Drawing Loch Raven Dam


, , , , , , , , ,

It seems that everytime someone asks me to find something for them, I find a lot more undocumented stuff. While researching information concerning the properties at Ashland, which is Northwest of the Loch Raven Dam, Baltimore, Md., I came upon a full scale drawing of the dam. I had posted a few years ago, one of my favorite photographs:

This is the photographer’s studio showing the artist’s rendition of what the dam would look like when construction is completed in 1922. All the supplies for developing the film/glass plates are on the shelves.

Later I would find a lantern slide of just the drawing.

Yesterday I found a colorized drawing. It is fairly beat up. So glad I was able to scan it.

Water and the United Nations


, , , , , ,

August 9th I attended a meeting at Red Emma’s Bookstore in Baltimore. For some reason I thought they were going to try and start another “Free Water Movement”, which has happened in Baltimore before. But this was not the case. They talked about water being a human right and that the U.N. says so:

As can be seen in this flyer, the UN notes that water and sanitation services should not exceed 3% of a families income.

Here is the panel that spoke and the accompanying info from their FB page: Last night more than 160 Baltimoreans came to the Water for All: A Panel on Baltimore’s Water Affordability Crisis. Thank you to everyone who came, to our coalition partners and panelists who made this event so powerful and to Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse for hosting!
We look forward to working with everyone to ensure that everyone in our city has access to safe, affordable water!
Panelists will include:
-Delegate Mary Washington, 43rd District
-Eddie Conway, Producer, The Real News Network
-Komal Vaidya, Clinical Teaching Fellow with the Community Development Clinic, University of Baltimore
-Yvonne Wenger, Baltimore City and Social Services Reporter, The Baltimore Sun
-Zafar Shah, Attorney, Public Justice Center

And below is me in the crowd

Because I did not know a lot of the information presented, I went to the UN website and looked it up. It is a lot to read and decipher:  “The United Nations General Assembly passed and adopted the resolution on the human rights to water and sanitation on 17th December 2015.
• Everyone is entitled “to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use”
• Everyone is entitled “to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity.” I also found other resolutions from 2002 and 2012.

The panelist talked about how people are losing their homes because they cannot afford their water bills (tax liens/sales) Rent, food and medication comes first. In Baltimore 2015 there were 5,301 water shut-offs. in 2016 there were 1,149. They did not explain the decrease in those numbers. One panelist brought up race and the affect this has on the Black Community. This affects everyone, not just blacks. These disproportionate numbers may come from their being more blacks in Baltimore? Population of Baltimore is 620,961 with 63% being black/African Americans. Which to me, brings up another point I was hoping to address but we ran out of time: If Baltimore’s Water Dept supplies water to 1.8 million people and only 600 thousand plus people live here – why aren’t the other peoples/counties carrying the brunt of these water bills? And the big corporations here should be paying more without those big tax write-offs!

So as not to only express problems, they offered a couple solutions. The one I wasn’t sure what they meant so I won’t bring it up, the other is a fairly good idea: Baltimore should create an income-based billing program. And along with that, no one should lose there home over their inability to pay a water bill.

The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human rights with Preamble and 30 Articles is a good read also.

Mariners Point Kayaking Adventure


, , , , , , , , , ,

Although it was somewhat overcast, it was still a great day to be out kayaking.

This was our path. About 3.75 miles and took 2-1/2 hours. We love to stop and look at everything nature has to offer. It was a lot!

As I said, it was dreary out. This is leaving the boat launch, looking towards the train bridge. Last year we headed there after going left up into a cove. This year we explored to the right – Gunpowder Rivers.

A tree hanging on for dear life.

Along the shore and spreading out to the channel was a lot of sea grass. This young Red Winged Black Bird didn’t mind. Neither did we even though it took more energy to paddle through.

Avoiding the tree debris.

We counted up to about 12 Osprey on the back path of our trip. Hard to count because they kept zigzagging right over us.

Me looking up at an Osprey, or him looking down at me?

One of two families of ducks spotted.

Two of these hanging out at different spots.

Kathy told me twice what these guys are called, but I forget!

Old duck blind?

Looking close at the lone flower, off center right, you can see the humming bird.

Lots of butterflies.

They were still checking us out. We didn’t see anyone else on this part of the river.

The other heron. He flew off immediately as we approached his little area. Rough paddling here.

Heading back to the boat ramp. Lots of bigger boats zooming by.

We have no idea what this is!? It is bigger than a basketball.

We saw a few turtles along the way.

Because of how crowded the ramp was, we exited at this small landing. They have cleared it out since last time. 4 steps up and you are at the parking lot.

Until next time nature!

Saw this on Jones Road at Route 7.

It was a really nice day. The park needs more parking for the kayakers. Lots of parking for boat trailers. Kayakers drop off and have to go 1/4 mile to park. After kayaking we went to Big Gunpowder Falls for some pit beef. I haven’t been there in over 30 years. Lots of bikers and a live band outside. Thanks God for another great day!!

Freeport Bahamas May 2017


, , , , ,

From our trip in May. Forgot to post!

This side of the island was pretty beat up. They had a hurricane I believe back in October.

Not to be ones to follow the beaten path, we headed east to the end of the road. Hoping to get to climb this lighthouse.

The guard told us ‘no’ but said she would take our photograph. Damn Tourist!

We headed back to the tourist area. Nice shops.

Headed back west on Sea Horse Rd. and onto the beach. Place was deserted. A lot of people still hadn’t rebuilt from the hurricane. The main attraction, the casino, was still closed.

More closed buildings. And an empty beach.

Hope this didn’t come off of our ship!

A glimmer of life after the storm.

Back on board, Kathy’s island souvenirs attacked the towel elephant.

Repair work to the Disney Cruise ship.

The Carnival Elation pulled into port.

Kind of reminds me of Baltimore.

Busy unloading containers.

I think this is where tankers load/unload? From above, there are a bunch of fuel storage tanks on shore near here.

Whatever this is, it was moving at a fast clip.

Boy Scouts


, , , ,

There are over 200 of these replicas in 39 states in the U.S. and several of its possessions and territories. The project was the brainchild of Kansas City businessman, J.P. Whitaker, who was then Scout Commissioner of the Kansas City Area Council. The copper statues were manufactured by Friedley-Voshardt Co. (Chicago, IL) and purchased through the Kansas City Boy Scout office by those wanting one. All were erected in the early 1950’s by Boy Scout troops and others to celebrate Scouting’s 40th anniversary theme, “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty.”
The statues are approximately 8 1/2 feet tall without the base, constructed of sheet copper, weigh 290 pounds, and originally cost $350 plus freight.

Maryland had two of them. This one was in front of Mervo until it was destroyed and sold as scrap by the contractor. The other is supposedly in Belair.

Electrical Survey


, , , , , , , ,

This afternoon I will be giving a tour to a group of electrical consultants. They want to come up with new ways to save the City money by cutting back on our electrical use. Every time there is a new administration, new “Offices” and Bureaus are created. To prove their worth for their new job and new title, they come up with these new major plans for the City. Actually, there is nothing new about it. This will be the fourth or fifth time this has happened. Once in the 80s it was decided to turn 1/2 the lights out in the hallways and filter areas. Personnel complained that they couldn’t see, so they turned the lights back on, which in turn, maintenance then removed the bulbs. Just a few years ago they (paid consultants) came up with the idea to switch out all lights with LED bulbs. That definitely was not going to be cost saving.

I started looking through some old files and came across these Electrical Commission photographs from the 1920s:

Electrical Commission office for operations, maintenance and construction. 

On the wall to the left of the first photo was this photograph. It was in bad shape when it was removed from the wall and placed in storage.

The commission’s garage and work area was destroyed by fire. Looking thru the building on the left you can see the burnt autos.


More damage from fire.

Work still continues despite the damage.

Clay duct banks. These were used to rebuild the garages…

…as can be seen here.

A new fleet of vehicles while the rebuilding continues in the background.

Peaceful Sunday Kayak


, , , , , ,

Headed up to Deer Creek early this morning for an early kayak adventure. Not a lot of people there, which is the way we like it. Some people fishing off the bank. We saw lots of fish way up stream.

Heading up stream. Fisher-people to the right, casting in our direction.

Something swam across our path. I thought it was a beaver at first…

it was this raccoon. He swam to this side to get a drink!

There were so many red-winged blackbirds. What a variety of sounds they make! Mullein plant to the left. We did see a couple hawks, but they were too far up in the tree for me to get a good shot. I usually just take my underwater camera when kayaking. it doesn’t have a good telephoto lens on it.

Speaking of underwater – I just stuck it under, next to the kayak and saw a bunch of trout.

You do have to pay attention for the submerged logs.

Kathy collecting for our souvenirs. Only had to get out twice for shallow water. Water felt good.

This was as far as we were able to go – too shallow. Almost 2 miles up. You can practically drift all the way back to the mill.

Odd looking cocoon. Three leaves weaved together to make a pouch. Like a pea pod. There were a bunch in this tree.

Pretty little flowers.

Glad we went early. A crowd showed up. Nice day enjoying ourselves, nature and God.

Swimming Bathing Drowning


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

For your summer reading pleasure:

1916: A 16,000 gallon swimming pool was being built next to Lake Roland. July 19, 1917 letter from Water Engineer Walter Lee to the Baltimore County Commissioners asking that they police the area around Lake Roland as it has been reported that 10-15 persons bathe there every day. They reply that the city should get their own men to do it. June 9, 1923 letter requesting permission for the L’Hirondelle Club to be allowed to swim in Lake Roland. March 1924 newspaper clipping on drowning of boy, thirteen, in Lake Roland. The city investigation tried to place blame on the Pennsylvania Rail Road, who they say had some timbers floating about, which the boy fell off of as he used them as a raft. The PRR said it was a contractors fault, who used the timbers for some work they were doing. They also note that the boys were trespassing at the time of the incident. October 10, 1917 letter from Walter Lee to Mayor Preston notifying him of the intent of two ladies from Hampden, asking that a swimming pool be constructed on the property of the Hampden reservoir. They were also soliciting for his honor to pass a city ordinance in which they were to propose. Lee asks that if this happens, would the mayor turn the property over to Park Board? June 20, 1922 letter from Megraw to Christhilf Construction and other contractors, asking that they put in a modest bid (For charities sake) for the construction of a swimming pool at West Park (New name of Hampden Reservoir area) March 22, 1923 memo concerning the creation of a swimming pool between the upper and lower dams complete with toilet, shower facilities and a snack shack. June 20, 1924 letter from Armstrong to Siems concerning the swimming in the waters between the dams. He says it is prohibited. June 20, 1926 letter from the Baltimore Federation of Labor to Bernard Siems concerning the city using non-union workers to build the Druid Park Swimming Pool. On the bottom of this memo is a union logo: Specify UNION LABOR, have the job done Right!

Druid Park Swimming Pool

July 11, 1927 letter from Wolman to Wieghardt, “…when the pool was inspected by us a couple years ago we were informed that the Hampden Reservoir contained filtered water…the Hampden reservoir obtains all its water from the Jones Falls. In other words, the pool has been obtaining a completely untreated water from a relatively dangerous source, which has been abandoned for all municipal purposes for over 10 years…” July 14, 1927 letter refers to the Hampden Reservoir area as Roosevelt Park instead of West Park. June 24, 1930 memo from Rost to the Police Commissioner asking that the police stop the boys from climbing over the fence and swimming in the Montebello Plant II filtered water reservoir. 1932 Pools listed are: Druid Hill Colored Pool, Druid Hill White Pool, Gwynns Falls Park Pool, Carroll Park Wading Pool, Riverside Park Pool, Patterson Park Pool, and Clifton Park Pool.

Clifton Park Pool

June 10, 1933 police report on a ten year old who went swimming with three other youths and he drowned. The others left him and told no one. July 18, 1935 request from the National Guard for a shooting range at Loch Raven. Small does not want this. August 15, 1935 Brigadier General Washington Bowie writes Small back stating, “I note what you state in regard to the interference with the recreational purposes. If you had been with me last Sunday…when I saw three negroes in bathing suits swimming back and forth near where I wish to locate the range, or on a previous occasion when I found a half-dozen white boys swimming…I think you would find a rifle range more desirable than such recreational use…the portion outlined on your print is constantly used by both negroes and whites for swimming. The rifle range would at least make this unpopular.”  Bowie then goes over Small’s head to Crozier. Crozier agrees with Small. A few months later, the Mayor agrees with Small and Crozier. June 14, 1938 list of names of swimmers at Loch Raven. Officer Goetz is to arrest these people and take them to Towson jail if they are caught again swimming in the reservoir. June 14, 1945 memo from A. Bailey to L. Small concerning kids swimming in the waste lake, “The boys in the Northwood neighborhood…are using it as a swimming pool…groups up to about thirty…during the daylight and night hours, sometimes as late as 12pm. They have been warned a number of times by various employees of this division only to be cursed for their troubles…radio police have been summoned but made no attempt to stop this practice…I talked with two patrolmen while eight to ten boys were in the lake and asked that they talk to the boys…they promised they would but walked to the opposite side of the lake and blew their whistles instead. Yesterday, June 13, there were even a greater number of swimmers than any time previous, so I contacted these boys personally and told them that it was my orders to have them arrested…they paid little attention to what I said…placed twelve ‘No Trespassing’ signs up. By 9pm all signs but one were removed and destroyed. At 10pm, a great commotion was heard, a group of three boys were in swimming and one had gotten into trouble and was so far gone when they rescued him, that it was necessary to apply artificial respiration…police called and all three were taken to Sydenham Hospital. The police, at least the patrolmen, do not seem to want to cooperate with us and make no attempt to put a stop to the practice of swimming. (We) could drain the lake and keep it drained in the summer months…parents may then be willing to stop their kids, but judging from what I have seen of these people, I do not believe they have enough control over their children to prevent them from doing anything that they wish to do. Child delinquency for this section is bad, if not worse than the average for Baltimore City. August 23, 1945 memo from Bailey to Strohmeyer about unwanted visitors to the plant. Young men swimming in the waste lake, one almost drowned. Two, three year olds, alone, swimming in waste lake. One threw a fit and refused to leave. The police were called. Two teenagers running through Plant II and when told to leave, went and got their father who dared anyone to stop them from coming into the plant. An undated memorandum: “Yesterday afternoon … three young men found swimming in the Balancing Reservoir at Loch Raven in their birthday clothes.”

Gwynn’s Falls Pool – the overflow goes right into the stream, adding more pollution.

The largest of the pools back then.

Tunnel Inspection Part 2


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Over a year ago I was asked to be part of an inspection team, to walk/boat through the 12′ tunnel that connects the Loch Raven Reservoir to the Montebello Filters. This tunnel was built between 1875 and 1881. In the early years it was inspected quite often. In the 1960s it was decided, after a parallel tunnel was built in the late 1930s, to reverse the flow in this old tunnel to supply drinking water to Towson via the Cromwell Pumping Station. The old tunnel was last inspected in 1984. For that info you can see my post linked here:  https://rep5355.com/2016/04/06/tunnel-inspection/

In preparation for the inspection, I did all the necessary training – Red Cross/CPR, Confined Space, etc. Then we were told that it was too unsafe to send anyone in the tunnel. Totally bummed!

So now they have finally gotten around to inspecting the tunnel with a remote operated vehicle. It has been a long week starting last Friday. First order of business was to clear the site for the contractor to bring in his equipment.

Area cleared and the phragmites sprayed.

Next, construction mats were placed across the phrag roots – which is very soft. (And the equipment very heavy) These boards did the trick.

The equipment was unloaded. This is the inspection vehicle. It is about 14′ long and weighs 1500 pounds.

This is the tether. The sub is connected to this. It is 7 miles long, but only needs to go 5-1/2 miles.

The sub will enter at the top right. This is looking down the shaft towards the tunnel.

Here she goes.

Because this is a pipe that is in use, with drinking water, everything that enters the water was sprayed with a chlorine solution.

The control center. All this information on all these screens will be made into a report for the City to decide if the tunnel is still usable. The interesting one is bottom center. If you watch that and there is a change in the circle, say a rise in the bottom, that means the sub is going over a rock fall. You then look at the camera display and you can actually see it.

In my previous tunnel inspection post is a photo where the balancing shaft enters the tunnel at Cromwell. It is mostly smooth. Unlike this entry point – it looks like someone busted thru the top of the tunnel with a sledge hammer.

The sub was moving at a nice pace – looked like the Enterprise going at warp speed! Not sure what those particulates are just yet. Probably just some stirred up lime deposits.

And when I got bored, I went looking for nature. There are 3 young bucks…

A couple babies.

An Eastern-eyed Click Beetle

Bunches of other bugs.

And our night time visitor looking for food.

Saving History, One Piece at a Time


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anyone that has been following my blog will remember my writing about a few construction projects that are water related. Such as the new buildings at Loch Raven, the contractor busting a hole in the ten foot conduit that supplies water to Baltimore, another contractor digging up the foundation to an old pumping station, the attempts to save the Clifton Gate House, the Roland Tower, the residence at Montebello, etc.

When I first wrote about the work along Loch Raven, I wrote about the house and buildings they were tearing down. After being notified of this project, I went to investigate and saw a bunch of metal signs. Not necessarily ultra historic, but a part of Baltimore’s Water Supply History nonetheless. I was able to retrieve from the contractor, 2 of the 8 that were there. The other six were taken by a company the reuses old building materials.

Here is one of the eight signs. This all happened a few months ago. The other day I received an email. One of those courtesy type ones from the big bosses downtown, trying to keep me in the history loop. Well, I was dumbfounded when I read the email. It just said FYI and had the attached photo along with two other attachments.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! This photo is of the marble plaque that was in the original 1881 gate house to the first Loch Raven Dam!!! i always wondered what happened to this thing.

The third attachment is a quote, only partially shown to protect the parties involved. Two marble plaques? The quote went on to say that the other one was dated 1887!! Holy crap! Only one water works related to Loch Raven was built at that time and that was the Clifton Gate House!! My eyes were playing tricks on me!! This couldn’t be!

But wait! How did this company get these things and were they really trying to sell them back to the City? City property??!! I don’t think I ever cussed in an email to one of the bosses downtown but I just couldn’t contain myself “What the hell! This is City property. How can they charge us for something that is ours?!” I suggested he gets the Environmental Police involved to check this out. If not, tell them I will give them $500 and we won’t press charges. He said he turned it over to the EP. And he did. Today I received a copy of the investigative report stating that these items were picked up by accident and would be returned to the City. And they were this afternoon!!

More on this later so stay tuned! (I want to go into a lengthy bit of comment on what we should learn from this…)