Ardis Calvin “Blue” King

Ardis Calvin “Blue” King

Kanawha County, West Virginia, USA
Death 25 Jul 1961 (aged 35)
Page, Coconino County, Arizona, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 140953651 · View Source
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"Page Pioneer" Ardis C. "Blue" King, at age 35, was the 12th worker among the 18 who were killed to lose his life during the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam Project. He died by a blast that workmen said could be heard all over the construction site on July 25, 1961 at 2:45 pm.


One worker was killed ("Blue") and another died in Page hospital (Keith Walker #13) after an accident at Glen Canyon Dam on Tuesday, July 25, 1961, at 2:10 p.m.

Ardis C. King, 34, a carpenter-welder from Glen Canyon City, Utah, where he lived with his wife, Dorothy, at #10 Navajo Trailer Court. He was a native of West Virginia, and was instantly killed when a pipe he was cutting while working on a form block support exploded and drove metal fragments into his body. "Penetrating wounds of the skull; complete evisceration of the chest and abdomen" due to explosion.

Keith Walker, 19, living in the Page Trailer Court, also a native of West Virginia, was working as a rodman with Mr. King. He died at 4:30 p.m. from injuries received in the accident.

Three other carpenters, Vernon A. Black, W. A. Fuller and Val Hoyt, also working on the form block support, were treated for minor injuries. J. O. Irwin, Project Manager for Merritt, Chapman and Scott, conducted an investigation--the results being that MCS' pipe supplier, a mining company, also manufactured identical pipe they filled with black powder to bust up the ground. One of the mining company's employees mistakenly put one of those pipes that killed two men in the wrong pile -- the pile sold to MCS, which they used to brace up the forms, planting them in cement. Jim Irwin replaced Allan R. Bacon, MCS Project Manager since Dec 1957, on Thursday, June 8, 1961, the day that Bacon suddenly quit. MCS was the Prime Contractor on Glen Canyon Dam.

A story has been handed down in "Blue's" family and posted online that "dynamite he drilled into", causing an explosion, had been "planted by Cubans". His family also believed that Blue died in Flagstaff, Arizona (135 miles downstate).

Harvey Gardner's memories of this accident:
(He only mentions one worker, so this is either about Blue or Keith Walker, who were both killed. The newspaper report indicates that Blue died at the construction site, and Keith was transported to the hospital. Harvey said this man went to the hospital.)
"I remember a guy coming over to borrow one of our welding machines to cut a pipe in two. He wanted the ironworker who was welding there to do it (his name was Cronin). Cronin told him, 'No, you go ahead and use my machine, and I'll take a break and go get me a drink of water.' When the guy cut into that pipe, it blew up and blew a great big chunk off of his leg, and his femoral artery was squirting blood. I was the first one to him, and I remember having a dickens of a time finding that artery and stopping the blood from squirting out there. They immediately dispatched a nurse down there and doctored him. They transported him to the hospital, but he died. That was probably the scariest day of my life. MCS bought some used pipe to use for braces on the concrete form, and they bought it from a mining company, and they'd stuffed some dynamite in one of those pipes, and it never exploded--so he'd cut into some dynamite." (It was actually black powder, as revealed by the investigation above.)

"Blue" was born March 11, 1926, in Kanawha Co, Kelly's Creek, West Virginia, at 10:00 AM. He was delivered by his Grandmother Anna Stacy "Annie" (McMillan) King (1871 – 1968).

"Blue" was the youngest of eight children born to James Stanton King (1898 – 1985) and Una Mae (Withrow) King (1906 – 1964).

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  • Created by: Donna Bloxton "Jesus Girl"
  • Added: 5 Jan 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 140953651
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ardis Calvin “Blue” King (11 Mar 1926–25 Jul 1961), Find A Grave Memorial no. 140953651, ; Maintained by Donna Bloxton "Jesus Girl" (contributor 47675883) Unknown.