Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Engineers

My father, and both of my grandfathers were engineers, all in different fields. Maybe that's why I've always liked numbers and math. Not saying that I'm good at them, just that I can keep my checkbook balanced!

Lee Marbell Burrows

My father, Lee Marbell Burrows, was an electrical engineer in Wyoming, employed by the Bureau of Reclamation. 

In Cody he worked on the Buffalo Bill Dam, which provides irrigation for the surrounding area as well as a recreation area with a Visitor Center. 

Buffalo Bill Dam

He also worked on the Alcova Dam, near Casper. Pictured here is the reservoir, at the center of the recreation area

Alcova Reservoir
One of my strongest childhood memories is going inside a dam with Dad. Imagine my excitement mixed with trepidation, as I looked through a big glass wall at the water, hoping that it was a very strong piece of glass.

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Lee Burrows

My Dad's father, Lee Burrows, who died before I was born, was a locomotive steam engineer and fireman, employed by the Union Pacific Railroad in Laramie, Wyoming. One of 14 children, he and my grandmother, Lois Clara Hatch Burrows, one of six children, were the parents of only one, my Dad.

He probably worked on an engine like this one, which was used to speed up freight operations east and west of the Wasatch grades in Utah and western Wyoming.

Family sources also state that near the end of his career, he was an engineer on a "Big Boy" locomotive, the largest and most powerful ever made. The Union Pacific Railroad is still in operation and has preserved two steam engines (#844 and #3977), which it uses for excursions

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Byron "Bike" McCain

My mother's dad, Byron Henry 'Bike' McCain, was a civil engineer, initially employed by the Bureau of Public Lands in California building highways. Mom told me that she grew used to the family's frequent moves, sometimes living in tents in the mountains, sometimes in houses in the city, attending different schools nearly every year. 

By the time I was born in 1950, Grandpa 'Bike' was employed by an international company and was traveling to the Far East building highways and airfields. Some of the places he worked were Okinawa, Korea, Guam, Japan, Iran and Pakistan.

He took this photo of one of his projects in Iran, 1961, a steel bridge built by Vinnell Corporation that he labeled "crossing the Karkheh River at Abdul Khan".