History of Page Arizona

Early History

Once it had been decided to begin construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, a work force was needed. Due to the remote location of the proposed damsite the Bureau of Reclamation was left to find a place for the workers to live during construction. Originally the B.O.R intended to base construction out of a Kanab, Arizona, a small town located 72 miles from the dam site; however this was deemed too far away. Hence, the B.O.R decided to acquire land just east of the proposed dam site in a place called Manson Mesa. The land on which Page was built was bought by The B.O.R from the Navajo Nation in exchange for land in Utah. The B.O.R advertised for a doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. to come and settle one of the last American frontiers. The B.O.R constructed 100 block houses and a modern hospital and some roads to attract residents. On Thanksgiving Day 1957 some of the first workers moved into the new town of Page, Arizona. A large influx of workers occurred during this period. According to the Bureau of American Ethnology the Navaho population in the area surrounding Glen Canyon rose significantly by 1957, due to off-reservation economic activities (Johnson, 1966).


Early life in Page was nothing like it is today due to the remote location and harsh conditions. The population was about 3000 people, which mostly consisted of construction workers. There were no paved roads and business was extremely tough. Furthermore, many workers lived in “transa-houses” which would eventually become the largest trailer park in the world. Due to the utter lack of vegetation the red sand blew relentlessly over the mesa and even seeped into the water supply.

Nevertheless, the pioneers of Page knew the real meaning of community. They all coexisted together and hence depended on each other for many things. Movies were projected on the side of the local Chevron station. George Koury, the manager of Babbitt Brothers, the only grocery store in town, dusted sand of the cans of food and was known to put an extra can of infant formula in your bag to help feed a new baby in tough times.

After the completion of Glen Canyon Dam the population of Page dropped off to 1500 people, who stayed and persevered.

Present Day

Today Page has a population of 8000 people, and a host of businesses including: Pizza Hut and WalMart, but it still has the same sense of community that was started in 1957. The people of Page rely on the business of the many tourists that visit the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Many people rent boats, jet skis, and other water craft for recreational activities.

Clearly the creation of the Glen Canyon Dam was the sole cause of the building of Page. This in turn brought many people, native and non-native alike, to the area. Today, Lake Powell supports the lives of thousands of people directly through tourism.

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