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By Bert Smith
Them Dam Writers online 

Silas Mason, Grand Coulee Dam and Secretariat


Mrs. Silas Mason accepting the 1933 Preakness Stakes Trophy From Governor Ritchie of Maryland with Jockey Charles Kurtsinger. - Image courtesy Bert Smith

In August 1934, the Silas Mason Company, headquartered in New York City, began building a new "all electric" town next to the Columbia River in eastern Washington State. The town, called Mason City, was named after Silas Boxley Mason II, who was the Chairman of the MWAK consortium that won the contract to build the Grand Coulee Dam.

Silas was married to Suzanne Dallam Burnett, an accomplished thoroughbred racehorse trainer and owner. Suzanne owned Lexington Kentucky's Duntreath Farms and 1933 Preakness Stakes winner, "Head Play," who was runner up in the Kentucky Derby earlier that year. The man with the overall responsibility for constructing the Grand Coulee Dam also had a wife involved at the highest levels of thoroughbred racing. Suzanne would later name a thoroughbred racehorse "Couleedam" (born in 1933) after her husband's involvement with the Grand Coulee Dam. Couleedam had career earnings of $11,847. There was another thoroughbred horse named "Coulee Dam," born in 1977. This horse was a descendant of a horse called "Grand Coulee," born in 1964 to a Virginia farm called Meadow Stables, home of Triple Crown winner "Secretariat." "Grand Coulee" was Secretariat's older half-sister. More details on this story can be found at:

- Bert Smith, Them Dam Writers online

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