Built of Concrete For Cheney Brothers.
How the Engineers Put the Great Work Through.

reprinted from The Hartford Courant, Dec. 13, 1907.

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The great storage reservoir which Cheney Brothers have been building at Globe Hollow for the past two years is now practically complete, although there are several details to be looked after, much of which will go over until next spring. The dam is completed and the gates were closed the latter part of last week, allowing the pond to start to fill up. The dam is 720 feet long, stands about forty-five feet high and was built to hold back a body of water estimated at 144,000,000 gallons, which is flooded over forty-four acres, much of which was a few years ago valuable farm land. The greater part of the work has been done by local men, aided by a large force of Italian laborers, who have made their home in a shed built for them just below the old dam.

The First Steps.

Cheney Brothers have occasion to use large quantities of water in their silk manufacturing. This must be pure and not contaminated by any foreign substances, as they would have a bad effect on the silk, both in the early stages and also in the dyeing. The supply which has long been drawn from Globe Hollow was found insufficient and a few years ago the small pond located just below Hartford road on South Main street was also pressed into service. The addition of the large dye house two years ago made necessary a large supply of water. The pond at Globe Hollow was not equal to the demands and steps had to be taken for its enlargement.

To do this a large number of farms were bought up. The firm at once started to buy up the land and about 125 acres were purchased. The next step was to find a location for the dam. It was at first proposed to have the new dam north of the dam which had long been in use, but after the ground had been examined by experts it was found to be unfit for a foundation.

Gradually the soundings were taken back into the pond until a point nearly opposite where the old ice house was located was found to be the best adapted for a dam.

The pond then had to be let off and early in the spring of 1906 men were started at work cleaning the place out. It was a year's work to do this and early in May of the present year work was started on the present massive dam. A ditch was dug to a depth where rock was struck. In some places it was only eight feet down, but the average was about twenty feet, while on the west end of the dam it was necessary to go down to a depth of thirty-seven feet.

In blasting out for the foundation cracks appeared in the rock and to prevent any possible leak in this way a new method was tried. An artesian well sinker was employed and holes were drilled into the rock into which was pumped fine concrete. This served to fill up the cracks and also to make the foundation more solid. It was a big job, this part of drilling holes, but in due time it was finished and work was started on the dam proper.

Core of Dam Concrete.

While the dam is spoken of as a concrete dam it does not mean that the whole dam is made of concrete. What is meant by this expression is that the core of the dam is of concrete. The foundation of the core was five feet across the base and this was gradually allowed to grow smaller until at the height of forty-three feet it is but eighteen inches across the top. To do this work it was necessary to have a mixer on both ends of the dam and this was operated by an engine. The concrete when mixed was carried across the present dam by the aid of cables. This cable was worked by machinery and large buckets were thus swung across the pond without trouble.

In all of the work there were no accidents of any account, the most serious being a broken leg, caused by a man slipping from a dump cart and being run over. When the core was completed work was started filling in on both sides of the dam, giving it the slope, which can be seen in the cut. On the south side of the dam, or the water side, the earth that was used was clay like and this was covered by rip rap. On the north side of the dam the filling was of a gravel nature.

Dimensions of the Dam.

The base of the dam is 180 feet and the top is eighteen feet. On the extreme east end of the dam is the spill way. There is an extra large spill way for the size of the dam, it being thirty-five feet across the opening and it then runs into a spillway eleven feet across. This will empty into the basin of the old pond. The present plans are to clean out the basin of the old pond and allow the water which passes through the spillway to form a pond below the present one which will be used for skating and swimming purposes. The possibility of the pond ever overflowing its top is eliminated by the extra large spillway which will remove all danger of any possible floods to the lower valley.

There have been but few changes in the original plan, but one which has been made is of much importance to the residents of the south end. Last summer, while there were so many cases of typhoid fever in town it was found that some of the ice cut from Globe Hollow pond had foreign matter in it, which was considered dangerous and likely to cause trouble. South Manchester people must have ice and to provide for this Cheney Brothers late this summer bought from Mark Cheney his farm located on the west of South Main street. Men are now at work building a dam on the south side of the street and this pond, which will cover about five or six acres, will be used as an ice pond.

Roads Raised.

When it was decided to flood so much land with the new pond it was found that South Main street, just below where the Dwight Bidwell place is located, would be too low. The road on Fern street was also too low and would be under water. This was but a small matter. The gang of men at the reservoir was put to work and the road on South Main street was raised eleven feet for a distance of about 100 yards. On either side of the road, where there will be water, the banks are rip-rapped. On Fern street it was necessary to raise the pond six feet and to build a new bridge. All of the work is completed with the exception of rip-rapping on one side of South Main street. This will be finished this week and the work brought to a close this winter. The crushed rock which was used in the entire construction of the massive work was taken from a quarry which Cheney Brothers own out in the mountains to the east of the reservoir.

The work was done under the directions of Captain John Davenport Cheney, who has charge of the outside work of the firm. This is the second big piece of work of this kind that has been done under Captain Cheney's direction, the other being the reservoir in the east part of the town, completed three years ago. The view which is shown here is the first that has been taken of the dam since its completion.

Monday, May 22, 1911

(Special to The Courant)

Cheney Brothers have started work towards increasing their supply of water from the Globe Hollow reservoirs. They have started laying pipes which will carry water from Folly Brook, in the west part of the town, to their Globe Hollow reservoir. There is a fall of 145 feet from the Globe Hollow reservoir to the Folly Brook pond and in order to get the water into Globe Hollow it will be necessary to have a pumping station. The pumping station will be built at the Folly Brook pond and will be operated by a sixty-five horsepower engine. The water will be carried through a sixteen inch pipe. The greatest amount of water used in South Manchester is at the silk mills and if sufficient water can be supplied from Globe Hollow for the mills, so that it will not be necessary to draw upon the other reservoirs there will be little fear of a shortage in town.

Click the icon at right for a snippet of the 1954 Geological Survey map, showing both Folly Pond and Brook, and Globe Hollow.

Webmaster's Note: To see a 1965 report by Jeannine E. Johnson on the Globe Hollow Dam, please click here.