Even for people whose lives consisted of challenges met and mastered, the Great Feeder Headgate and the many other headgates near it, were mighty accomplishments in their time and place, bringing vital water to farmlands in the Rigby, Idaho Falls, and Rexburg area of SouthEastern Idaho
For those who have not discovered it, the book "Pioneer Irrigation" is a rare and valuable history gem. In it is much of the history of building the great canal system that waters the farm land between Ririe and Idaho Falls, Idaho. The people, their dreams and hardships, and the successes of their single minded efforts to get water onto their farm land, are chronicled in a clear and simple manner. Many of our ancestors, including Morgans, Radfords, Moores and Rysets are mentioned in the book. It is a wonderful set of stories about a time, a place, a people, and their struggles to bring new land into farming production.
George Radford and Willard Moore worked for many years of their lives on the construction, maintenance, and management of the Great Feeder Headgates. Willard Moore, husband of Annie Lydia Morgan, was superintendent of the Great Feeder Headgates for most of his life. Willard first used a horse powered swinging arm to remove logs and debris from the headgates. Later he used a Model T Ford, but with an axeman standing by to cut the car loose in case the logs began to take it down the river. George Radford was known for his dexterity and ability to go into the headgates and work in places too dangerous for others.
George Radford and Willard Moore are shown above standing on the first Rip-rap of logs that was placed in the river to divert the water into the Great Feeder irrigation canal. Later the log structure was replaced by a concrete diversion structure.
Horses and Buck scrapers were used for earth moving in building the early headgates and digging the canals. Later a new technology emerged, the Fresno Scraper. These men are using Fresno Scrapers with four horse hitches.
For pictures of the Fresno Scraper in use building a road in Idaho, and a closeup showing the details of the Fresno Scraper, click on the link above.