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Copyright 1996-2004
Kevin E. Musser

 

 
 

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Help Save the Redridge Dam

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The Wooden Dam in Redridge as it looked before this section was removed by Stanton Township and the DEQ
(Stanton Township Photo)

Important Notice:

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.

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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.

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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 camiller@pasty.com. Thank you in advance for your support for this project.

Kevin Musser
www.copperrange.org

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Other Redridge links of interest:

Bob Goniea's Redridge page
Hubert Chanson's Steel Dam page
Carolyn Rowland's Redridge church photo (Click on Churches)


 

Photos of the removal of the upper 13 feet of the Redridge wood dam.
(Taken by Kevin Musser, September 2004)

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Upper section removal clearly visible by looking at the far shore, cribbing that extents beyond the dam and the previous pond level was at the grass line.

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Side view showing the portion of the dam that was removed.

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New shoreline upstream, everything not green was submerged before lowering the dam.

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Another view of the damage to the dam

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New road cut by the DEQ to access the dam

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New shoreline with a fisherman who would have been underwater before the removal.