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roosevelt-dam-arizona

Centennial Time Capsule Completes Journey

A time capsule to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt Dam was delivered to the dam today and placed in the tunnel area, where it will remain until it is opened for the structure’s 150th anniversary in 2061.

The new time capsule, filled with new items that best describe water and power and how they impact residents of the Salt River Valley, replaces the original version that was installed at the dam in 1961 and then opened in the spring of 2011.

During the run-up to the Roosevelt Dam Centennial in March 2011, Salt River Project invited employees and customers to contribute ideas via Facebook and e-mails for the contents of the new capsule, which was themed, “How water and power influence our lives in the desert we call home.”

Currently, background information, diagrams and pictures related to the time capsule are on display at the Tonto Basin Visitors Center. Eventually, there will be a permanent display at the Dam lookout point, said Ileen Snoddy, community outreach representative for SRP.

“We felt the time capsule would be a great way to preserve the history of this great area of Arizona,” said Snoddy.  “The items in the time capsule capture the spirit of SRP and of water reclamation in Arizona. It’s exciting to imagine what the reaction will be at the 150th anniversary in 2061.”

Among the items included in the new time capsule:
* Copper shavings from the 1961 time capsule
* A digitized Roosevelt Dam Centennial video
* Centennial issue of Pulse, the SRP employee newsletter
* Paper SRP power and water bills
* List of SRP employees and Board/Council members in 2011 and an SRP employee badge
* SRP bylaws
* A cell phone, iPod, music CD, movie DVD, incandescent light bulb
* Arizona state quarter
* Aerial photo of metro Phoenix
* Arizona Diamondbacks baseball ticket from March 18, 2011, game

Before it was sealed in April, the Centennial time capsule and its new contents were on display during the spring and summer of 2011 at Phoenix-area museums, including the Arizona Science Center, Scottsdale Historical Society Little Red Schoolhouse, River of Time Museum and Superstition Mountain Historical Society.

Also on display on the centennial museum tour were items from the first Roosevelt Dam time capsule, which was embedded in the dam in 1961 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebration. Some of the items from the time capsule marking the first 50 years included:
* A telegram from President John F. Kennedy
* A roster of people present at the Golden Jubilee on March 18, 1961, and a copy of the official invitation to special guests and dignitaries
* Articles of Incorporation and bylaws of the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association
* Bylaws of the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District
* A copy of the Kent Decree, which has done much to set the pattern of water rights
* Roster of SRP employees in 1961
* SRP’s 1961 Annual Report
* Special issue of the SRP CURRENT News, which launched the Golden Jubilee celebration
* April 1961 Arizona Highways magazine titled “Water and the Thirsty Land”
* Two proclamations by Phoenix Mayor Sam Mardian Jr. and Arizona Gov. Paul J. Fannin declaring March 18, 1961, as the Theodore Roosevelt Dam Golden Jubilee

Dedicated in March 1911, Theodore Roosevelt Dam is the cornerstone of a system of waterways managed by SRP that has served as an economic catalyst in creating the Phoenix metropolitan area.  Hydroelectric power from the dam and the reliable water supply it provided helped grow the Valley’s rural areas into one of the more prosperous communities in the Southwest.

Hoover Dam Construction, 1933-1936 - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Building Achievements Turned Arizona From Frontier Outpost To Thriving Haven

In 1912, when it became the nation’s 48th state, Arizona was a challenging place to live. It was sparsely populated with small communities scattered hither and yon. Travel between towns was grueling. The lower desert was unbearably hot in the summer, and water was scarce and unreliable.

Arizona would have had a dim future if it hadn’t engineered a reliable water supply, says Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian. In 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act, Phoenix was an agricultural community that suffered through wild swings between drought and a flooding Salt River, Trimble says. Farmers and ranchers banded together as the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association to lobby for federal funding for the legislation’s first water reclamation project — construction of Roosevelt Dam northeast of Phoenix to tame the Salt and store water in Roosevelt Lake for future use.

This was the beginning of what would become Salt River Project (SRP), one of Arizona’s major utilities, and Trimble pegs the dedication of Roosevelt Dam in 1911 as the first step toward a modern Arizona. Today, SRP operates seven dams on the Salt and Verde rivers and delivers more than 1 million acre feet of water annually to Central Arizona.

But as Phoenix became increasingly urbanized, SRP’s 13,000-square-mile watershed couldn’t keep up with demand, and Arizona’s most populated areas were drawing more water out of the ground than was being replenished. As early as 1946, Arizonans began to hear about the need for delivery of Colorado River water to the Phoenix and Tucson population centers via a 336-mile canal called the Central Arizona Project. Construction of the CAP began in 1973 at Lake Havasu, and 20 years and $4 billion later, it was completed south of Tucson. The CAP delivers an average 1.5 million acre-feet of water annually to municipal, agricultural and Native American users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties, where 80 percent of Arizonans live today.

“Without the CAP, we wouldn’t have the population we have today,” says Pam Pickard, president of the CAP board of directors. “We wouldn’t have our economic base. We wouldn’t have the industry we have.”

But the CAP wouldn’t have been possible without another milestone that occurred nearly 60 years earlier — Hoover Dam and its reservoir, Lake Mead, 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Hoover Dam, constructed between 1933 and 1936, tamed the Colorado, which Trimble says was even more erratic than the Salt. The dam created reliable water supplies for Arizona’s Colorado River Valley and, eventually, Central and Southern Arizona via the CAP.

Electricity

Electrical power generation in Arizona significantly preceded statehood and provided the “juice” for future development. Another major utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), traces its roots to 1886 in Phoenix. Electricity also came to Tucson in the 1880s, but the forerunner of today’s Tucson Electric Power (TEP) didn’t come about until 1892. SRP began delivering power to an expanding customer base in the 1920s, and created the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District in 1937 to operate the utility’s power generation and distribution system.

Statistics from these utilities bear witness to Arizona’s escalating hunger for electricity. TEP had 300 customers in 1903. That grew to 16,000 in 1932; 112,600 in 1970; and more than 400,000 today. TEP generating capacity jumped from 648,000 kilowatts in 1970 to 2,229 megawatts today.

Mergers led to the creation of APS in 1952. At that time, APS served 114,000 power customers with a 324-megawatt capacity. Today, APS serves 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties with a 6,293-megawatt capability. APS also helped bring nuclear power generation to Arizona. APS operates and owns 29.1 percent of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station located about 50 miles west of Phoenix. The largest nuclear power plant in the U.S., Palo Verde’s three units are capable of producing nearly 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

SRP’s electricity customer base grew to 7,684 in 1940; 169,773 in 1970; and 942,024 by the end of 2010. Another measuring rod — peak power demand — reached an all-time high at SRP in 2006 at 6,590 megawatts.

War, Manufacturing and Refrigeration

According to Trimble, the real turning point for Arizona industry came about in less than a decade during the mid-20th century. After America’s entry into World War II in December 1941, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and Williams Air Force Base in Mesa became major training facilities for war pilots. Manufacturing for the war also contributed to Arizona’s economy, which continued to grow, Trimble says.

Then two critical milestones occurred closely together, say Trimble and another close observer of Arizona’s history, Grady Gammage Jr.

“There was a lot of home construction in Arizona after the war,” Trimble says. “GIs were moving here to start a new life. Many of them had trained in Arizona and liked the weather.”

Except perhaps for those summer temperatures, and they became less of a problem when affordable air conditioning became available in 1950, Trimble says.

Trimble points to 1950 as the year Arizona moved from a pioneer outpost to a modern state, thanks to refrigeration and a growing population that embraced it. Gammage, who is author of “Phoenix in Perspective: Reflections On Developing the Desert,” says window refrigeration units first appeared in Arizona in 1948. Two years later, Arizona led the nation in the number of window air conditioning units sold. By 1960, there was more central air conditioning in Arizona homes than window units, Gammage says.

“Refrigeration did a couple of things,” Gammage notes. “First, it was one of the critical building blocks that allowed people to move here. Second, it transformed Arizonans’ lifestyles.”

Master-Planned Communities

Arizona is home to countless master-planned residential communities, but the first one — Maryvale — opened in 1955 in West Phoenix as the post-war years exerted their influence. Its developer, John F. Long, wanted to plan and build a community where young people could buy an affordable home, raise a family and work, all in the same area. He named the development after his wife, Mary, and its influence is felt to this day.

Maryvale Billboard, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Photo: John F. Long Properties

“Because Maryvale was a master-planned community and because John did affordable housing, the master plan included a lot of parks, school sites and shopping areas,” says Jim Miller, director of real estate for John F. Long Properties. “It really was where people could live and work. If you lived in Maryvale, you weren’t more than three-quarters of a mile from a park or school. That forced a lot of other builders to adopt the same type of philosophy.”

The first homes sold for as little as $7,400, with a $52-a-month mortgage. The first week the models went on the market, 24,000 people stopped by to take a look. Long built 24,000 homes in Maryvale and by the mid-1990s, he and other developers had mostly finished the community.

Retirement Communities

A year before Maryvale opened, Ben Schleifer introduced a different lifestyle to an older demographic. In 1954, Schleifer opened Youngtown in West Phoenix, the first age-restricted retirement community in the nation, according to research by Melanie Sturgeon, director of the state’s History and Archives Division. No one younger than 50 could live there. By 1963, Youngtown had 1,700 residents and Arizona was on its way to becoming a retirement mecca.

But it was builder Del E. Webb and his construction companies that firmly established the concept of active, age-restricted adult retirement in Arizona with the opening of Sun City on Jan. 1, 1960, next to Youngtown and along Grand Avenue. According to Sturgeon’s research and a magazine observing Sun City’s 50th anniversary, about 100,000 people showed up the first three days to see the golf course, recreation center, swimming pool, shopping center and five model homes. Traffic was backed up for miles. The first homes sold for between $8,500 and $11,750. Sun City had 7,500 residents by 1964 and 42,000 by 1977, the same year Webb decided the community was big enough and he began construction on Sun City West.
Today, Arizona boasts many retirement communities.

Transportation

Two milestones that occurred decades apart cemented Phoenix’s future as Arizona’s population and economic hub.
In 1935, the city bought Sky Harbor International Airport for $100,000. Today, that investment is responsible for a $90 million daily economic impact. Sky Harbor also helped Central Arizona thrive.

Construction Interstate 17, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Photo: Arizona Department of Transportation

“As much as anywhere in the U.S., Phoenix is a creature of good air connections,” Gammage says. “There is no good rail service (in Arizona). There are no real transportation corridors. Sky Harbor has had a huge impact.”

The other milestone occurred 50 years later when the Maricopa Association of Governments approved a $6.5 billion regional freeway plan for Phoenix and voters approved a 20-year, one-half cent sales tax to fund it. By 2008, the Arizona Department of Transportation had completed the construction and Phoenix boasted 137 miles of loop freeways that linked the metro area.
The loop freeways have had a significant impact on shaping Phoenix and, ultimately, Arizona, says Dennis Smith, MAG executive director.

“The loop freeways resulted in a distribution of job centers around the Valley,” Smith says. “That allows every part of the Valley to achieve its dream and have employment closer to where the homes are. That distributes the wealth throughout the Valley.”

Smith says the freeways also extended the Valley’s reach to Yavapai, Pinal and Pima counties, creating a megapolitan area known as the Sun Corridor.

 

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Significant Infrastructure - AZRE Magazine March/April 2011

Centennial Series: Significant Infrastructure In Arizona History

AZRE’s Centennial Series for this issue focuses on 100 years of infrastructure.

Find out what is ranked as the most significant infrastructure in Arizona history:

INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM
Construction completed for the I-10: 1956-58, I-17: 1954, I-40: 1961-84

I-10: A major East-West interstate highway, it runs from California, enters Arizona, continues through Phoenix and Tucson and exits at the New Mexico border. I-17: It was the first freeway segment built in Phoenix. Although it does not go between states, it is the main freeway that takes people up to popular destinations in Northern Arizona, including the Grand Canyon.

PALO VERDE NUCLEAR GENERATING PLANT
Construction began in 1976; it was commissioned in 1988.

Palo Verde is the largest nuclear generating facility in the U.S., averaging more than 3.2 gigawatts of electrical power. Located in Wintersburg (45 miles west of Phoenix), it serves 4M people. APS owns 29.1% the plant and also operates it.

COLORADO RIVER DAM SYSTEM: GLEN CANYON AND HOOVER DAMS
Glen Canyon: Construction began in 1956 and the dam opened in 1966.

Hoover: Constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression; it was dedicated on Sept. 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Glen Canyon: This dam is the second largest on the Colorado River at Page. Its main purpose includes generating electrical power, water storage and recreation activities. The dam generates an average of 451 megawatts, which contributes 6% of the total electricity generated in Arizona. The Colorado River caused the Glen Canyon, which lies to the north of the dam, to become flooded and has subsequently created the large reservoir called Lake Powell.  Hoover Dam: Once known as Boulder Dam, this concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River sits on the border between Arizona and Nevada. The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California.

CENTRAL ARIZONA PROJECT
Construction began in 1973 and new and modified dams built as part of the project were completed in 1994.

The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is a 336-mile canal that diverts water from the Colorado River at Lake Havasu City into Central and Southern Arizona. It is the largest and most expensive aqueduct system ever built in the U.S.

PHOENIX SKY HARBOR INT’L AIRPORT
Sky Harbor has been operating under its current name prior to 1935, when it was purchased by the city of Phoenix. Terminal 1 was built in 1952.

Sky Harbor began serving American Airlines and Bonanza Air (Frontier Airlines) and TWA in the 1950s. Today Sky Harbor is the primary regional hub and Mexico gateway for Tempe-based US Airways, its largest operator. Both US Airways and Southwest Airlines  operate out of Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4, which handles about 80% of airport traffic.

ARIZONA’S MILITARY BASES
Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson: Established in 1935 as Davis-Monthan Landing Field; Luke AFB, Glendale: 1941; Williams AFB, Mesa (now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport): Opened 1941 and closed in 1993.

D-M: The host unit at the base is the 355th Fighter Wing. It provides A-10 Thunderbolt II close-air support, which was crucial in the Gulf War. Luke: The 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW) is the host wing at Luke and is composed of four groups of 27 squadrons, including eight fighter squadrons. The base population includes about 7,000 military and civilian members and 15,000 family members. With about 80,000 retired military members living in Greater Phoenix, the base services a total population of more than 100,000. Williams: It was an active training base for the Army and the Air Force. Before closing in 1993, it was the leading pilot training center of the USAF, supplying 25% of its pilots. Since its closure it is now the civilian Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

ROOSEVELT LAKE AND DAM
Dedicated in March 1911 by President Theodore Roosevelt, for whom it was named.

This reservoir formed by Theodore Roosevelt Lake (now called Roosevelt Lake) and Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River is part of the Salt River Project (SRP). Located 80 miles northeast of Phoenix, the reservoir (created by a masonry dam) is the largest lake located entirely within the state of Arizona. Roosevelt Lake is a popular recreation destination within the Tonto National Forest. Roosevelt is the oldest of the six reservoirs constructed and operated by SRP. It also has the largest storage capacity of the SRP lakes, with the ability to store 1.6 M acre-feet of water.

METRO PHOENIX FREEWAY SYSTEM
Loop 101: 1988, completed in 2001 to the present; 202: 1990 to the present; State Route 51 (Piestewa Parkway): U.S. 60 (Superstition Freeway): Truck U.S. 60, 1966.

101: This semi-beltway encompasses much of Metro Phoenix and connects Valley suburbs, including Tolleson, Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe and Chandler. 202: This beltway encompasses the East Valley and navigates and surrounds Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert, making it very vital to the area freeway system. 51: This is the only new freeway to be built through central Phoenix other than I-10. It was renamed from Squaw Peak Parkway to Piestewa Freeway in honor of Lori Piestewa, who was killed in Iraq. 60: Like most of the East-West U.S. routes, 60 was cut short of its final destination by the I-10.

SUN CITY, ARIZONA
Construction began in the 1960s as a Del Webb community and was built on what was once the ghost town of Marinette.

The Sun City development established Arizona as a state for retirees. Little has changed for the community in the past 40 years. However, as more people retired to the area, Del Webb began construction on Sun City West in the late-1970s, Sun City Grand in the late-1990s, Sun City Anthem in 1999, and Sun City Festival in July 2006.

AZRE Magazine March/April 2011