Oklahoma Man Reflects On Building Keystone Dam Decades Ago

Wednesday, June 12th 2019, 10:05 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The Keystone Dam was completed 55 years ago, and Don Brummett was one of the people who helped make it happen.

The Keystone Dam released the second-highest amount of water in its history during this flood. During the 1986 flood, the Army Corps of Engineers released 307,000 cubic feet per second. The Corps released 275,000 cfs during this most recent flood.

Brummett remembers the first time he saw the dam work.

"When it got up there, it was a sight to see. It's still a sight to see,” he said.

Back in the early 60s, Brummett helped build the dam by pouring concrete for two years.

"I could have been a brain surgeon, but I chose concrete,” he said. “That's how smart I was."

He made $3.25 an hour.

“Worked six days, always worked more hours. Just whenever they called you in. If they had a big pour, they just called you in and you showed up, went to work,” Brummett said.

At one point more than 300 workers were doing their part to make the dam a reality. Brummett said he would be hanging 100 feet above ground at times.

"It was kinda dangerous,” he said. “You had to pay attention to what you were doing."

Decades later during this historic flooding, Don's own home is impacted.

"This is the second time. 1974 [it] flooded,” Brummett said.

He said his home is live able again, and he’s doing fine.

"The Lord took care of us,” he said.

Looking back on all the work he and others put in, Brummett said he is proud to have been a part of building the Keystone Dam.

"Man cannot control all this water. He can do the best he can,” he said.

To hear one of Don's stories about working on the dam in bitterly cold temperatures, watch this video.