Advertisement

The Forgotten Dam: The Eastern Reservoir at Hollidaysburg and Its Role in Canal History

  • Neil M. ColemanEmail author
  • Stephanie Wojno
Chapter

Abstract

Forgotten today, the Eastern Dam and reservoir near Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania provided dry season flows to the Main Line Canal east of the Allegheny Mountains. After years of delays the dam was completed in 1847, but by the 1850’s it was already rendered obsolete by the construction of a continuous rail route across the state. In 1857 the canal system and the Eastern Dam were sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad. The dam was intentionally notched in the winter of 1882, preventing a deep lake from reforming. Had this not been done, calculations reveal the dam would have failed in the great storm of 1889 causing a catastrophic flood, likely destroying the low-lying parts of Williamsburg 21 km downstream. The embankment of this dam still exists on private ground south of Hollidaysburg as a monument to engineering skills in the mid-1800’s.
“There is nothing new except what is forgotten.”
  • Mademoiselle Bertin, milliner to Marie Antoinette

Keywords

Eastern dam Hollidaysburg Pennsylvania Canal Frankstown branch Feeder canal Juniata River Neil Coleman Stephanie Wojno LiDAR Spillway Main line Dam breach Flood 

References

  1. Board of Canal Commissioners (1841) Annual Report of the Board of Canal Commissioners for the year ending 31 Oct. 1840, read in the state Senate on Jan 15, 1841, p 46Google Scholar
  2. Chow VT (ed) (1964) Handbook of applied hydrology. McGraw-Hill Book Co., NY, 1418 pGoogle Scholar
  3. DCNR (2018) PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, link to vertical accuracy reports for LiDAR data in Pennsylvania. Available at: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pamap/documents/index.htm. Accessed 5April 2018
  4. Dunwoody HHC (1889) Monthly Weather Review, vol XVII, No 4, p 118, Washington City, May 1889Google Scholar
  5. Fritz D, Clemenson AB (1992) Special study – Juniata and Western Divisions, Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. For National Park Service, US Department of Interior, 132 pGoogle Scholar
  6. Johnstown Daily Tribune (1880) Story under “Local Items – Minor.” Friday April 16, 1880. Vol. VIII, No. 39, p 4Google Scholar
  7. Johnstown Daily Tribune (1882) Story in edition of Feb 7, 1882Google Scholar
  8. Morris WE (1839a) “A Map of S. Branch of Juniata River Surveyed with a view to Location of Eastern Reservoir,” by Wm. E. Morris, Civil Engineer, November 1839. Pennsylvania Canal Maps, map book 18, page k, 2 sections, available at: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r017_0452_CanalMapBooks/CanalMapBook18Interface.html [Shows: Furnace, Saw Mill, Sett’s Mill, Distillery, Turnpike, Newry, Dam, Feeder, Penna. Canal, Basin, Hollidaysburg]. Accessed 26 March 18
  9. Morris WE (1839b) Report of William E. Morris, Engineer [No. 12]. Reservoirs. Engineer’s Office, Hollidaysburg, Nov. 1, 1839. To: James Clarke, Esq., President of the Canal Board, p 125–131Google Scholar
  10. Morris WE (1846a) PA State Archives, PA Canal Maps, map book #18, page w, map dated Mar 10 1846, available at: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r017_0452_CanalMapBooks/CanalMapBook18Interface.html. Accessed 26 March 18
  11. Morris WE (1846b) PA State Archives, PA Canal Maps, map book #4, page 11, plan dated Mar 10 1846, available at: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r017_0452_CanalMapBooks/CanalMapBook4Interface.html. Accessed 27 March 18
  12. NPS (1991) Reconnaissance survey – Juniata River Corridor, America’s Industrial Heritage Project, Southwestern Pennsylvania. Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission. Prepared by National Park Service, Sept. 1991, 86 pGoogle Scholar
  13. O’Connor JE, Beebee RA (2009) Floods from natural rock-material dams. In: Megaflooding on earth and Mars. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 128–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. PA Archive (2018) Three field books for the Eastern Reservoir, one by Superintendent of Construction, Engineer Thomas T. Wierman, Sr., 1846. W2-b. 40. Records of the Board of Canal Commissioners, General Records, Engineering Records, Field Book (Eastern Reservoir), microfilm positive roll #16, RG-17Google Scholar
  15. PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access) (2013b) Metadata summary for PAMAP program 3.2 ft digital elev. model of Pennsylvania (based on LiDAR data). Available at: http://www.pasda.psu.edu/uci/DataSummary.aspx?dataset=1247. Accessed 4 April 2018
  16. State Engineer (1840) Plan of cast iron pipes (and other hardware) for Eastern Reservoir furnished to contractors 4/24/1840. Available at: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r017_0452_CanalMapBooks/CanalMapBook4Interface.html. Accessed 27 March 2018
  17. USGS (2017a) Online data for Station 01556000, Frankstown Branch of Juniata River, at Williamsburg (drainage area 291 sq. miles), river discharge, stage, and precipitation data available at: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?01556000. Accessed 24 March 2018
  18. USGS (2017b) Historical peak flows for Station 01556000, Frankstown Branch, Juniata River, at Williamsburg, from: https://www.weather.gov/media/marfc/FloodClimo/JUN/Williamsburg.pdf. Accessed 24 March 2018
  19. Walder JS, O’Connor JE (1997) Methods for predicting peak discharge of floods caused by failure of natural and constructed earthen dams. Water Res Res, v 33, no 10, 2337–2348CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Energy and Earth ResourcesUniversity of Pittsburgh at JohnstownJohnstownUSA
  2. 2.JohnstownUSA

Personalised recommendations