Thursday, January 28, 2016

Theodore Roosevelt Dam

Our long time friends Bob and Terry Roseberry are now residing in Mesa, AZ.  They invited us to spend the day driving to Globe and then around to Roosevelt Dam and then back to our campground over the Apache Trail Scenic Byway.  Most drive the road from Apache Junction to Globe and on back to the valley, but Bob wanted us to be on the outside so we could fully appreciate the drive.  Which we did!

First, here are Bob and Terry. 

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Roosevelt Dam was built between 1905 and 1911 just below the confluence of the Tonto Creek and Salt River at a narrow canyon location where Natives and early settlers crossed.  It was the largest masonry dam in the world at the time with a height of 280 feet.  It is thought that the dam contributed more than any other project to the settlement of Central Arizona.  In 1989 a expansion and renovation project encased the original “rubble-massonry” dam  in concrete and raised the dam from 280 to 357 feet.  A bridge was also built at that time so that cars would not drive over the top of the dam.  At the completion of this project a drought kept the lake from reaching its full capacity until 2009. 

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The Visitor’s center had a informative video about the construction of the dam.  Materials used in construction were brought up the Apache trail by mule and wagon.  Families lived in makeshift housing in the area as told by a woman who was a young girl at the time.  She told of personally witnessing the start of an entire mule team, teamster and wagon go off a cliff before she covered her eyes and ran.  

It also told how early developers recognized the need for water for the Arizona valley.  This led to three additional dams and lakes below Roosevelt as well as other projects in the area.  This water feeds the canels that provide water in the Phoenix area.  As I mentioned earlier,  Dan and I rode our bikes along the Highline Canal. 

A side note about the canals:  The park ranger at Lost Dutchman gave  a short history of the canals on a moonlight hike (that’s another story).  Archaeologists believe the Hohokam Indians were peaceful farmers who inhabited the valley  from AD 300 to 1450.  They were known for digging ditches to irrigate their crops.  The modern canals follow these same routes.

I have a few more pictures of our drive from the dam along the Apache Trail Scenic Byway, but that would put too many pictures on one post.  I’ll continue with those tomorrow.

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