Save the Redridge Dam
The Wooden Dam in Redridge as it looked before this section was removed
by Stanton Township and the DEQ
(Stanton Township Photo)
August 2004: Stanton Township Board decides to not save the
dam and opens the dam, drawing down the Redridge pond. It's all over now.
Sign posted at the Redridge Dam by the DEQ.
Follow this link for photos of the damage
to the Redridge Wood Dam
Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts to try and
save this structure and the pond, which would have created a nice park for all to enjoy.
In another 20 years or so it might look nice again.
In 1894 a new mill in Redridge would require a large amount of water to
aid in the stamping process when the Atlantic Mining Company built their first dam on the
Salmon Trout River. It was timber crib filled with loose rock and dirt, 53' at the bottom,
28' at the top and 50 feet high. The length across the stream is 51 feet at the bottom,
228 feet at the top. The timbers were 14 inches thick and hewed flat, connected with
one-inch drift bolts. The upstream face is lined with four-inch plank, which was then
covered in two-inch plank. There were two 24" drainpipes, which could be used to fill
and drain the pond created behind the dam. The water was transported to the Mill by
18" x 36" launders, which dropped at a 5% angle for over one half of a mile from
the dam to the Mill.
In 1901 the Atlantic and the new Baltic Mining Company built a gravity steel dam, which
increased the water capacity needed for operating both mills. For a period of its life the
wooden dam was completely submerged. In 1943 Copper Range (which controlled the Atlantic
and Baltic by this time) opened the discharge valves to keep it from cresting and washing
out the county road below during the spring seasons as it occasionally did. The need for
the dams had ended years before after the closing of the Baltic mine in the 1931. Finally
in 1979 Copper Range cut 4 four by eight foot holes in the steel dam to further eliminate
any danger from flooding, and in the process returned the wooden dam to its designed
function of holding back water. The years have now taken their toll.
Wooden dam in Redridge in 1978 (Kevin Musser Photo)
Recently the state of Michigan Dam inspector issued a repair, replace, or remove order for
the wooden dam in Redridge. This could lead to another piece of our historic past
disappearing here in the Copper Country. The Redridge dams are a wonderful place to see
the power of engineering resting in a place of natural beauty. It is fortunate that there
are those that share a passion for saving these pieces of our past in order to insure
their preservation by making them a safe place where everyone can enjoy them today.
Local resident Cindy Miller volunteered herself to Bill McKilligan Stanton Township
Supervisor, to find funding and to come up with ideas for this restoration project. Cindy
relates "Our status as of now is very preliminary, we do not have a plan in place,
just a goal to restore/rebuild it during the next year or so". . We also have a discussion board related to this project as well as other
subjects of interest. If you are interested in helping out in anyway you can drop a line
to Cindy and give her your input or support. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your
support for this project.
Other Redridge links of interest:
Goniea's Redridge page
Hubert Chanson's Steel Dam page
Carolyn Rowland's Redridge church
photo (Click on Churches)