Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grandpa at Grand Coulee Dam

I've become the archivist for the family's old photographs, which is fine with me. I love old photographs. Especially those with a good story attached. Or some historical significance.

A couple of years ago I finally visited Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. If you go to the archives for this blog, go back to November 24, 2006 to see the pictures I took of that trip.

During the Depression my Grandfather left his wife and kids in Eastern Canada and rode the rails west to Vancouver to find a job. He sneaked across the border and stayed in Seattle briefly then headed east to Grand Coulee, Washington, where he found work as a cook for construction workers who had come from everywhere in the country looking for a job on the dam. The rule for getting work on the dam was you had to be an experienced construction worker and you had to be citizen of The United States. A lot of workers falsified their applications and listed their names as "Smith." In this photo from 1933, he's the one in the middle standing next to the pole.

It's not a crisp photo to begin with and it only measures 3" x 5", but between a good scanner and a good computer, you can get something pretty cool. Maybe these guys were all cooks, returning from a day of fishing. Notice that slope-shouldered working man stance?

Here he is in Memphis, Tennessee in 1951 where he lived with one of his daughters (I blew up the image and read the date on the license plate). I didn't know it snowed in Memphis. He still had that slope-shouldered working man stance that he wore like an old suit. He was born in 1882, worked hard all his life and died in 1955 at the age of 73. And he worked on the Grand Coulee Dam!


Post a Comment

<< Home