have their
last breakfast at 6:00 for the graveyard shift. So they would have three
shifts working on the summer. Then on the winter time, it
just kind of back to one or two. And they may have focused on
different areas of the dam at that time to work on
[inaudible] the concrete. They had assembled some of
the mechanical components within the dam at that time.>>What happened
to the little city?>>Little city. Lasted there for several years. Everyone, of course, moved out. The agency in 1941, you
could see in some maps, there was some buildings, the
office building was still there. But most of it was raised. And again, I’m from Yakima, I’m not a native
Boisean person, Idahoan. So someone may say, “Well, I’ve
got a house that was shipped down there,” may be the idea but
that’s a long way to ship out. I believe of what I found
is that they raised most but they actually
made it a park. And so, it’s all gone today. But, as I told this [inaudible]
archeologist, there’s lots of archeology there because
it had a sewer system and had a water system
and all these components. So it may be wiped off from
what we can see in the ground but it doesn’t mean
below ground, there are some things there.>>So you have mentioned
the raising the [inaudible].>>Yes.>>What is the purpose
of that location? [Inaudible]>>Yes.>>– future,>>Yes. [ Inaudible Remark ] Yes, yes. That I can’t
comment on because I don’t who [inaudible] on that. But all I can say is
they raise it back then to get more water storage. You know, they were able to
raise it at 5 feet and get and then, and even if
it sound like a lot, that’s where the whole
area the reservoir pulls. So, that’s a lot
of acre-feet water. And that’s why they
raised it back then. You know, they built the dam. They thought it would be enough
but then they realized, “Well, we got to have another dam. We’re going to build Anderson
Ranch Dam from 1941-1950. So–>>Does anybody die
on this project?>>You know, that’s
interesting thing. Someone asked about that. There was article in the Idaho
Statesman recently, I don’t know if you folks saw that. They said that 12 people
had died because of that. Actually, when I
researched and do the work for the Historic American
Engineering record, I never found much
indication of that. Now, it doesn’t mean
it didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean, the
agency didn’t have to note that although think they would. I found some in 1958, they had
a gentleman working in Oregon on a– embankment dam and he
rolled his dump truck and died. So that was in the records. So I’m not sure. So then, there were
people who were injured, if they have ever seen a broken
arm or loss of finger or, you know, a foot,
things like that. But not that I can say
they verify, I’m not saying that what Idaho Statesman
said wasn’t correct but certainly it’s
something I couldn’t find when I did Historic
American Engineering record. I wanted to make sure that
it was accurate and complete. No, I couldn’t verify,
I didn’t put it in.>>We only have one more
question so everybody else– [ Inaudible Remark ]>>Yes.>>So, I saw that
they have a big–>>Yes.>>Whatever you call those.>>Yes. [ Inaudible Remark ]>>So then, what is that
connected to [inaudible].>>Yes, in blasting, they put
holes and they put anchors on the walls and actually, because Lucky Peak
reservoir now comes up to the bottom
of Arrowrock Dam. But when it got down, Christian’s back here
who’s on the camera. She actually was there doing
some [inaudible] for the heir and discovered that some of those pedestals
were still there. And so, even though
those towers are gone, there are the pedestals
still on the same spot. OK, let’s see. Who has been patient? Who’s– gentleman
with the glasses? You. Yes.>>When did the actual
planning for this dam start?>>It actually started, oh gosh. It started quite a
few years before. They actually want to
build the dam first, but they couldn’t
get funding for that. They said, why don’t you
build the Boise diversion dam and build the New York Canal
and the Deer Flat Embankment, and so on the so forth, first,
before you get to do that. But certainly, they started
construction in 1911 of May and started planning it in 1909,
pretty consistently drawing up plans and informational
on that. OK. Let’s see gentlemen?>>How long did it take to
dig that diversion tunnel? Do you know the figure?>>You know– Just an off the
cuff response would be I think it took about six
months or less. It wasn’t very long. You know, they had drills, so they could do it a lot
faster than doing by hand. But that was the first
thing they had to do to help reroute the
river around there. Gentleman behind you?>>Yeah, was structural
concrete, it has to be vibrated, once it’s poured to get
the air pockets out of it? Did they have a device
like that?>>Back then, no. So again, you’re
testing grounds. And we’re building up
farther and farther on dam construction we knew
with the trial load method and dam design certainly,
you know, and later dams, they have that type of
thing to help vibrate that. But you know, they were
learning as they went. There were four dams
built before this for reclamation service
and several of those are just masonry dams
like Roosevelt dam in Arizona, Shoshone Dam in Wyoming. And so, you didn’t have the
development that you do today, and some of that
[inaudible] technology.>>What was the maximum
size of the aggregate?>>Oh gosh. They try to get it fairly small. That’s a figure I can’t
remember here, but I could talk to you later about it from the
information I’ve pulled here. But it was fairly small. They didn’t try to get,
you know, a big aggregate. Yeah, yeah. And they were very
much working on that. They tested it in
places there and also in San Francisco what
size of the aggregate that works the best
for this mixture and–>>So did you talk
about the electricity where it was [inaudible],
that cluttered diversion dam?>>It was generally the
Boise diversion dam. Our house is there today.>>And do they light
all the houses and just like a dishwasher [inaudible]?>>Yup, yup. Yeah, so we had electricity
and you had indoor plumbing. And you have steam heat. OK. Lady in the red.>>Was that the same
frame [inaudible] that worked on the Hoover Dam?>>That’s correct.>>I thought so. And they learned a lot
from this day, aren’t they?>>Correct, yeah. I didn’t see enough, you
know, it’s just outside Idaho. But the Arrowrock, you know, Boise’s dam is the
world’s tallest dam to Owyhee dam on the BR project. And that incorporated some of these new things
you are learning and each time they
built another dam, they did something different. I know this worked
and that didn’t work. So just always learning
from that. This gentleman over here.>>My grandfather’s brother
was one person who did that [inaudible] dam,
however it’s my understanding that in engineering, articles
all over the world, at times, there would be people
marveling at how a, very, very few people died
building it and b, very, very, few people if any died
from disease in the camp. That was just a miracle.>>Yeah. And they worked
really hard on that. And you find records,
you’re seeing how you know, someone came down to
somebody because they had– I showed pictures of a hospital and also had an isolation
hospital. And they did it just from what
that gentleman was saying. Someone came down and suddenly
they put them in isolation. They made sure sure it didn’t
spread amongst the 1400 people there were living there. OK. Who is next? [ Inaudible Question ] No, that’s United States
reclamation information service. [ Inaudible Remarks ] [ Inaudible Question ] Yes, yup. All the
Arrowrock system for the Boise project
had been built out for the Arrowrock
division at that time. The one thing added after Arrowrock was
the Anderson Ranch dam. So they actually had built
out the irrigation canals, Deer Flat Embankment,
the lateral systems to irrigate the valley. Now, there is a Payette
Division which came later with the Black Canyon
Diversion dam and Deadwood dam, how they irrigate that part
of the whole Boise project. But the Arrowrock division,
it was ready to go as soon as they turned the
water on from the dam.>>So how was the
Lucky Peak better?>>Lucky Peak is an
army corps of engineers which is not United
States reclamation service. And what I was told, it was
built for flood control. And that’s why they built it. It did work as flood control but it was built
primarily to store water. I mean, it did work
as both things, but they built Lucky
Peak for flood control. So again, I’m not
a native Idahoan and so I can tell a whole
story on that but I know that there’s been a lot
of concern over the years of the flooding in the Boise
River and what they can do to retire that and keep
that river in check.>>I don’t understand
the sand concrete, could you explain that again?>>So, sand concrete
is a portion, and I don’t have my notes
in front of me on that, but what they did is they took
a portion of Portland cement, and so you can just trade
Portland cement then they combine it with pulverized
granite or other type of aggregate material that was
ground to be very, very small. They’re going to be very fine
sieve that was sorted over time and ground down to be
just a fine mixture. And so then they
combined it together. So they mix it together
and plant. So they were, like you
would take flour and salt, you mix the two together. [ Inaudible Remark ] Yeah, it was an economic
thing and at that time, if I– hey this is great you
know, we can do this. We can combine this, we
can save all this money and they did it there and they
were building Elephant Butte Dam in about the same
time in New Mexico. But those are the
only two ever built because they discover
surely thereafter that that really wasn’t
that good of an idea. Yeah.>>So, is it the State of
Idaho that helped build the dam or was it all federal money?>>All federal money. Yeah it was that over
almost 5 million dollars. [ Inaudible Question ] Well, they taper
some of the cost. And that’s more of an
accounting information. It’s very interesting how
some of those things work. United States reclamation
service was started in 1902 and helped develop the arid West and would build irrigation
systems and they’re going to build these out and then
they would have irrigations at the same time, [inaudible]
would help come and take over and do operations
management systems and start paying that back, OK? But that doesn’t
mean necessarily that they got it completely. For example, where I’m
from in the Yakima Valley, there’s a titan irrigation to
[inaudible] irrigation district. And that district in 1947
was the first in the nation to pay off all of their
construction cost. But, we still own the system. So even though they paid us off, the federal government still
owns the irrigation system. And I know that there was money
spent back to pay for the cost of Arrowrock Dam by
the Nampa and Meridian, and all the other irrigation
districts in the area. But it also was part of when the
Boise project was transferred over for operation
and maintenance by these various irrigation
districts and energies. This was retained by
the federal government. So the United States government
still owns Arrowrock dam. Anyone else?>>Just curious where
they [inaudible]?>>Boise was always a regional
headquarters like it is today, for the reclamation service for
the Pacific Northwest region which is Oregon, Washington
and Western Montana. As to workers, you know,
they advertise your people to come work on the
dam, I wish I knew more. But I think they came from different parts
throughout the country. They had a very solid labor
force as the gentleman mentions, they didn’t have
problems with disease, you know, they had good food. And so they kind of
had a very solid force, it didn’t change
the a whole lot. You know, you see other
projects for example, some private [inaudible] they be
hiring people every other week. There are so many people
left here and there. And wish I could tell you more,
but I believe that they all came from probably around the general
area, we’re in the western US. But these people also may have
not had a lot of education because I found references where the steward
helped them write letters to family back east. Yes sir.>>Yeah, the construction
engineer Charles Hall. He was from Holden,
Massachusetts and his younger brother
worked on the dam as well and wrote a novel
about the gullies, so Arrowrock dam is
just called Lather Rock which is a strange name for it. You know, [inaudible] 1929
is a very readable novel, so short novels less
than 200 pages long. I loaned it to a friend of mine
who’s a dedicated fly fisherman, went over to Sun Valley. And he started reading it
and instead of going down and fly fishing, he stayed in the hotel all day
reading the book. I know it’s fascinating
but– It’s out of, print. But the name of it is Arrowrock
remain Leather Rock, if anyone, it’s very readable,
novel and it’s factual. About the events, so they’re
going to change its name, and so on but the events that
are part described in the novel or things that actually
happened [inaudible].>>Well, I think [inaudible] did
work on the data that we started in 1912, the [inaudible]
neighbors and I know Harry worked
throughout the day.>>No, now I was only built
by the reclamation service. They didn’t contract
out with anybody. It was built from 1911, to 1915. [inaudible] many
other dams on things and the reclamation
service would contract that out, but not Arrowrock. It was all done in-house. Yes? There is today. There’s a 15,000
kilowatt plant done by the Boise boarder control. And that little plant
is there at the bottom. Interestingly enough,
when they built the dam, they actually had
designed it and two spots of the tubes coming out from
the ensign valves to be wider for hydroelectric
power generation. But they never built that. Thank you,>>Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you all for coming.

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