What Are the Dam Facts?
While working on the Dam Project significant knowledge about the Newlin Grist Mill dam was gained. The unexpected Dam Disaster provided a unique opportunity to study the dam and learn about its construction and history. The staff took the opportunity to examine, photograph, sketch, and record as much information as possible.
One of the earliest discoveries about dam construction was found the day of the flood. It was not until later when the water receded that its full meaning was understood.
As we walked out on the dam to examine the breach in the stonework, we had difficulty walking on a section of uneven, jumbled stones. Closer examination revealed that the stones were not jumbled, but in fact carefully placed. The stones were oriented vertically but placed at an inclined angle toward the downstream face of the dam. Each stone had one end buried in soil and overlapped the stone beneath it creating the appearance of scales. This method of construction keeps water from getting beneath the leading edge of the stones and sheds water like a shingled roof.
It is not known if this is an original feature of the dam construction or a repair. However, its presence in what is believed to be the earlier section of the dam suggests it is an early feature. During the restoration of the dam, two sections were finished using this scaling technique.