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Big Dams and Other Dreams: The Six Companies Story by Donald E. Wolf

By Donald E. Wolf

Who conceived of the Hoover, Bonneville, and Grand Coulee dams? Who laid the monetary foundations for the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay bridges? In mammoth Dams and different desires, Donald E. Wolf recounts how the pursuits of the visionary males at the back of those tasks coincided in the course of the early 20th century, what they finished, and what has turn into of the empires they created. In twelve colourful, completely researched chapters, Wolf gracefully renders the tale of Six businesses, a mix of companies led through commercial giants Henry J. Kaiser, Marriner Eccles, Harry Morrison, Charles Swigert, Philip Hart, Felix Kahn, and Charlie Shea, between others. jointly, those executives performed a massive function in constructing the fashionable American West and in construction the buildings we go along with it. Then, as global warfare II threatened, they undertook ever extra staggering tasks. utilizing quite a lot of assets and interviews, Wolf weaves own, political, and commercial historical past right into a compelling account that may attract historians and common readers alike.

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It was a summer that changed his life. Surveying quarter sections and topography on the prairie in preparation for irrigation works, he saw himself in the vanguard of new pioneers who would bring technology to a region left behind by the disappearing frontier. By mid-August, when he signed with the Northern Pacific as caretaker for a carload of horses being shipped east to Chicago, he had hunted elk and moose among the buttes and had fished the lower Yellow-stone. He knew then that there would be no other life for him.

The senior year that followed at Maine seemed endless to Crowe, and during the winter of 19041905 he induced Dean Boardman of the Department of Civil Engineering to allow him to take his final examinations early. He wanted to be back in Montana when things started up again in the spring, and he made it. By May 1905, he had started work as a junior engineer with the Reclamation Service. 10 But the idyll of that first summer proved hard to match. A week after his arrival in May, a spring storm buried the surveyors' stakes under a foot of snow and drove the temperature down to 18 degrees.

That may have been good public administration, but it certainly wasn't good news for the man who'd just been given the title of chief of construction for the western region. It was more like a retirement notice. From the beginning, Crowe hadn't ever been satisfied simply supervising contractors who were doing the work. Ever since he'd taken command at Jackson Lake, he'd been in direct charge of actually building the dams themselves, and it was this field commander's role that exhilarated him. The new arrangement at the bureau was a clear threat to that role, and Crowe knew early on that it wouldn't work for him, that he needed to work out an alternative.

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