Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : opinions : columns June 24, 2016

6/21/2009 12:10:00 PM
Guest column: Get out there - Santa Fe Dam
Andrea Dunn
Williams' Outdoor Enthusiast

We live by, drive by and walk up to Santa Fe Dam all the time without knowing any of its most interesting history.

Santa Fe Dam was constructed between 1892 and 1895 with stone quarried in Holbrook and brought to Williams by Railroad. The dam was called "Santa Fe" because the Santa Fe Railroad needed the water for its steam engines. But the dam was also an important water resource for the town. In 1942 the dam was raised three feet, bringing the total capacity of the dam to 70 million gallons.

Another interesting thing that was going on around this same time period was that the lumber mills in the Williams area had increased their manufacturing capability and were finding it difficult to meet their orders for lumber products because they didn't have the necessary trees. In 1899 the Saginaw Lumber Company merged with the Manistee Lumber Company. With the combined timber rights it became financially feasible to remodel the mill and build new railroad spurs into the forest. These railroad spur lines enabled the Williams mill to operate once again at full capacity. One of these spur lines still exists on the backside of Santa Fe Dam.

One afternoon after school, Gauge and I had a little time to explore, so off to the dam we went. Auntie Am and her boyfriend Blu went with us. The dam was full, water seeping over the spillway. We walked across the spillway and onto the dam. The surface of the dam is a mute testimony to hundreds of people - citizens, fishermen and lovers who, over the years, inscribed names and dates in its soft rock face.

Once across the dam we turned left and continued walking along the dirt road that skirts the edge of the lake. Several ducks swam idly nearby, and a great blue heron flew across the lake, startled by our arrival. Before long our little dirt road turned away, but we kept going along the lake. It was soon easy to feel the fact that this used to be a narrow gauge railroad. The trail surface is a raised, solid bed, continuing a fairly straight line. The trees become dense, and it's often necessary to climb over or under fallen trees. The trail has the feeling of isolation. It's hard to believe that a paved, main artery is just across the wash.

(Editor's note: Andrea Dunn is a longtime Williams resident who enjoys hiking and the great outdoors. She continues to share her outdoor adventures and places to hike with us through this column.)

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Editorial: Commenting to move to Facebook
New maintenance coordinator at Williams Airport
Williams School Board Candidates face off in candidate forum
Hunters shoot prairie dogs at Williams Elementary-Middle School
Composer Ted Nichols, known for his Scooby Doo and Flintstones scores, continues his varied musical career from his home in Williams

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public.Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Williams, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® Williams-Grand Canyon News is the information source for Williams, Arizona and surrounding communities. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. Williams News Online is a service of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, williamsnews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Williams News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved