This Day in Wyoming History: Crystal Dam Completed

Crystal Dam has provided the City of Cheyenne with dependable drinking water and recreation opportunities for 105 years.

Crystal Dam taken shortly after completion, before being filled with water, 1910 (WSA J.E. Stimson Collection 5401)

Crystal Dam taken shortly after completion, before being filled with water, 1910
(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 5701)

On August 5th, 1910, the newspapers announced that Crystal Dam would be completed the following day at which time the City of Cheyenne would it take over.

Cheyenne State Leader, August 05, 1910, page 3

Cheyenne State Leader, August 05, 1910, page 3

Timing could not have been better. The summer of 1910 was a scorcher, with high temps, very little moisture and low snow melt from a dry winter. Water was running low and the quality was barely tolerable.

The City had had enough foresight to build the Granite Reservoir and Round Top water treatment plant only a few years earlier, which helped ease some of the drought, but many were still worried. The hope was that the water issue would be solved for the time being with this new addition to the infrastructure.

Construction continues (WSA H55-53/48, from hand-colored lantern slide)

Construction begins
(WSA H55-53/48, from hand-colored lantern slide)

Sub Neg 23949, Construction of Crystal Reservoir Dam

Looking up the valley from what is now the reservoir.
(WSA Sub Neg 23949)

Construction of Crystal Dam  (WSA Sub Neg 18838)

(WSA Sub Neg 18838)

30 inch and 20 inch pipes laid at this same time between the upper and lower Crow Creeks, Granite Reservoir, the new Crystal Reservoir and Cheyenne carried water to the town and Fort Russell (now Warren Air Force Base.)

 

Men laying the 30 inch supply line to bring water from the reservoirs into Cheyenne, ca 1910. (WSA H55-53/91, from lantern slide)

Men laying the 30 inch supply line to bring water from the reservoirs into Cheyenne, ca 1910.
(WSA H55-53/91, from lantern slide)

In an effort to protect the water supply from contaminants, the dry reservoir bed was cleared of debris and plant material burned prior to water being added. Several railroad cars of charcoal were also laid in “purification” beds and dams between Granite and Crystal reservoirs and below Crystal Dam to further remove contaminants before the water entered the City’s pipes.

Group of people in the dry reservoir bed after the completion of the dam. (WSA H55-53/99, from hand-colored lantern slide)

Group standing in the dry reservoir bed after the completion of the dam.
(WSA H55-53/99, from hand-colored lantern slide)

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2 Comments

Filed under This Day in Wyoming History...

2 responses to “This Day in Wyoming History: Crystal Dam Completed

  1. Indeed, nice post. I couldn’t find a photo the dam for my blog when I posted that item, so it’s nice to see what it looks like.

    http://wyominghistory.blogspot.com/2012/08/august-6.html

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