The barn in B/W. Thanks God for the snow! It lets us be grateful for the sunny days.
Started planning back in 1854. Elevation of 160’ would supply seven-eighths of population (according to contour lines). Supplying others outside that elevation would be a matter of mechanical detail (pumping stations). The need to keep Lake Roland and the Gunpowder as two distinct and separate supplies, as Lake Roland becomes muddied during rainy season (this was why Druid Lake was constructed). It was first suggested to tap the river as far up as the Warren Factory but concurred by a host of engineers that the proper volume of water could not be obtained by damming at any point above Raven’s Rock and most agreed to a point further downstream about where Mr. Martin has located it. The dam will be erected on the Gunpowder river, at a point admirably adapted for the purpose, a short distance above Mine Bank Run, and the lake thus formed, will extend up the river as far as Meredith’s Ford Bridge at the Dulaney Valley Turnpike, where the pump house connected with the ‘Temporary Supply’ is now located…will flow by natural gravity through a twelve foot pipe to a lake at Montebello, between Hillen and Harford roads, located in a natural basin formed by one of the tributaries of Herring Run (Tiffany Run). The lake will have a water area of about eighty acres and a storage capacity of 700,000,000 gallons. The twelve foot pipe (conduit) will continue to a point on the Harford road opposite Homestead, whence pipes will be laid to connect with the city pipe system at North Boundary Ave. and Washington St. Lake Clifton.
This photo has me baffled. It is showing two 12′ conduits, whereas all the drawings only show one. On the left you can see where the laborers are building the brick lined conduit. On the right, nothing going on. Wondering if it was built in error or was it for a bypass as the dam was being built?
City workers lounging and the job is almost completed.
My WordPress Dashboard tells me that this is my 200th blog post. So, since my blog is called Water and Me, maybe I should write something about water? Trying to think of something profound or water history worthy! I know – Don’t Drink The Water!!!
In 2006 I started writing about water history, doing research and then eventually writing a small book, mostly on one of the water tunnels that supplies water to the Montebello Filters. Here is the Lantern Slide I saved from the dumpster, that started it all:
This is what I had to say about it in my book: “While working with one of the lantern slides, I noticed something odd, that in a tunnel, where workers were excavating, there were train tracks that came to a dead end under what looked like a giant boulder. This particular slide came from a box from around 1938, so I asked Richard if he had any information on an event of that year that was of interest. Sure enough, he showed me the Annual Report covering the year 1938 where it was reported that an explosion had occurred in the building of the Gunpowder Falls Montebello Tunnel. This notation in the report was only about a half a paragraph long, nothing more than a blurb, so I decided to investigate it further.” And I have been investigating water history ever since. Ten men were killed in this explosion and it was just a blurb in a report!
After years of refining my skills at research, I came across so much more information on this explosion. It is amazing what you can find these days on the internet. I found this photo and purchased it from the Baltimore Sun.
It shows the ten dead African American miners being hauled out. My research has taken me to draw the conclusion that this was no accident. That because of the Union troubles going on back then (Fighting between Unions for membership), this was a case of murder.
Sometimes historical research is not pleasant. Just as much as present day research can be unsettling. Like my comment above to not drink the water. I don’t drink it because of the research I have done concerning the fluoridation of the water system. But, I will save that for another post…
These aerial photographs were just sent to me from Corey at www.aceservinc.com
Makes me want to go out and buy a drone! As far as I know, the busted ten foot conduit has not been fixed, but these guys are doing an exceptional job on building the new Loch Raven Maintenance Yard and Admin buildings.
Up the road a piece is the new admin building. The abandoned Zebra Mussel Station is in the background.
I am now in the process of documenting Water Board minutes from 1912-1919, Baltimore City. Over the course of blogging water history, some readers had asked information concerning relatives that may have worked on the New Dam at Loch Raven and/or constructing the Filtration Plant at Montebello. These ledgers have list of employees and their addresses and in some cases, their titles and pay rates. If you think this may be you, send me their names and I will try to look up that info. Keep in mind this is for the above dates. Once I am finished documenting, these books are going into the archives…
So when we found a puddle, Jay took the opportunity to cool off.
Since my retirement is pretty much just around the corner, I need to start working on “Tying up some loose ends”, so to speak. At work, this means getting my files together and putting them in order so others may find important information. As far as my work on the DPW Museum archives, I do not think I will ever get this done. Just so much stuff.
I came back across an old box full of broken glass plate negatives. I guess it must be about 24 8″x10″ plates. Hard to tell because most are broken into a lot of small pieces. Some, like the one below, are in just a couple pieces, making restoration fairly simple. Years ago, before computer scanning and restoration software, the previous archivist either placed the pieces on a Xerox copier and scanned them or took a photograph of the pieces, placed together as best they could. They came out as negatives. I need to find those paper copies to help put the pieces back together.
Here is one of the better broken plates. The slivers from the crack will never be found by me. So I filled it in as best I could with the software. When I first started my water history research, I had no idea that Baltimore City built one dam on top of another. The upper right portion shown was built in steps, at an elevation of 188′. This was to be able to support the newer dam which would be built at elevation 240′. It was thought to be able to support a dam at 270′.
The jigsaw puzzle, restoration process is long and tedious and I don’t believe I will have the time to finish up this box of broken pieces. Let alone finish up documenting what is left to be done.
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.
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.