The Dam Facts: Part I in a Series

July 3, 2014

What Are the Dam Facts?

While working on the Dam Project significant knowledge about the Newlin Grist Mill dam was gained. The unexpected Dam Disaster provided a unique opportunity to study the dam and learn about its construction and history. The staff took the opportunity to examine, photograph, sketch, and record as much information as possible.

 

Dam Facts - #1:  Double Dam!

The first step of the Dam Restoration Project was to recover the boulders and stone fill that had washed out of the dam. We were surprised to find the dam was that was damaged actually was two dams! The southern and northern sections of the surviving dam are not on the same alignment. The face of the southern dam was revealed to continue in a line 5'-8' behind the northern dam.

 

The picture shows the line of the front face of the older dam coming behind the newer section in the lower left corner.

 

Based on the size and type of construction, it is believed the southern dam was built earlier, possibly even at the time the mill was built in 1704. The northern dam appears to be much later (late 19th or early 20th century). The size of stones used and method of their placement suggest that large equipment may have been used to reconstruct a section of the dam after it collapsed sometime in the past. More research will be required to determine when this earlier collapse might have occurred.

 

Evidence of the junction of these two walls was lost when the dam collapsed in April 2014. The restoration was accomplished by following the two faces and tying them together where they met. The final product is actually not much different than the pre-disaster appearance.

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