Hartford Courant, September 22,918
GIGANTIC DAM ACROSS HOUSATONIC RIVER
CONNECTICUT’S HIGH MARK IN ENGINEERING
Connecticut Light & Power Co.’s Project
Biggest Achievement, in Many Ways,
In State’s History – In Effect Small Mountain,
81 Feet Through at Base, Going down 40 Feet
Below Mean Level of Water, 1,300 Feet from
Bank to Bank. To Rest on Solid Rock and to
Contain 100,000 Cubic Yards of Concrete –
Zoar Bridge, Connecting Oxford and Monroe,
To Be Replaced by the Dam – Many Changes
Coming with Construction of Barrier – Harnessing of Power Heretofore Wasted Means Great Saving.
What is in many ways the largest engineering feat ever undertaken in Connecticut is now well under way and attracts the surprised attention of everyone who has the good fortune to get a look at it as do all passengers on the Berkshire division of the “New Haven” road as they travel above Derby; for the track runs along the bank just above the great work.
It is the building of the immense dam across the Housatonic River at a point about three-quarters of a mile below Stevenson station and somewhat below the well-known Zoar Bridge, which connects the towns of Oxford and Monroe
The dam will in effect be a miniature mountain, it will be eighty-one feet through at the base. It will run down at the deepest part to forty feet below the mean level of the river and it will run up seventy feet above that level. It will be about 1,300 feet long from bank to bank. Along the top will run a concrete highway, which will take the place of the Zoar Bridge.
100,000 Cubic Yards of Concrete
All the way across the river, the dam will rest on solid rock and it will contain 100,000 cubic yards of concrete. The work as it goes on now, reminds all who saw the Panama Canal under construction of that great operation. Eight little dinky steam engines are puffing here and there along the seven or eight miles of track that have been laid for them, drawing dirt away and bringing material in. All the machinery of modern construction work is there and busy. There are steam shovels, steam pile drivers, cranes, hammers, etc., and a striking feature for the spectator is the lorry cableway strung 150 feet up in the air across the abyss from bank to bank about 1,500 feet, over which runs a carrier that takes fifteen tons.
ECONOMY IN HARNESSED POWER.
The effect of erecting this barrier will be to create a lake, running back twelve miles, and the power secured by it will equal about 25,000 horse-powers and, if it had been put in use the past year, this would have saved $1,000,000 invested in coal and burned up. The energy, that has been and is running to waste and will soon be under harness, is in immediate demand. The completion of the work will mark a great advance in economy for the state, The construction is under contract to the firm of C. W. Blakeslee & Son of New Haven and it calls for at least 600 men, though at present only about 400 can be obtained.
C.L.& P. Co. Project
The dam is built by the Connecticut Light and Power Company, which has the backing of the United Gas Improvement Company of Philadelphia. The beginning of this important development was with the Rocky River Power Company, which owns a water power on Rocky River and several on the Housatonic, all yet to be developed.
The company bought the Housatonic Power Company from the “New Haven" road, the United Electric Light & Power Company, and various other concerns and then changed its name to the Connecticut Light & Power Company, and already has a wide field in which it is operating, but it can use a vast amount more of power.
The company has a dam at New Milford and a steam station at Waterbury that it got with the Housatonic Power Company. It supplies electricity to Waterbury, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, New Britain, Southington, Cheshire, Branford, Norwalk and Greenwich and smaller places. The great dam at Zoar Bridge is the first of several it may put up on the river, where it has the rights from Falls Village down.
MANY ACCOMPANYING CHANGES
The construction of this dam calls for making over a great deal of the country roundabout. The Zoar Bridge will disappear. A new bridge of concrete, 23 feet wide, on designed approved by Highway Commissioner Bennett, is being completed across the Pomperaug river, and the Sandy Hook Bridge on the main-trunk line between Waterbury and Danbury has been raised eleven feet. The Riverview Cemetery of Oxford, in which there had been 300 interments, was removed to a beautiful site chosen by the cemetery association on the hill 250 feet above the old location and the church will soon be moved to near the new cemetery. Two school houses, one in Oxford and the other in Southbury, have been removed to locations above the flow line. All the properties on both sides of the river for twelve miles up have been acquired by the company, save one, on which condemnation proceedings are now pending.
A large number of telephone and telegraph lines and something like twenty miles of highway will have to be relocated. Complete transmission rights have been secured through to Waterbury so that the supply of power can be distributed. When the dam and power house are ready, there will be just so much more power available to manufacturers in the state and it will all be power that has been running away until now, but that hereafter will be caught as it runs and made to work. It is hoped to have the dam finished by the fall of 1919.
Men in Charge.
The engineering work is under J. A. P Cristtold, an experienced engineer, who has built plants in the South and until coming to this work with the U.G.I and there is a corps now of twenty assistants under Engineers Birkenbine, Burrough, Dakin and Olds. The officers of the Connecticut Light and Power Company are: – President Lewis Little, who is also financial vice-president of the “U.G.I.”; Vice-Presidents – L.W. Day, New York, Hollis Norris, Philadelphia and J. H. Roraback, Canaan, who has long been interested in such power put to use.
Recently Governor Holcomb visited the site and “The Courant” has secured a number of views taken at the time, which suggest, though no picture can fully present, the scene in its impressive magnitude.