Cathedral In The Desert

Iconic Photos

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In 1956, when the American government approved the Colorado River Storage Project Act, it was considered a significant achievement towards taming the Colorado River and powering to the southwest. The region, however, was laden with beautiful landscapes, which would be flooded by the project’s proposed dams.

To protect Dinosaur National Monument, a compromise site was chosen in a remote region between Arizona and Utah, 20 miles upriver from the Grand Canyon — a decision the environmentalists would come to regret immediately afterwards. David Brower, the executive director of The Sierra Club, who initially supported the dam, visited the area before it was flooded and reversed his position. He would partner with photographer Eliot Porter to publish the book The Place No One Knew, a photographic documentation of Glen Canyon which would be submerged.

Porter traveled through Glen Canyon eleven times, but his photos failed to convince President Johnson to halt the dam. The environmentalists also faced a…

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