George H. Barker Collection of Dam Construction Photographs and Ephemera, 1935-1952

Overview of the Collection

Barker, George H
George H. Barker Collection of Dam Construction Photographs and Ephemera
1935-1952 (inclusive)
243 photographic prints, 18 newspaper clippings (1 box)
Collection Number
Photographs and newspaper clippings documenting the construction of the Bonneville Dam, the Detroit Dam, and the Mud Mountain Dam.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

George H. Barker was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspector who worked on the Bonneville Dam, the Detroit Dam, and the Mud Mountain Dam.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

In addition to improving navigation and irrigation for the area, the Booneville Dam also generated energy for the benefit of the general public, a task regulated by the Bonneville Power Administration under the Department of the Interior. Dam construction was completed in 1938.

The Detroit Dam was created in response to a long-standing need for flood control in the Willamette River Basin in northwest Oregon, although it wasn't until 1932 that population growth and industrial development had reached a level to support the project. Work on the Detroit Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938; construction was initiated in March 1949 and completed in May 1953.

The Mud Mountain Dam was built to prevent the frequent flooding that occurred in South King County and North Pierce County in Washington State. When completed in 1948, it was the highest rock- and earth-filled dam in the world.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of images collected by George H. Barker documenting location sites and construction of the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, linking Oregon and Washington; the Detroit Dam on the Santiam River in Oregon; and the Mud Mountain Dam on the Puyallup River in Washington. Also included are related newspaper clippings from The Seattle Times , The Oregonian (Portland, Or.), and The Capital Journal (Salem, Or.).

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Processing Note

Processed by Rebekah Dalby, 2002.

Most photographs in the collection were removed from a deteriorating album; their original order has been retained. In addition to the album, the collection includes loose prints.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Bonneville DamReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1-5
2 6
Columbia River
2 7
Men building small dam across river
3 8
Columbia River
3 9
Columbia River in snow
4 10
Men working
4 11
5 12
Construction site
Apr. 11, 1935
5 13
6 14
Auditorium building construction
Apr. 12, 1935
6 15
7 16
7 17
8 18-19
Excavating at lock site
9 20 Apr. 18, 1935
9 21
Columbia River
May 25, 1935
10 22
Two men standing in front of Bonneville Dam
10 23-24
11 25
11 26
Dump truck dumping material into river
11 27
11 28
Men on shore
11 29
Dump truck dumping material into river
11 30
Group of men

  Detroit Dam, Santiam River, 1939-1952Return to Top

Container(s): Folder 12-28, Item 31-81

Photographs of Detroit Dam, including construction, equipment, dump trucks, construction workers, riprap, river, and riverbank.

  Mud Mountain Dam, Enumclaw, Wash., ca. 1940s-1950sReturn to Top

Container(s): Folder 28-33, Item 82-107k

Photographs of Mud Mountain Dam construction. Pictured also are men standing in front of a car and a man photographing the dam construction.

  Detroit Dam, Santiam River, May-June 1949Return to Top

Container(s): Folder 34-46, Item 108-189

Photographs of Detroit Dam, including construction site, Cumley Quarry, Oregon Highway 222 in the snow, service roads, fields, bridges, trucks.

[Detroit Dam, Santiam River?]Return to Top

Container(s): Folder 47-48, Item 190-233

Photographs of construction site, people, equipment, pipes, and pylons; views of river, road, camp buildings, and mountain.

Newspaper ClippingsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Detroit Dam
Folder item
49 234
The Oregonian, "Work Forges Ahead on Two Dams of Willamette Basin Project"
Apr. 2, 1950
49 235
The Capital Journal, "Rod Mill and Classifier for Detroit Dam"
May 4, 1950
49 236
The Capital Journal, "Detroit Forest Fire Now Held Under Control"
June 3, 1950
49 237
The Capital Journal, "Huge Detroit Dam Begins to Rise"
Oct. 24, 1950
49 238
The Capital Journal, "Impediment to Progress"
Nov. 3, 1950
49 239
The Capital Journal, "Detroit Dam Contract 42 Per Cent Completed"
Mar. 27, 1951
49 240
The Capital Journal, "Progress at Detroit Dam"
Mar. 29, 1951
49 241
The Seattle Times, "Two Engineers Post Bail on Bribe Charges"
May 29, 1952
49 242
The Oregonian, "Detroit Dam Passes Milestone"
June 26, 1952
49 243
"Detroit Dam Will Require 1,400,000 Yards of Concrete Placed in Blocks According to Construction Plans"
49 244
"Clearing for Dam Construction and Reservoir"
49 245
"Diversion Tunnel for Detroit Dam"
49 246
"Engineers To Let Contracts, $116 Million"
49 247
"Bedrock Excavations Ready Detroit Dam Site for Concrete"
49 248
"Pair Suspended Until Case Settled"
Other Dams
Folder item
49 249
Special to The Times, "New Bonneville Official Coming"
May 29
49 250
"Priest Rapids Dam Proposal Meets Criticism"
49 251
"Proposed Eagle Gorge Dam Would Control Green River, Prevent Costly Floods and Possibly Generate Power"

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Building sites--Oregon--Photographs
  • Building sites--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Construction workers--Oregon--Photographs
  • Construction workers--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Dam construction--Oregon
  • Dam construction--Washington (State)
  • Dams--Oregon--Photographs
  • Dams--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Hydroelectric power--Washington (State)
  • Irrigation--Oregon
  • Irrigation--Washington (State)
  • Rivers--Oregon--Photographs
  • Rivers--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Water-power--Washington (State)

Personal Names

  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Bonneville Dam (Or. and Wash)--Photographs
  • Columbia River--Photographs
  • Detroit Dam (Or.)--Photographs
  • Mud Mountain Dam (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Puyallup River (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Santiam River (Or.)--Photographs

Form or Genre Terms

  • Clippings

Titles within the Collection

  • Capital journal (Salem, Or.)
  • Oregonian (Portland, Or.)
  • Seattle times (Seattle, Wash. : 1966)