The Dworshak Dam Collection is comprised of over 500 digital items, including both historical photographs and documents, that span the years 1952 to 1975 and portray the history of the Dworshak Dam, which is located on the North Fork Clearwater River, near Orofino, Idaho and is currently the third largest dam in the United States.
The digital collection documents the legislation that led to the dam's construction, local reaction to the dam's proposal, approval, and construction, and the construction itself.
The materials in the collection were drawn from the papers and photographs of A.B. Curtis, who served as mayor of Orofino, Idaho from 1950 to 1973. These materials were donated to the University of Idaho Library by Mr. Curtis in October 1982. The physical collection is stored in four archival file boxes that occupy approximately four linear feet of shelf spaces
A.B. "Bert" Curtis was born on a ranch near Salem, Oregon, August 1, 1903. His parents, Charles Garret Curtis of Independence, Missouri, and Elizabeth Ann Milne, who was born near Dundee, Scotland, were early pioneers. When the family moved to Orofino, Idaho, in 1912 Charles Curtis operated the Cottage Hotel for a time before he returned to ranching.
Having attended high school in both Orofino, where he was on the football team, and Plummer, from which he graduated in 1921, Bert entered the University of Idaho where he remained for one year. He then attended Lewiston State Normal School where he received his teacher's diploma after two years of study. He taught and coached athletics in Fernwood for a while, then returned to the University of Idaho for two more years. He married Alene Honeywell of Clear Lake, South Dakota, in Moscow on December 21, 1928. They have five children, four sons and a daughter.
In 1918 he began his 50 year association with the Clearwater Timber Protective Association when, due to the manpower shortage caused by the war, Theodore Fohl hired the 15 year old Curtis as a waterboy, carrying water to the firefighters. He spent his summers until 1925 working for the association, then in May 1926 he began full-time work. In 1927 he was appointed Assistant Chief Fire Warden for the association and a year later was appointed Chief. In 1945 he was made Chief Fire Warden and Manager of the Potlatch Timber Protective Association, and in that same year he became State Fire Warden. In 1966 the Clearwater and Potlatch Timber Protective Associations were combined and Curtis remained Chief Fire Warden of the new organization until he retired in August 1968.
In 1950 Curtis was elected mayor of Orofino, a position he held for 23 years, during which the city completed a large water and sewage treatment plant. In 1958 he tried unsuccessfully to unseat Gracie Pfost, the Democratic incumbent representing Idaho's First District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He was a strong supporter of Senator Henry Dworshak on the Bruces Eddy (now Dworshak) Dam issue, and was one of the primary figures in obtaining approval and funds for the construction. In 1972 he was awarded the Department of the Army Certificate for Patriotic Civilian Service for his assistance to the Corps of Engineers in building the dam. Among his other awards are the Idaho Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen award (1968), and a 38 years of distinguished service award presented by public and private Idaho forestry associations in 1976.
He has been active in the Chamber of Commerce, Association of Idaho Cities, was an original incorporator of the Clearwater Economic Development Association, was active in the Idaho Municipal League, served on the Inland Waterways Association, and from 1965 to 1970 he represented the timber industry as a member of the Public Land Law Review Commission. His memberships in forestry organizations include the American Forestry Association, Society of American Foresters - Inland Empire Section, and the Western Forestry and Conservation Association. He was also a founding member of the University of Idaho Advisory Research Council, president of the Alumni Association, and a member of the Athletic Advisory Committee. He was president of two mining concerns, Orofino Lime Products and Oxford Copper Mining Company near Pierce.
Curtis died in 1985.
For more information, see the Wikipedia entry on the Dworshak Dam.
Questions? Comments? Email Devin Becker, digital initiatives librarian at email@example.com.
Documenting the Development and Construction of the Doworshak Dam, 1952 - 1975 i
Dworshak Dam Project 23 (Ahsahke)
A nice view of Ahsahka & the forks of the river. Note on back: "" Note the work by Murphy Bros. of Spokane has just started in the construction of the access road up to dam site. See the clearing on the left. Ahsahka mill, lower, and Orofino in the distance, upstream on upper right. Canoe camp is marked by wax pencil. This is where Lewis and Clark stopped in 1805 and changed their horses for canoes to continue their trip to the mouth of the Columbia. This is now a part of the Nez perce Historical Park. Bet they never thought of a dam when they were there. (A. B. Curtis)""
Dworshak Dam Project 28 (Merry place)
Aerial view of dam site. Also shown is the Merry place.
Dworshak Dam Project 29 (Banner)
1955; 1956; 1957; 1958; 1959; 1960
Banner across the street in Orofino - organization about town to raise money for the effort in getting the dam. Note on back: "" We had an organization about town to raise money for the effort in getting the dam. Here is a banner across the street. Dues to belong to ""Clearwater Dams"" was $1.00 or whatever you could spare. It did not come close to raising the money we eventually spent and we had to go for a lot of contributed labor and expense from other sources. County Sheriff Fred Pomeroy, on left. ""
Dworshak Dam Project 31 (Directors)
1955; 1956; 1957; 1958; 1959; 1960
Some of the directors of the Clearwater Dams Assn. Standing in front of marker on theatre building, Orofino, showing goal of $3,000 which was not reached. Note on back: "" Some of the directors of Clearwater Dams Association Left to right: Frank Gaffney, L.G. Beeson, , Mel Snook, Bob Oud, Dude Warren Gardner (city attorney), Choate, Chuck Musial.""
Dworshak Dam Project 32 (Group)
Group who worked the hardest for the project. Note on back: "" A public hearing was held in Orofino on the project November 20, 1952. Here is a photo of those who worked hardest for the project. Left to right: Bill Erickson (now deceased); Robert Werner, publisher of the Clearwater Tribune, Orofino; A.B. Curtis (the guy that gets all the blame, and the Mayor of Orofino); Col. Tom Tandy, the District Engineer of Corps of Engineers (at the time), Walla Walla (now deceased); and U.S. Judge Roy McNichols (then an attorney at Orofino, now in Boise). Photo made in Tandy's office in Walla Walla where many sessions were held on the project. Photo made a few days prior to the November 20th meeting. (A.B. Curtis - 1976)""
Dworshak Dam Project 37 (Start Key way construction)
Good view of the start of key way construction. Note on back: "" The strings of lights across the river are so they could work around the clock, and also note the diversion tunnel and building of the batch plant to run concrete to the job.""
Dworshak Dam Project 44 (Gen. Hyzer)
Gen. Hyzer speaks at the ground-breaking program. Note on back: ""Left to right: Lt. Gov. William E. Drevlow; Senator Len B. Jordan; Mrs. Jordan; Jack Carter (one of the contractors); Master of Ceremonies A.B. Curtis, Mayor of Orofino; Don Bosgin, and Col. McElwee.""
Dworshak Dam Project 47 (Briefing)
Many briefings were made on the status of the project
Dworshak Dam Project 50 (Three-cableway system)
Shows three-cableway system to place concrete in dam. Photo of artist's drawing. Note on back: ""Artist's painting of three-cableway system being used to place concrete in Dworshak Dam. It is 2915 feet between the head towers (right) and tail towers (background). The bucket, weighing 25 tons with its load of concrete, travels across the river gorge at 2200 feet per minute and down the dam site at 950 feet per minute. The batch plants are at lower left. The sand and aggregate comes into the plants on conveyor belts. The fresh concrete is transported to the cableway loading dock in rail-mounted hopper cars. (Note bucket being loaded at middle right of picture.) Dworshak is being constructed under a $131-million contract by Dworshak Dam Constructors, a joint venture of five contractors sponsored by Dravo Corporation. From: Duane L. Cronk & Associates, 100 Bush St., San Francisco 94104 For: Dravo Corporation, 225 108th N.E., Bellevue, Washington 98004""
Dworshak Dam Project 50 (Concrete)
First bucket of concrete by Dravo Corp., the general contractors. Note on back: ""J.L. Wixson, project manager for Dworshak Dam Constructors, pulls the cord and releases the first bucket of concrete in Dworshak Dam. The big bucket holds 8 cubic yards of concrete. (Note to editors: This picture was shot shortly in advance of official ""first bucket"" ceremony.) From Duane L. Cronk & Associates, 100 Bush St., San Francisco 94104 For: Dravo Corporation, 225 108th N.E., Bellevue, Washington 98004""
Dworshak Dam Project 51 (Clearwater River)
Site on N. fk. of Clearwater River
Dworshak Dam Project 54 (Col. McElwee)
Col. McElwee of the Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District. Note on back: ""Col. McElwee was on the program before Resource managers, explaining the project. He was a fine Col. and a very smart one. He was great but took a beating when he wanted to not replace the railroad from Lewiston down the Snake River to the Snake River dams. In this instance I (Curtis) had to take the other side and work for the re-location of the railroad down-stream from Lewiston. I think he got his orders from high-up, however, and readily agreed when things turned against him. He is now is New York with. Con. Ed. and has a great job with lots of responsibility. (A.B. Curtis - 1976)""
Dworshak Dam Project 58 (Army men)
Mr. Curtis & three Army men visit the project on Aug. 19
Dworshak Dam Project 59 (Army)
A number of Army people looking over the project on Aug. 19. Note on back: "" Left to Right: Robert Oud, Orofino; Bob Owsley, Corps of Engineers, local project supt. for a time; A.B. Curtis, Mayor of Orofino; Col. Frank D. McElwee, chief of construction for the Army; and a couple other Corps of Engineers people.""
Dworshak Dam Project 61 (Project view)
Just a project view during early construction
Dworshak Dam Project 65 (Start of diversion tunnel)
Shows start of the diversion tunnel
Dworshak Dam Project 64 (Diversion work)
Diversion work started, also shows some clearing.
Dworshak Dam Project 69 (Diversion tunnel)
Dam site and diversion tunnel has been started from both ends. Note on back: ""The tunnel met exactly in the middle of the ridge. You can see the coffer dam just being started on the lower end and Orofino is in the distance. Clearing has been done on both sides. Murphy Bros. has built the road.""
Dworshak Dam Project 71 (First bucket of concrete)
The first bucket of concrete was placed at the dam on June 22. Note on back: "" Left to right: Ed Hershberger, project engineer for the contractor; Ron Maxwell, assistant supt. of the job and J.L. Whitey Wixson, the supt. of construction for the Dravo Corp.""
Dworshak Dam Project 72 (Crew)
A gathering of the crew at the time of the first bucket of concrete poured at the project on June 22. Note on back: Left to right Carroll Johnson, Cableway Supt.; Dave Pruitt, Drill & Rock Supt.; Floyd Huntington, Cableway Supt.; Harold Taylor, Quarry Supt.; Hadley Garrison, Safety Supt.; Ed Hershberger, Project Engineer; John Bellegante, Shift Supt.; Ron Maxwell, General Supt.; Whitey Wixson, Project Manager; Bill Steffenson, Shift Supt.; Gene Jones, Carpenter Supt.; Pete Enevold, Electrical Supt.; Bill Little, Batch Plant Supt.; Bill McGee, Rigging Supt.; Vern Anderson, Master Mech.; Art Gress, Assist. Purchasing Agent; Jim Robertson, Plant Engineer; P.J. Parton, Pipe Supt.; Wayne Baldwin, Excavation Supt.; Ernie Meyers, Labor Supt.
Dworshak Dam Project 80 (Telephoto image of rock and sand)
Telephoto shot taken in May of the crushed rock & sand that was used for the concrete batch plant. Note on reverse reads 'Note the conveyor belt comes out of the mountain where the crusher was located, in a cave. A great and nearly original progem. Solid granite. Different grades of rock are provided and sand, too.'
Dworshak Dam Project 81 (Batch plant)
Photograph taken in May. Shows top of the batch plant where they mixed the concrete. Note on reverse reads 'Note one of the cable towers at the extreme downstream end of the track. This would indicate that they were placing concrete on the very downstream edge of the dam. Also seen is some of the crushed rock used for concrete -- the long tubes carries fly ash, a cement ingredient from Chicago that sets the concrete and makes it harder.'
Dworshak Dam Project 88 (solid granite)
Photograph taken in July. A closeup of the solid granite that provided the base for the dam, and , of course, the concrete. Note on reverse reads 'You will see here come faults that had to be routed out and the placement of the concrete in them. Also note the little patch of water, this had to be routed out to solid base.'
Dworshak Dam Project 93 (project area)
Aerial view of the project area.
Dworshak Dam Project 94 (Elk creek)
Aerial view of the clearing up the pool near Elk creek.
Dworshak Dam Project 1 (1963)
Aerial view of what the country at the dam site looked like before any construction. Note on back: ""This is Bruce's Eddy, the first name of the dam. Later it was changed and the name by Congressional action became Dworshak, after Senator Dworshak. Here you see the right angle turn of the river. Just below this is the location of the structure to be as you will later see. The little foot bridge across the river went over to the Merry place. People who lived on the little farm that you will note. The road went from Orofino to Dent, upstream some 20 miles. In far distance, downstream, you will see Ahsahka (just a little of it) and the Riverside area of what became later a part of Orofino.""
Dworshak Dam Project 100 (dam base)
Photograph looking into the base of the dam from downstream.