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Early History Settlement Construction Era Aftermath Appendices

Construction Era

This stage in the Columbia River basin marks what Donald Worster calls "centralization and capture of power". It is the second stage of technological and economic development with environmental affects. The region of interest can no longer increase production without some systemized formation of power and control. As soon as Washington Territory became Washington State, the region had the ability to organize self-governance. When the area's top leaders heard about an idea to construct a dam, though the implementation would be monstrous, their political power forced the issue through to Congress.

A trestle
A trestle where the east powerhouse was laid.

The apparatus conctructed was a hodgepodge of gigantic statistics. A 32 mile railroad was laid just to bring materials back and forth to the site. Giant coffer dams were constructed to divert the river from its original course, so that the bottom of the river could be cleaned and polished and ready for a foundation. When a cofferdam sprung a leak, it was plugged with an old mattress. Thousands of men came to work and women aided. Two thousand miles of cooling pipes were laid during construction to keep the concrete at a controlled temperature. Output at the construction mixers maxed at 20, 684 yards of concrete in one day, setting a world record. Conveyors moved 25,00 cubic yards of sand and gravel. The project planned to irrigate a million and a quarter acres. Everything was huge.

Defining Disaster Debates & Solutions Selling the Masses Electricity Fixing Nature National Symbol

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