Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Doorway - Damn Dam

"The Gillespie Dam was constructed in 1921 by a local rancher to replace an existing structure. As the dam was located at an important river crossing that would later become US Route 80, the Arizona Highway Department - the predecessor to the Arizona Department of Transportation - constructed a concrete apron at the foot of the dam to allow for vehicular crossings. As the dam was a simple spillover construction, during times of heavy runoff cars would have to be pulled through the flow by trucks, and during floods could not cross at all.

In anticipation of the formation of the United States Highway System in 1926, the Highway Department commissioned the construction of a steel truss bridge just downstream from the dam." (See our post Bridges and Politicians) All this information comes courtesy of Wikipedia.

Now here's where the "doorway" part comes in.

"The winter months of 1993 saw unusually high rainfall amounts that resulted in record flows through central Arizona rivers and streams, including the Salt River, a major tributary to the Gila upstream from the Gillespie Dam. At approximately 10:30 on the morning of January 9, the dam failed when a segment approximately 120 feet (37 m) in length collapsed into the river. While the precise cause of the failure is unknown, the extreme flooding was almost certainly a contributing factor."

Now I'm not one to spread rumors, but here I go anyway.

Rumor has it that some local ranchers/farmers may have had a hand in "helping" the bridge to "fail".  Thus creating a doorway where none should rightfully be.


Brian Miller said...

sneaky sneaky...that holes a little big to put my finger

easing back in today, missed all my friends.

Kathy said...

You have to watch out for those farmer/rancher types. They're the ones who painted water towers in high school. And I bet you wonder how I know that!

Great pictures. Are they both from 1993.

Off to Tempe today to do you know what!

Jarart said...

Hmmmmm....That was interesting. People don't think about Arizona as a place where floods might happen, but we who live here, know only too well.

Magpie said...

Brian - Yes it would be a difficult hole to plug. Welcome back. You've been missed.

Kathy - Yes, I know all about those farmer/rancher types..paint? what paint? Actually, both pictures were taken this month.

Judy - So true...if you haven't read Half Broke Horses you should give it a try. The first chapter deals with flash floods here in Arizona.

Small City Scenes said...

I loved 'Half Broke Horses'! I have never heard anyone mention that book.

Did any ranches need water? The dam was started by a rancher and taken over by the gov't--so what does that tell you? It was for one reason and taken and turned into another reason. MB

Small City Scenes said...

I have Glass Castles--The library never had it and couldn't get it so I found it at a used book store. I just started it. If you email me your address I will send it to you. My email is on my profile. MB

Thérèse said...

Quite an interesting post. More water is always better in Arizona!