Building the Dam

After a well attended ground breaking ceremony; on an overcast day in June of 1946, with speeches by state and federal officials, construction was ready to begin.

By 1948, construction on the town was in full swing. A contractor’s crew with heavy

equipment began to remove material from the site of the dam’s powerhouse,

approach channel and outlet works and to place it in the embankment.

Great Marion diesel/electric shovels scooped out 13 cubic yards a bite from the borrow areas. The shovel filled each of the 44-cubic yard capacity trucks used on the site with just 3-4 such bites.

The trucks dumped the earth on the embankment, and other equipment graded it

down and sprinkled it with water. The sprinkling permitted the soil to be compacted to the desired density. Great sheep's foot rollers ran back and forth over the fill compressing it.

A lighting system allowed the work to proceed at night through two 10-hour shifts, 

six days a week. At the height of construction almost 5,000 people worked on the dam.

Marion diesel/electric shovels worked 24/7

Heavy duty equipment moved massive amounts of earth.

A 'Sheep's Foot' helps prepare the ground
Contractors batch plant prepared materials
Aerial view looking north, showing the begining of excavation for the spillway structure.
The townsite is above that.
Work went on around the clock.
The custom built 'Jumbo' was used to cut tunnels through the chalk.
Aerial view looking south showing work on embankment and intake tunnels.
Water trucks sprayed water to keep the dust down.
Loose chalk being removed from a tunnel.
Intake towers on the upstream side
Wall "A" on the downstream side.
Panaroma shows the scope of the construction
Transition area from spiral casing to draft tubes.
Spiral "scroll" casing in place.
Construction of the powerhouse began
Surge tanks under construction
Aerial view shows begining construction of powerhouse
Excavation of spillway apron 
The dredge Western Chief was a vital part of the construction process.
The completed powerhouse control room, generator floor and exterior view of the powerhouse, dam embankment and surge tanks.