Before the Dam Broke

by | Jan 25, 2017 | Community


In late February 1928, about two weeks before the dam broke, 18-year-old Hetta Laurena Carter shot this photograph of a mortar box, hoe, bucket and garden hose, used to plug a leak with “sloppy cement.”
In a televised 2006 interview with dam historian Keith Buttelman, Carter said: “It was end of February (1928), which would make me 18 years old.  I had been driving for a while, and it was just fun to drive.  My dad had an old Chevy, and I drove the old Chevy all over the country.
“As I sat there, I wondered what in the world they were doing up on the corner of the dam. My father was a cement contractor, and I thought, ‘That looks like cement up there.’
“I walked a little closer, and it was a half a sack of cement in the mortar box. The box also held a wooden hoe and a bucket, and the tip of a garden hose. The hose was down the side of the dam, so I immediately guessed that they were making sloppy cement in the mortar box, pouring it down the hose to (fill) a small leak that was on the side of the dam, about halfway down the dam.”

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