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Bridge helped Page connect with neighbors

Modified: Thursday, Jun 7th, 2007


Photos courtesy Powell Museum (First photo) The Glen Canyon Bridge dedication on Feb. 20, 1959, had approximately 7,500 people attending the ceremonies. This picture was taken from the top of Beehive, a natural rock formation. (Second photo) The final chord on the Colorado River Bridge was lowered into place on Aug. 6, 1958.
The milestones of a town are incremented by the news of the day. Its growth is chronicled and kept for posterity in way of the written word in newspapers. The Page Signal newspaper announced in the Jan. 25, 1959, edition, “You’ll Receive Your Signal Every Week; New Policy Set.”

It set out its expansion policy on the front page along with its major headlines, “Starting with this week’s issue, the Page Signal will be published every week, in keeping with the rapid development of our community. Delivery will be every Wednesday through the mail, starting Jan. 28, and the staff of the Signal will make every effort to keep its readers up-to-the-minute on events in our community.

“Publication of a weekly newspaper not only will provide for a fresher presentation of news but also will give Page businessmen a wider opportunity for advantageous advertising programs.”

The community of Page had been up and growing for approximately a year-and-a-half. Progress has been made on all fronts, especially the completion of the Glen Canyon Bridge. The newspaper headline stated: “Glen Canyon Span Opening Ceremonies Set for February 20.”

“The spectacular 700-foot-high bridge at the Glen Canyon Dam site, the world’s highest steel arch bridge, will be completed and opened for public use in a dedication ceremony on Feb. 20, it was announced this week by E.O. Larson, Regional Director Region 4, (U.S.) Bureau of Reclamation.

“Governor Paul Fannin of Arizona and Governor George D. Clyde of Utah, along with other state and federal dignitaries, will participate in the dedication of the Glen Canyon Bridge, Mr. Larson said.

“The $4,100,000 Glen Canyon Bridge will connect newly constructed highways for an alternate route of U.S. Highway 89 completing a new north-south link between the states of Utah and Arizona. Located at the Glen Canyon Dam site, the new bridge will greatly facilitate the building of Glen Canyon Dam.

“Project Construction Engineer F. L. Wylie pointed out that the final work on the bridge is still underway. Bridge construction to be completed includes building about one mile of alternate cuts and fills on the bridge approaches, and the installation of railings, lights and other finishing work. Completion of the bridge by the Kiewit-Judson Pacific Murphy firms is scheduled for Feb. 17.

“The arrangements for the bridge opening ceremony are being made by the Bureau of Reclamation, State Highway officials of Arizona and Utah, and the Chambers of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Kanab, Utah, the anchor cities on the new highway route.

“The promise of change for Arizona and Utah with the opening of the Glen Canyon Bridge is immense. The connection of the two states not only joins the land but the people for ease of access between the states.”

The stronger connection of media and road for the people of Page began to solidify the existence as a city with each new dedication. Their hard work is paying off as life grounds itself in everyday conveniences that were only dreams. There is more to come, and that realization gives their labor meaning and a strong bond among those that toil side by side each day.

After 50 years, we celebrate their efforts and their accomplishments. To the founders, the descendants, and the children of those who gave their years to the development of Page, the bridge, and Glen Canyon Dam, we thank you.

(Nancy Walter is the executive director of Powell Museum. “A Page Out of History” appears in the Chronicle on the first and third Wednesdays.)

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