06 July 2016

Dam Fiasco Relict Lingers as Swallow Nest Site

A building left behind after the loss of a dam on Minnechaduza Creek has seemingly provided a Cliff Swallow nesting place for decades.

Located on city of Valentine property, the concrete structure has overhangs beneath which the swallows construct their nests. On a visit on June 26th, there were 37 nests in a condition indicative to convey that they were being actively used. The setting is similar each year, so these birds could have readily nested here ever since the building was constructed and abandoned.

This structure has been present since being built in 1910, in association with a 30 foot height dam meant to provide electricity and water to the city, according to an article in the Valentine Democrat newspaper.

The dam washed away in March 1911 when being filled. It was not replaced. The structure on the south bank of the creek remained. Earlier in the year when the dam pond was initially being filled, water washed under the spillway apron so repairs were necessary. The repairs were not adequate.

The contractor – Catz Craig Company – had been paid $41,000 to construct the dam and associated facilities.

This location is known as the One Day Dam tract, according to details provided by the city manager.

The walls are an obvious attractant to kids that have used the space for their graffiti for many years. Several years are indicated.