Jan "High Pockets" Jenson, Ironworker from 1976-2002

{Jan's been emailing me with some of her stories and pictures--}

I started working iron in North Dakota in 1976. I earned my Journey(wo)man card in October 1979 and "boomed out" to a coal mine in Montana in April 1980.... seems like half the guys I worked with in ND and a lot of the boomers from different parts of the U.S. (who were working in ND) came to MT too... then we ALL ended up in California from the fall of 1980 through the early '90's.

My daughter (Shelly) and I were the first mother/daughter ironworkers in Local 377 and maybe even in the U.S.! (if anyone knows of other mother-daughter ironworkers before 1983, I'd like to hear from them!!)

I also helped build the airport at Maui. Me and a guy named Steve Bennett from Montana were the main ones who'd work up high and a FEW seasoned Hawaiians. Most of the guys didn't like working high - or even off the ground, so when the big boss (a Samoan) came to get me and/or Steve (he's 6 ft. 6 inches tall) I would laugh and say, "Oh! I see. It takes one GOOD journeywoman to replace 6 guys around here...!!" The first couple of times his jaw about hit his chest - then he'd just laugh and walk off.

Below you will find pictures of powerhouses I worked on in North Dakota in 1976-80. Coal Creek, Coyote & Antelope Power Plants. I was the only woman on the gasification job with 4,100 men in 1983! I met another woman ironworker in the parking lot as I was coming in - she was headed back to Texas because her sister was sick. We were BOTH VERY DISAPPOINTED she had to leave... as we struck up an immediate friendship (er, sistership...!)

I'm SO delighted to hear from Jeannie that there about 25 women in Local 377 now (2003). If anyone wants to correspond with me, please email: vizual@alltel.net and I will send you my phone number if you want to chat too!

(click on the small picture to get a larger one)
Bigge, Davenport, 1980. Davenport 1980 Davenport Cement 1980
The Crew at Davenport D. Nygaard & M. Weber, 1980


more of HMB at the clambake--1980 Barracks, Ft. Ord 1981 IBM, San Jose 1982
Changing lightbulbs Downtown San Jose, 1985 Church Renovation 1985
Davenport Kiln 1985 San Jose parking garage, mid 1980s Shadows in a jlg, 1986
Amoroso 1986 Fairmont Hotel 1986-1987 San Jose jail, 1988
San Mateo 1988

Moscone 1988
(Walt's infamous cattle truck)

San Jose convention center 1989
Pickets 1989 General Motors
(setting steel with a helicopter)
Coyote Power Plant
Lee Massine Ingrid Kelly Easley & Pat Kemp
Moon over Manhattan.....