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Page - Lake Powell, Arizona - Page 2

Page began as a construction camp 43 years ago for workers on the giant hydroelectric project known as Glen Canyon Dam and Powerplant.

A reciprocal agreement was made with the Navajo Tribe to transfer 16.7 square miles of Manson Mesa to the Bureau of Reclamation in exchange for certain desirable lands in southeastern Utah.

Glen Canyon Dam in 1961Survey work began in early 1957 to lay out the streets of the town then unnamed. It would be given the name of the Honorable John C. Page who served as commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration from 1937-43. Mr. Page died in 1955 without seeing the Glen Canyon Dam or the town.

Workers for the Glen Canyon Dam first lived in a construction camp on the west side of the canyon with a footbridge connecting the east side—700 feet over the Colorado River gorge. As more construction workers arrived daily, trailers were placed by the score in rows on the mesa.

Businesses started arriving. Babbit Brothers Trading Company was the first supermarket—Page Rexall Drug the first pharmacy. The Bureau furnished three warehouses for use as school buildings. They were placed just east of the homes on the sweeping curve of South Navajo Drive.

Living in early Page meant no television, poor radio reception and not much to do so the people made their own entertainment. Dances, barbeques, 16 mm films and gatherings were popular.

The first movie theater opened here in 1960 with limited showings during the week. Hollywood came to Page in 1962 with the filming of "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and the movie industry followed that epic with many more films, television commercials and magazine photo layouts.

Not everything was peaceful in the early days. Dam construction workers, seeking higher wages, struck for six months in the summer of 1959. The strike ended on December 24, 1959—Christmas Eve—and what a joyous Christmas that was for everyone. Work resumed January 2, 1960, after a new contract was signed.

Page's population took a downward swing when the dam was completed in 1963. In would climb up again in 1970 when ground was broken for the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired plant east of town on the Navajo Reservation.

And a new era would begin.



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