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Building the Grand Coulee Dam

The M.W.A.K. Columbian. Vol. I, No. 1 (March 1935) through Vol. III, No. 1 (8 January 1937).

A collection of 58 non-consecutive issues of the newsletter put out by the Safety Department of the Mason-Walsh-Atkinson-Kier Co. (M.W.A.K.) for its workers, together with a single bonus unnumbered newsletter, edited by Pete Shrauger, most issues approx. 6-12 pp. and printed on various colors of paper, with information including notices about safety, safety tips, statistics about injuries on the job site, news about local events, and advertisements for locals stores and movie theaters, as well as details about the progress of the construction itself, including an overview of different types of dams, the completion of the railroad bridge, projected details about the size and cost of the dam, an article on the Mason City gravel pit, an essay on the mess hall, information on the cement plant, details of shaft and tunnel work, and many other relevant stories. Scattered illustrations from hand-drawn sketches which illustrate both the main stories as well as the social and cultural events, such as food specials at restaurants and movie theater showings. Some slight scattered staining and soiling, overall very good. 4to. Original stapled self-wrpps. Mason City, Washington (M.W.A.K. Safety Department) 1935-1937.

The Mason-Walsh-Atkinson-Kier Company were the contractors hired to construct the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, a concrete dam on the Columbia River. M.W.A.K. was actually a consortium of three companies - Silas Mason Co. from Louisville, KY; Walsh Construction Co. from Davenport, IA and NYC; and the Atkinson-Kier Company from San Francisco and San Diego, CA - who teamed up to propose a joint bid for the project. The dam was built between 1933 and 1942 with two powerhouses, with the goal of producing hydroelectric power and providing irrigation water. After a debate between two groups, one of which wanted to irrigate the ancient riverbed with a gravity canal, the other of which wanted to build a high dam, the dam supporters won out. Initially, for fiscal reasons, a "low dam" was planned which would generate electricity but not irrigation water, but after a visit to the construction site by President Roosevelt in 1934, the "high dam" design was approved. During construction of the dam, workers faces various hurdles and setbacks, including the relocation of Native American graves, the construction of temporary fish ladders, landslides, and the need to protect newly poured concrete from freezing. Scarce; as of January 2020, WorldCat locates six partial holdings in North American libraries.

A full list of issues is available upon request.

Book ID: 50490

Price: $3,500.00