Civil Engineering Landmark standing awarded to Salmon Creek Dam


Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Salmon Creek Dam, in-built 1914 and operated as a hydro-electric dam, was devoted in Juneau Saturday as a Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Members of the ASCE got here to Juneau to carry the dedication on the Juneau-Douglas Museum Saturday afternoon. The landmark designation from ASCE acknowledges traditionally vital native, nationwide, and worldwide civil engineering tasks, buildings, and websites. 

Lawrence Magura, Society Director, mentioned that over 240 tasks worldwide have been honored via this system, and consists of landmarks such because the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, and the Panama Canal.

“Immediately ASCE is proud to acknowledge the Salmon Creek Dam, accomplished again in 1914, in assist of the Alaska Goldmine undertaking within the Juneau Goldbelt. This outstanding construction is the world’s first – and that is what actually the historical past Heritage Program is making an attempt to memorialize is the primary one thing – on this case, it was a relentless angle skinny arch concrete dam. It is creation closely influenced the work of a era of hydraulic engineers and served as a prototype for an increasing class of concrete dams that finally included Hoover Dam. 

Photograph Credit score: AEL&P

Planning for the development of the Salmon Creek dam started in 1911 as website investigations had been made. The Alaska-Gastineau Mining Firm got down to construct the dam to produce low-cost hydropower to run their operations. It was accomplished and operational in 1914.

“Due to the work to the work of (Chief Engineer) Harry Wollenberg, Hydraulician Lars R. Jorgensen, its building was the primary full scale implementation of the fixed angle… a mannequin so revolutionary that by 1931, over 40 fixed angle dams have been constructed around the globe, and for many years because the idea has continued for use into the current day,” he mentioned.

Websites should be nominated with the intention to be a Civil Engineering Landmark and be evaluated by the ASCE’s Historical past and Heritage Committee. Papers used to additional a nomination of the dam had been written by the late Scott Willis, who was a civil engineer with AEL&P. His write-up of the dam is credited with offering the premise of the profitable utility. The dam was then nominated by the Alaska Part of the ASCE.

His Spouse, Gaye Willis, spoke on the dedication.

“I feel the builders of Salmon Creek fascinated Scott, as a result of he had witnessed main building tasks, scoring up a half-sense of the exhausting work behind them, and the development within the instruments that got here in simply his lifetime,” she mentioned. “He marveled at what these engineers did in designing and establishing the dam utilizing an progressive design, in harsh atmosphere with rugged terrain and unimaginable provide chain points, and so they did it in two seasons.”

Willis holding landmark plaque.

In 1933, the property of the AG firm had been bought to the Alaska Juneau Mining Firm. In 1973 the property of the AJ Mine, together with the hydro vegetation, had been bought by AEL&P. In 1984 AEL&P rehabilitated the Salmon Creek undertaking. 

Immediately AEL&P continues to function the Salmon Creek hydro undertaking. Salmon Creek’s common manufacturing is about 30 million killowatt hours every year, and in accordance with the ASCE, it gives about 7% of Juneau’s electrical energy. Water from the undertaking additionally gives a few third of the Metropolis’s municipal water provide.

Vice President and Director of Vitality Providers, Alec Mesdag, mentioned he began working on the firm at in regards to the time Willis was writing in regards to the dam.

“It is actually fantastic to see the undertaking acknowledged with this historic designation,” he mentioned. “Scott was actually, simply actually a formidable particular person, and somebody who meant lots to me, simply having the time that I needed to return again and dealing with them, since you actually do must care about one thing to handle one thing, and that’s our job now. AEL&P will get to maintain sustaining this undertaking in order that it continues to serve our neighborhood for many years to return,” Mesdag mentioned.

A bodily plaque will probably be positioned on website on the dam, in addition to a plaque honoring Willis.



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