The New Croton Dam (also known as Cornell Dam) is a dam forming the New Croton Reservoir, both parts of the Westchester, New York City water supply system. It stretches across the Croton River near Croton-on-Hudson, New York, about 22 miles (35 km) north of New York City. Construction began in 1892 and was completed in 1906. Designed by Alphonse Fteley (1837–1903), the masonry dam is 266 feet (81 m) broad at its base and 297 feet (91 m) high from base to crest. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest dam in the world.
The original Croton Dam (Old Croton Dam) was built between 1837 and 1842 to improve New York City’s water supply. By 1881, after extensive repairs to the dam, which was 50 feet (15 m) high, Old Croton Reservoir could supply about 90 million US gallons (340,000 m3) a day to the city via the Old Croton Aqueduct. To meet escalating water needs, the Aqueduct Commission of the City of New York ordered the construction of a new Croton system in 1885. Hydro engineer James B. Francis was brought in as a consultant for the construction. EZ Westchester Junk Removal
The proposed dam and reservoir covered 20 square miles (52 km2) of land occupied by public and private buildings, six cemeteries, and more than 400 farms. Condemnation disputes led to “protests, lawsuits, and confusion” before payment of claims and the awarding of construction contracts. The workforce on the new dam included stonemasons and laborers who had worked on the original dam. John B. Goldsborough, superintendent of excavations and hiring for the project, also recruited stonemasons from southern Italy, who re-located to Westchester in New York.
Building the dam meant diverting the river from its normal path and pumping the riverbed dry. To accomplish this, workers dug a crescent-shaped canal 1,000 feet (300 m) long and 200 feet (61 m) wide on the hill on the north side of the river, secured the canal with a masonry retaining wall, and built temporary dams to control the water flow. The initial construction lasted eight years, and extensive modifications and repairs went on for another six. Working conditions were often difficult. A silent film, The Croton Dam Strike, released in 1900, depicted labor-management problems related to the dam’s construction.
Designed by Alphonse Fteley (1837–1903), the masonry dam is 266 feet (81 m) broad at its base and 297 feet (91 m) high from base to crest. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest dam in the world.
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