Stepping Into History

From the past to the present and into the future

Like a massive face and mouth, the east most spillway at Roosevelt Dam waits, for water to flow forth from its orifice.

Like a massive face and mouth, the east most spillway at Roosevelt Dam waits, for water to flow forth from its orifice. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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I like adventurous assignments. Every assignment is an adventure, some, more than others. Going to a place you’ve always wanted to go but never had the time or opportunity for, is an especially wonderful activity when it becomes real. The Roosevelt Dam Centennial filled the bill.

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Governor Brewer mingles with the crowd upon her arrival at Roosevelt Dam. Many guests were thrilled to see her and have the opportunity to shake hands and push their own agenda.

The designated meeting place for guests was the Windy Hill Amphitheatre on Roosevelt Lake for transport to the Dam. To avoid confusion and keep traffic to a minimum, SRP decided to bus people to the dam and facilitate an easier transfer. Nice job.

Everyone who arrived at Windy Hill was handed a name tag and a colored wristband by SRP representatives. The name tag, for security purposes, the colored wristband, for transport designation to the dam.

On the ride over, it was announced that lunch would be served and then ceremonies would begin. Once off the bus and on the dam, I stopped here and there to shoot various views. I wasn’t happy. I needed a helicopter for a proper view of the dam.

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John Sullivan, Associate General Manager for SRP began the ceremony by welcoming everyone and introducing each speaker.

Not having that, the next best thing was to go where no one else was shooting from. I walked out of the protected areas and looked down at the long fall, should I slip and tumble down to the river.

Not good, but it wasn’t something to think about. Get the shot and everything else takes a back seat. The dam is a marvel. It is massive, deep, solid, and placed in such a strategic spot.

Originally called ‘The Crossing’, the dam is placed where Tonto Creek and the Salt River crossed each other. Practicality is a by-word and by-product of this harsh climate. What else could you call a place like that?

I still wasn’t happy with shooting. I was getting snippets, small frames of strengths of the dam. I wandered back to the catered lunch area and sat down at the closest table to me.

Other people at the table commented on the excellent fare, so it must have been good. Being able to scent only the strongest of odors, thus not having a sense of taste, I’d make a terrible or good food critic depending on your perspective (but that's another story). Having a sweet, sweet tooth, I liked the dessert. It was time to shoot again.

Jeffrey Lane, Media Relations Representative for SRP, introduced me to Kim Sabow, Deputy Director of Communications for Governor Janice Brewer and a possible chance to ask the Gov. a few questions. Oh Boy.

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Andrea Marcanti, Editor of the Arizona Silver Belt, and Holly Sow, a staff reporter and Sports Editor, ask Gov. Brewer a question or two after the Centennial Ceremony on Roosevelt Dam.

Sabow cautioned me that events like this are fluid with a 50/50 chance of asking a few questions. Nothing new there. The program proceeded. The Governor arrived, several higher ups at SRP gave their speeches, the Gov. gave hers and then a re-enactor was introduced as Teddy Roosevelt.

He gave the best performance of all. His words were from a century ago, from a man who said what he meant and carried through on his words.

It was hard to ascertain if he was accurate in his portrayal of Roosevelt. I remember reading Roosevelt had a high pitched voice and spoke quickly and jerkily and sometimes put the emphasis on the wrong syllable of the word.

I also remember thinking during his speech: “This country is not the sane, moral, honest, courageous country of Teddy Roosevelt.”

Roosevelt may have been a politician, but he also had vision for this country's future and became a monument of success in giving us legacies to remember and keep.

Despite my pessimistic political thoughts, it was a great day. I too celebrated the accomplishments of Teddy Roosevelt and the men of his time. I can say; “I was there when…” and have the shots to prove it.

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Strolling on the dam as the afternoon festivities came to a close, people linger and catch the view, record a few more images before boarding a bus back to Windy Hill.

I have been to Roosevelt Dam in a way most people will not get to go, took the best shots I could, enjoyed the company of people not met before, met and interviewed a famous person, and had an experience of a lifetime.

It struck me then, something happened that usually doesn't happen. I had come full circle. Most assignments are: go here do this; go there do that, get the shots and pick the best for publication.

This had been different. I had stepped into history; from the past to the present and into the future. Got any more adventures where that came from?

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