Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grand Coulee Dam Roundup Post

One of my employers, Eastern Washington University, is unveiling its Grand Coulee Dam Photographic Collection with a public reception on take place 2-3 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. Featured is the Hubert C. Blonk Collection. Blonk was "a journalist who covered the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam for the short-lived Grand Coulee Record and the Wenatchee Daily World."

A large portion of the collection is online here. Most of the photographs are the prosaic fare of a small-town mid-20th century newspaper photographer and the collection includes lots of images of meetings and ceremonies and events such as fires or store openings. There are some very striking images to be found, however. Some of my favorites include this driller at work on the dam, a 1950 visit by Harry Truman to the dam, a picture of the infamous B Street (subject of this fine book), and this image of the Grand Coulee before the dam was built.

If you are interested in the history of Grand Coulee Dam, the University of Washington has an excellent digital collection as well. So does Central Washington University. This privately maintained site has many Bureau of Reclamation photographs of the dam construction. And the University of Idaho has a broader collection about dams in the Pacific Northwest. For moving images, Archive.org has a number of period newsreels about the construction of the dam.

Finally, Woody Guthrie famously composed a series of songs about the dam in 1941, including my favorite, Roll on Columbia, hilariously performed here by the Japanese duo The Old Ridge Ramblers:

1 comment:

Craig said...

Terrific guitar duet! I remember singing that song in junior high school. For me it was the closest thing I knew to a religious experience. I think my grandmother's younger brother worked on that dam as a truck driver. After it was built he traded up for a Mayflower franchise in Moses Lake.