Tough Men In Hard Places: A Photographic Collection by Esther GreenfieldTough Men In Hard Places: A Photographic Collection by Esther Greenfield

Tough Men In Hard Places: A Photographic Collection

byEsther GreenfieldForeword byJay Harrison

Paperback | October 15, 2014

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The mines in southwestern Colorado were in trouble and needed cheap, reliable electric power to keep running. This is the story of innovative solutions to solve the problem using alternating current electricity and the incredible effort, tenacity, and toughness of the men who overcame formidable obstacles to bring electrification to the mines, ranches, homes, and businesses in the remote and rugged areas of southwestern Colorado. Here is their story in over 80 intriguing historic photos from the Center of Southwest Studies. Tough men peer from the pages with attitude to spare next to gargantuan equipment in unforgiving terrain. Many of the photographs were taken by Philip "P. C." Schools, power plant superintendent with the Western Colorado Power Co., whose turn-of-the-century photographs documented the coming of electricity to Southwest Colorado and from which his legacy glows.
You can find Esther in one of two places. Either she will be searching the archives at the Center of Southwest Studies, or hiking in the Weminuche Wilderness as a volunteer for the San Juan Mountains Association looking for arborglyphs. A far cry from her life in Washington, DC, where she was born and worked for the Veterans Administra...
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Title:Tough Men In Hard Places: A Photographic CollectionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 9.25 × 7.5 × 0.68 inPublished:October 15, 2014Publisher:Graphic Arts BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:194182112X

ISBN - 13:9781941821121

Reviews

From the Author

Foreword writer Dr. Jay Harrison was appointed as the director of the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in 2012. Dr. Harrison is a historian of the early Southwest and the colonial era in Mexico. His experience includes seventeen years in private and public business concerns, most recently as the director of federal programs at a Washington, DC area consulting firm, in addition to university and collegiate faculty appointments.

Read from the Book

After that "brilliant arc of electricity shot six feet into the air," power companies sprang up like wild mushrooms after a summer rain. The companies were eager to capitalize on this new opportunity, which they suspected would be more lucrative than all the gold and silver booms of the past. At one point there were about thirty separate power companies operating in Colorado to bring electricity, power, and conveniences to rural homesteads. One by one, however, they went out of business or merged. In March 1913, the remaining companies were consolidated into the Western Colorado Power Company (WCPC).From interviews recorded thirty or more years after they retired, what follows are firsthand descriptions of those early days, in the real voices of farmers, ranchers, and former employees of the power company as they remembered electricity coming to their homes and businesses. P. W. Wood, former WCPC employee:"I was the manager of the Hotchkiss Packing & Power Co. around 1909. Electric service in those days was very poor, the voltage was low and people in town were put to much inconvenience. Many people claimed the furnace was fired with dry apple peelings, which didn't give enough heat to keep up a full head of steam. When the lights would dim customers would call up the plant and say 'Throw on another shovel-full of apple peelings!'"In the fall of 1928 the company started twenty-four-hour service. Previous, service had been only until midnight and only began again at 10 A.M. on Mondays and noon on Tuesdays so housewives could do their laundry. Rate of service was fifteen cents per kilowatt." -Interview, October 1939J. A. Bullock, former supervisor at WCPC:"The Telluride offices were well equipped with rugs, desks, chairs, etc. and there were three bedrooms and a bath for use by employees not having a home of their own. There were usually three to five engineers there, most of whom were young engineering school graduates. We had a stable with good saddle horses. We billed customers on a strictly demand basis with rates varying from $4.50 per h.p. [horsepower] to $10 per h.p." -Letter dated October 1939

Table of Contents

Introduction The Western Colorado Power Company System of Power Stations Power Companies Emerge An Electrical Engineer with the Eye of an Artist: Philip (P. C.) Schools Tough Men in Hard Places Death and Disasters Gears, Bolts, and Marvelous Machines Sources Acknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

The mines in southwestern Colorado were in trouble and needed cheap, reliable electric power to keep running. This is the story of innovative solutions to solve the problem using alternating current electricity and the incredible effort, tenacity, and toughness of the men who overcame formidable obstacles to bring electrification to the mines, ranches, homes, and businesses in the remote and rugged areas of southwestern Colorado.Here is their story in over 80 intriguing historic photos from the Center of Southwest Studies. Tough men peer from the pages with attitude to spare next to gargantuan equipment in unforgiving terrain. Many of the photographs were taken by Philip "P. C." Schools, power plant superintendent with the Western Colorado Power Co., whose turn-of-the-century photographs documented the coming of electricity to Southwest Colorado and from which his legacy glows."Northwest Lineman College has always been committed to preserving and promoting an understanding of the history of the power industry. We feel that it is important for our students to understand how we got where we are - it did not just happen - there was a lot of trial and error along with serious injuries including fatalities which paved the path to where we are today. We feel that the quality of the training and education we provide is enhanced by including selected key historical elements in the curriculum. . .TOUGH MEN IN HARD PLACES' very informative forward and introduction sets the stage for the introduction of electric power and the pioneering efforts of L.L. Nunn. The emergence of power companies and the ultimate amalgamation of these companies into the Western Colorado Power Company is nicely explained. The author does a great job describing the hazardous and difficult conditions the men had to work in. I found the wages for the various power company positions and work shifts that were included very informative.The meat of the book is the great photographs that the author meticulously selected that show a nice variety of the projects, repairs and tasks the men were exposed to. The pictures are supplemented by interesting and informative quotes recorded from farmers, ranchers and former Western Colorado Power Company employees after they retired. The pictures include many great winter scenes that showcase the difficult conditions in which these workers had to maintain the various facilities of company. One image I found extremely interesting was a copy of an accident report about an accident that occurred in one of the substations. In general, the pictures include power lines, penstocks, flumes, power plants, power stations, cabins and other related elements.The book concludes with some historic interviews and a brief biography of P.C. Schools, who eventually became Chief Engineer of the Western Colorado Power Company. Many of the photographs in the book were taken by Schools during his career with Western Colorado Power. The end of the book includes a glossary of terms that were used during this early period that can easily be referred too as the reader is going through the book.There are several documented articles and publications that have been done over the years on the Telluride Power Company along with its predecessor, the Western Colorado Power Company that go into more technical details. None of these references have the amount or quality of the photographs that TOUGH MEN IN HARD PLACES has. The grandeur of the spectacular San Juan Mountains, the famous mining, the narrow gauge railroading and one of the most famous pioneering achievements in the power industry set the stage for this great book. As I read through the book pausing to reflect on the pictures I would frequently pause and "Imagine how it must have been". I found myself going through the book more than once. I thoroughly enjoyed the book which will now resides in the student library at Northwest Lineman College for student and staff research. The book is a must for anyone interested in the history of the Telluride Power Company and the Western Colorado Power Company. I also recommend the book for anyone interested in the mining and railroading history of the San Juan Mountains."-Alan Drew, Senior Vice President Research and Development, Northwest Lineman College, IEEE Lifetime Member, 2008 Inductee into the International Lineman's Hall of Fame