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East Rushford Sinks into Oblivion Behind Big Dam

(From the scrapbook of Eddy C. [1857-1944] & Helen White Gilbert [1855-1929].  Clippings are not dated and newspaper unknown, unless noted. Most dates supplied were handwritten and initialed by the collectors.)  Transcribed by Joseph Damiano.


 

Village Sinks into Oblivion as Water Backs Up Behind Big Dam

For Months Residents Have Been Moving Possessions and Now East Rushford Passes from Map to Sluice Gates are Close to Caneadea Power Project

East Rushford, Feb.6 - This is the last time that the name of this village may be used as a date-line on a newspaper article. Even as this article was being written, the waters of Caneadea creek were slowly but surely creeping over the once fertile valley that contained the little hamlet.

East Rushford is no more; it is now a village that was. All summer long the villagers have been making their exodus, some putting rollers under their houses and moving them, others razing them. For the past several weeks East Rushford has been as deserted as the village immortalized by the poet Goldsmith.

Gates Closed Saturday

The work of building the large single arch dam was completed by the [Caneadea] Power Construction Company was completed last Saturday night, when the gates were closed by A.S Kennell, in charge of the gate adjusting, who later left for his hoe in Kent,Ohio. With the closing of these gates there was a complete stopping of the waters of Caneadea creek, which will make a lake of the site once occupied by the village of East Rushford. Already the water is beginning to pile up at the upstream foot of the dam, and the next thaw will see the new construction's strength tested by torrents of water that will rush down from the Allegany hills. No name has been decided upon for the lake that will be formed over the one-time village of East Rushford. It will be a disappearing lake- here one month, gone the next. Engineers estimate that the flow from the dammed-up creek will fill the lake one and a half times a year. This water will be held as a reserve- to be used as need by the power plants at Mount Morris and Rochester. The lake will be purposely emptied in the summer and fall to make way for the late winter and early spring flood waters.

To Control Genesee

The specific purposes of the new dam are to control the flow of the Genesee river for the power plants of the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation until the great storage dam in the Genesee river gorge at Mount Morris is built, and with that work under way to help control the water of the river in times of freshets. Located strategically near the mouth of the Caneadea creek, the dam will regulate the flow of water from the creek into the river. In dry seasons, when more water is needed to run the turbines in the power plants along the river, water from the lake held in check at the dam will be released and allowed to flow in the river. According to the engineers, water let through the penstocks in the dam will arrive in Rochester forty-eight hours later. Towering 140 feet above the surface of the creek, the dam will flood 800 acres, making a lake two miles long and a mile and a half wide at the widest point. It will drain an area of sixty square miles. The structure is known in engineering parlance as a " constant-angle type of arch" dam. It is the only dam of its kind in the East, though the dam in the Great Smoky creek in North Carolina resembles it in some particulars.

Dam 600 Feet Long

The dam is 600 feet long and built into the solid rock of the banks. At the base the structure is forty-five feet wide; this width diminishes gradually going up towards the top. The structure is built of concrete, with both upstream and downstream walls protected by an armor of especially prepared brick. There are two penstock gates, to release water into turbines when the adjoining power plant is built, and two sluice gates to release water into the river without generating power. The gates will be worked by electrical hoists. Excavation for the construction was started in December, 1926. Work on the last sections was hurried during the past week, so that Sunday morning when Edward Kayser, superintendent of construction, left for New York everything was practically completed. The large force of workmen is now being disbanded. The water which is slowly creeping up against the dam is expected to create the new lake by June 1st, provided the usual run-offs are experienced. It is also estimated that the new dam will control about one-third of the water in the Genesee river.

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