One of our most heavily-researched subjects in the State Archives is Arizona water (or lack thereof). Sometimes it is attorneys working on current stream adjudication issues, sometimes it is professors in town from all over the country looking through the history of Western water issues. We’re very fortunate to have rich resources among several collections – governor’s records, Department of Water Resources, etc. This week, we added something to our holdings that adds a deeper context to our records, and provides beautiful documentation of an important period in our water history.
John Bloom came for a tour of the Archives several months ago with a genealogy group from Tucson, and decided to return to do some genealogical research. This time, he brought a beautiful bound photograph book detailing the construction of the Gillespie Dam around 1920, and generously donated it to the State Archives for permanent preservation. Not only is the book beautifully-preserved, but it contains wonderful descriptive information on people involved in the project, dates, etc. For archivists, this is like having Christmas come early!!
John tells us that he doesn’t recall exactly how his family acquired the book, though it was gifted from a friend of the family, and has been among their possessions since he was a child. He remarks, “I’ve had it all these years in my closet. I used to love looking at the pictures as a kid.” We are so delighted that John valued this book enough to care for it all of these years, and that he recognized that it is such an important part of Arizona history that it should be shared with the residents of the state. We look forward to making it digitally available through the Arizona Memory Project, and adding it to our rich water records of the State of Arizona!