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Hartford Courant, November 12, 1919





Conn. Light & Power Co. Plans to

Close Gates this week, Flooding

Ten Miles of Housatonic Valley –

Coal Barely held out.



Its massive quarter-mile dam practically complete after a tremendous effort of two year, the Connecticut Light and Power Company plans, before the end of the present week, to close the gates that will pond 1,500,000,000 cubic feet of water in a 1,500 acre Housatonic Valley basin behind the biggest structure of its kind in the state and one of the biggest in the East, providing the last litigation over property in the basin is cleared up by that time.  The towns of Oxford, New Haven County and Monroe, Fairfield County, were connected yesterday when the wide concrete bridge over the top of the dam was thrown open to the public, taking the place of the older and far smaller bridges in the area that is to be flooded.


That the great dam was completed in the nick of time was indicated by a statement of Vice-President J. Henry Roraback that barely forty days’ supply of coal remained in the possession of the company, and no further shipments were in sight for the generation of electricity at the Waterbury plant of the corporation.  Had the completion of the dam come a week or ten days later, Waterbury and New Britain and many other municipalities in the state would have been without electricity by Christmas, assuming that the coal situation should not be adjusted by that time.


Not only will the dam be capable of taking over the production of the Waterbury plant, but also of generating much greater power, the total voltage being 66,000 and the horsepower 40,000.


Even though the dam is close and the vast accumulation of water started behind it, generation of electricity cannot be started until considerable preliminary work has been done, for which the water pressure is required, as bearings and other equipment first be tried out and the machinery thoroughly tested.  This, with the finishing touches on the dam, will require about a month, thus allowing a margin of but a few days before the Waterbury plant exhausts its supply of fuel.


Activities at the dam were continued with renewed vigor when the coal strike began to loom up, and the last section has just been completed, thus finishing the dam proper.  It is to take over the responsibility of providing electricity for Waterbury, New Britain, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Southington, Cheshire, Branford, Norwalk, Greenwich and smaller places.


When the dam is closed, places where schoolhouses, churches, dwelling houses and a cemetery once stood – whole communities, in fact – will be under fifty feet of water. The power company has already provided other buildings for those in the area to be flooded and the bodies in the cemetery were removed to another place several months ago.



(Special to The Courant.)

New Haven, Nov. 11


Judge Gardiner Greene today heard the beginning or arguments on the injunction proceedings brought by Nathan W, Hendryx of this city against the Connecticut Light & Power Company to prevent condemnation of a river road between Oxford and Southbury which will be submerged by the flooding a the Stevenson Dam.  Lawyer Henry Stoddard, for Mr. Hendryx made oral argument, and T.F. Carmody, for the power company, was about to reply when Judge Greene pointed out that there was no issue before the court. Recess was taken to allow Mr. Stoddard to submit a motion in writing.


By order of Judge Lucien F. Burpee of the Superior Court, the power company has deposited a check for $10,000 with the state treasurer for the river road, tem miles of which will be submerged, according to plans of the power company. By the same court order, the company delivered a bond to the secretary of state indemnifying the state and the towns of Oxford and Southbury from claims from damages arising from the discontinuance of the road.


Mr. Hendryx’s property is not on the river road, but in the vicinity. In accordance with an order of Judge Donald T. Warner, an appraisal of his property was recently made by a committee of the court, together with appraisals of other property affected.  Mr. Hendryx’s injunction is to prevent condemnation of the river road and presentation of the appraisal committee’s report.


Harrison Hewitt, of the committee to estimate damages, testified in court today that, while the committee had agreed on a method of award and had certain figures in mind, these had not been reduced to writing, nor had any recommendation for an award been publicly stated.



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