THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: Land of the Big Blue River

In 174 years as a nation, the U.S. has produced few such spectacles as the colossal birth throes of the Grand Coulee Dam. Its grey and gargantuan bulk was eight years (1933-41) abuilding, and in that time armies of sightseers wended their way into a scarred and desolate canyon of the Columbia River, 150 airline miles east of Seattle, to goggle at the horrid obstetrics.

Staring at the neon-lit construction camps and the jungles of trestles, cranes and forms that littered the dusty valley, many a tourist decided he was witnessing the most...

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