Building the Ultimate Dam
John S. Eastwood and the Control of Water in the West
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
352 Pages | 7 x 10 | 115 b&w illus.
Most water control projects in the American West depend on huge gravity dams, whose stability lies in massive quantities of concrete and earth or rock fill. In the early twentieth century, John S. Eastwood designed novel dams that minimized the concrete necessary for construction.
Eastwood’s multiple-arch designs proved less expensive than comparable gravity dams. Yet he faced the opposition of a powerful cadre of engineers, financiers, and politicians who believed the distinctive appearance of multiple-arch dams did not inspire public confidence. Donald C. Jackson offers compelling insight into the world of America’s dam-building elite and describes how proponents of “bigger is better” dams won out over Eastwood’s competing idea that “bulk does not mean strength.”