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Hartford Courant, October 19, 1919






Believes Stevenson Dam

Reflects Credit Upon

Entire State.





Ten-Mile Lake to be created next month by completion of work


Governor Marcus H. Holcomb, speaking yesterday at a meeting of the Connecticut Editorial Association, expressed the belief that the entire state would benefit by the mammoth dam and power works being completed in the Housatonic River at Stevenson, Conn., for the Connecticut Light and Power Company.


“It is a splendid and courageous enterprise,” he said, “to utilize the latent power of this river, and I hope the day will come when the Connecticut River is put to greater use, as well as other rivers of the state."


The governor was addressing the Connecticut Editorial Association, at a meeting held on the site of the dam. Connecticut should make greater use of her natural resources, he urged. While it is true that the builders of the gigantic project at Stevenson initiated it as a business proposition, said the executive, they were incidentally conserving huge quantities of coal for the rest of the state by generating electricity by water power, relieving no small amount of railroad congestion by coal car traffic and ultimately bringing down the cost of electricity.


“I have followed the progress of this great structure since its beginning at bed rock,” he said, “and have come to look upon it as a great public good."


The speech of the governor was brief and the only one made at the meeting. It was made following a dinner served to the guests in one of the mess halls of the plant. The executive was loudly applauded, and all at tables rose from their seats as he stood to speak. He was obliged to wait over a minute before the applause subsided.


Nearly 100 newspapermen representing journals published in all parts of the state were present at the meeting as the guest of the Connecticut Light and Power Company. Vice-President J. Henry Roraback of Canaan, and former Dock Commissioner R. A. C. Smith of New York, a director in the corporation were the hosts. Many of the newspapermen made the trip by automobiles, and those who came by train or trolley were met at Derby and taken to the dam in automobile trucks.


Guided by the head engineers of the dam and the members of the company present, the guests made a complete inspection of the entire project, including an automobile ride over much of the ground that is to be inundated when the dam is practically completed, next month.  Expressions of surprise at the magnitude of the project were heard on all sides. Newspapermen looked upon it as a resourceful step that reflected credit upon the state.


The Stevenson dam, which is being built by the J. A. P. Cristfield Contracting Company of Philadelphia between Oxford and Monroe, is about seven miles above Derby.  The project is one of the largest ever attempted in the eastern states and the dam itself is one of the largest in New England.  The engineering work is under the direction of H. J. Hoard and C. W. Blakeslee and Sons are sub-contractors.


Preliminary work was started in August, 1917, and excavating was begun in the fall of 1917. Six miles of railroad trackage for the company’s sole use had to be constructed; three bridges spanning the river were built, one of which is still standing.


The foundations for the entire dam and power house are on bed rock. From the deepest part of the foundation to the crest of the dam measures 125 feet. From one bank to the other, across the dam, measures 1,200 feet, almost a quarter-mile. The dam is eighty-one feet wide at its base and tapers to the crest, which is a flat curve about fifteen feet in width.


The top of the dam, twenty feet above the structure, a concrete highway bridge is being constructed, having a twenty-three foot roadway and supported from the crest of the dam on large piers. This highway bridge will connect the new road from Stevenson Station to the relocated highway on the easterly side of the dam, leading southerly to Derby and easterly to Waterbury.


It has been accepted by New Haven and Fairfield Counties in lieu of Zoars and Bennett’s bridges, which are to be abandoned.




The normal water level of the river before work was started was thirty to thirty-five feet, according to the datum established and used by the company’s engineers. The elevation of the spillway is 100.25 feet and when the reservoir behind the dam is filled, the water will be backed up for over ten miles.  The area of the reservoir lake is about 1,500 acres and its capacity is one and one-half billion cubic feet of water. At its widest part it will be one and one-half miles. The draining area is about 1,560 square miles. The water at Sandy Hook Bridge, about eight miles above the dam will be fifteen to twenty feet deep and at the dam it self the depth will be seventy-five to eighty feet,




When work was at its highest since the first of the year, about 800 men were employed and much of the time it was necessary to work night and day. During the busiest times, eight standard gauge locomotives, five narrow gauge locomotives and forty-five cars were used in hauling material. Seven steam shovels; nineteen derricks and hoist engines; two drag line equipments, with 1,200 feet, fifteen ton cableway; and thirty-five pumps of various sizes, descriptions varying from a small Cameron pump to a 50 HP electrical centrifugal pump, capable of throwing 2,250 gallons per minute, were used during the course of the construction of the dam and powerhouse.


Two hundred and sixteen thousand yards of excavation made way for the dam. One hundred and fifty-five thousand cubic yards of concrete have been used in the job.  During the month of September just passed, 27,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed in the dam.


The concrete plant at the works consists of six towers, mammoth concrete mixers, six towers, with complete equipment of hoppers and buckets, and 2,000 feet of chutes for placing the concrete. The cement storage at Stevenson is sufficient to care for 18,000 barrels, and for a number of weeks it was necessary to arrange for the delivery of six carloads of cement daily.




After work was started, a temporary plant had to be constructed, with a battery of four 250 H.P boilers and two steam-driven generators.  This was operated until the transmission line to Waterbury could be erected and current obtained from the Waterbury station. When this was done, only the boilers were kept working to provide steam for the construction work.


The permanent power plant when finished will contain four generators of 10,000 HO each, capable of generating 6,600 volts, which will be stepped up to 66,000 volts.  Three of these big generators are already installed in the plant and when the fourth is put in, the total capacity of the plant will be 10,000 H.P.  This current will be transmitted over high tension wires to Waterbury, twenty miles away, from which point it will be sent out in all directions.


In order to carry out the work at the dam, it was necessary to install a perfectly equipped machine shop, with all the necessary lathes, drills, and presses needed, and a carpenter shop, with band saws, circular saws and the like. There is on the ground a field laboratory where samples of concrete are daily tested and other material is watched carefully.




A number of buildings have been constructed on the ground for the workmen, and they constitute a small city in themselves. The dining room for the workmen is capable of seating nearly 300. The engineers working on the job have their own dining and living quarters. A building on the ground is devoted to a hospital, equipped to care for any accident that may occur, and a doctor is always in attendance.  State police are on the ground at all times to watch the plant.


The territory to be supplied from the Stevenson plant covers Waterbury, New Britain, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Cheshire and Southington, and a transmission line to Danbury is being erected.


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