Working Conditions on the Bonneville

-"Up to 3,000 workers were employed by the project with shifts working around the clock."

-"Many came from out of state, bringing their families to escape the crushing depression."

-"Wages were extravagant for the time-50 cents per hour for unskilled laborers, up to $1.20 per hour for skilled workers."

-"Safety precautions were virtually non-existent by today’s standards."

-"They slept in bunkhouses, sometimes even in cars."

Creation of the Bonneville not only employed workers for construction, but also some 4000 employees in industries selling concrete, steel, lumber, generators and other materials needed for the dam

(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bonneville Lock and Dam in Celebration of our 50th Year)

From Jackhammer Blues

I hammered on Bonneville, Coulee, too,
Always broke when my job was through;
Lord, Lord, well, I got them Jackhammer Blues.

I hammered on th' river from a sun to sun,
Fifteen million salmons run;
Lord, Lord, well, I got them Jackhammer Blues.

...And I'm gonna hammer till th' day I die,
Lord, Lord, well, I got them jackhammer blues!

-Woody Guthrie Roll On Columbia "The Columbia River Collection"

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