The United States government's Bureau
of Reclamation argued that damming Glen Canyon would control
the flow of the Colorado River, provide water storage, and be
a source of hydroelectric
power for cities in the growing West. An added benefit was
a beautiful 176-mile-long lake, called Lake Powell, that would
serve as an easily accessible recreation area and would boost
tourism in southeastern Utah. As a result of the dam, the town
of Page, Arizona, prospered and provided food and lodging for
tourists visiting the new lake.
|Glen Canyon Dam won the “Outstanding Engineering
Achievement Award for 1964” and the 700-foot-high bridge next
to the dam was awarded the “Most Beautiful Bridge Award”
In April 1965, the Government Printing Office released a thirty-page
promotional pamphlet titled Lake Powell: Jewel of the Colorado.
In it, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Floyd Dominy,
who led the Glen Canyon Dam project, wrote about the beauty of
Lake Powell and proposed future dams in the Grand Canyon. The
pamphlet also combined photographs of Lake Powell with poems written
for the occasion:
To have a deep blue lake
Where no lake was before
Seems to bring man
A little closer to God.
I sing a song for common man
Desk-numbed and city trapped;
Now free now hearing clearly
Great chords of healing solitude.
Lake Powell: Jewel of the Colorado was meant to counter
two books: Time and the River Flowing by Francious Leydet
(a document of a trip down the Colorado beginning at Glen Canyon
Dam) and The Place No One Knew.
Canyon Dam] is food for growing America, drinking water for
dwellers in an arid country, electric energy to provide the comforts
of life and to turn the wheels of industry....Most significant
of all, however, it is health and fun and the contentment
of contemplating Nature's beauty for thousands who might never
experience these thrills of the outdoors if engineers had not
inserted between the steep walls of Glen Canyon a mammoth concrete
slab to control and clear the erratic river that used to be known
as the Big