Chronological list of articles.
Here is a chronological list of articles I have found concerning
the Masonry Dam and the Blowout (excluding articles I have not been
able to access yet, or are of negligible interest). Undoubtably there
are others that I have missed.
These are most from Seattle's two principal newspapers, the
Post-Intelligencer (P-I) and Seattle Times (Times)
(and mostly from the P-I, because it generally had the best coverage).
For more details see the document notes.
At the beginning the Cedar River water project did not contemplate
the Masonry dam--just divert water from the Cedar River (at Landsburg),
run it into Swan Lake for storage, and then into Seattle. Here is a
status report from City Engineer Thomson:
P-I Mar. 26, 1897: 'Status of the work'.
The genesis of the Masonry dam I haven't documented yet. A bond
issue for it was approved in 1910; by 1912 there was controversy as
to the location of the dam--and whether the reservoir would hold water.
A board of three expert engineers is appointed to look into the matter.
They report (or see
excerpts) that the notion of sealing is fallacious, that the alternate
site seems better, and recommend halting construction pending a thorough
investigation. But the City Engineer and the Mayor are confident the
reservoir can be sealed.
May 6, 1912: 'Report on Cedar River Project'.
P-I, May 8, 1912: 'Council In Row On Dam Report'.
P-I May 11, 1912: 'Against Halting Work On Big Dam'.
P-I May 12, 1912: 'See No Peril Now In Water Supply'.
P-I May 12, 1912: 'Officials Will Go to the Watershed'.
P-I May 15, 1912: 'Mayor Is Silent On Cedar Dams'.
P-I Nov. 22, 1912: 'Care advised in Cedar river plan'.
P-I Nov. 22, 1912: 'Two Committees Will Report on Power Dam'.
P-I June 2, 1914: 'Council Provides Money to Finish Cedar River Dam'.
The dam is effectively finished in October, 1914. And then (how
embarassing!), just as those doom-sayer experts kept say it would, the
P-I Dec. 11, 1914: 'Cedar River Reservoir Costing $1,500,000 Leaks...'.
P-I Dec. 12, 1914: 'City Lake Loss From Seepage 1/3 Of Storage'.
P-I Dec. 16, 1914: 'Leaks In Dam Threaten City's Light Project'.
EN Jan. 21, 1915: 'Leakage from Cedar Lake Reservoir, Seattle Water-Supply'.
P-I May 8, 1915: 'Hanna and Dale side with Dimock'.
Eventually the reservoir's leakage raises Rattlesnake Lake to the
point that it floods the town of Moncton (Cedar Falls).
P-I May 11, 1915: 'Thirteen Families Flee From Flood'.
P-I May 12, 1915: 'Cedar Falls Folks Forced to Flee by Rising Lake'.
P-I May 13, 1915: 'Lake Is Rising and Cedar Falls Expects Worse'.
P-I May 14, 1915: 'Condemn Town As Menace To Water Supply'.
P-I May 16, 1915: 'Mayor Asserts City Must Hire Experts On Dam'.
P-I May 16, 1915: 'Board of works discusses silting'.
P-I May 18, 1915: 'Rowboats are popular on the streets of town flooded by Rattlesnake Lake'.
JE May 22, 1915: 'Seattle Municipal Dam Blunder'.
P-I Dec. 5, 1915: 'Noted engineers picked to solve Cedar dam leak'.
Seattle buys up the town site of Moncton; the remainder of the
community moves to higher ground by the railroad tracks and
reconstitutes itself as Cedar Falls. Several years are spent on sealing
operations, and then, in November, 1918, they start impounding water
in the reservoir.
Early in the morning of December 23, 1918: oops.
Times Dec. 23, 1918: 'Lumbering Community Desolated'.
P-I Dec. 24, 1918: 'Reservoir Waters Sweep Valley Town'.
Times Dec. 24, 1918: 'Flood washes out part of hillside'.
P-I Dec. 24, 1918: 'The Cedar River basin'.
P-I Dec. 25, 1918: 'Opening 600 feet wide cut in wall'.
P-I Dec. 26, 1918: 'In path of flood waters from City's impounding basin'.
P-I Dec. 27, 1918: 'Water is pouring from reservoir'.
Times Dec. 27, 1918: 'A white elephant on our hands'.
P-I Jan. 1, 1919: 'Visit the dam and leaky design'.
P-I Jan. 1, 1919: 'A few facts about the building of Cedar River Masonry Dam'.
P-I, Jan. 5, 1919: 'Mayor Presents a Constructive Program'.
P-I Jan. 11, 1919: 'Cedar River Basin Is Still Seeping'.
P-I Jan. 20, 1919: 'Cedar Dam Waters Begin To Recede'.
P-I Jan. 21, 1919: 'Edgewick Claims Against Seattle Total Large Sum'.
P-I Jan. 26, 1919: 'Flood Damage Is Being Repaired'.
Times Jan. 26, 1919: 'Cedar River Dam Withstands Flood'.
And then there were the damage claims.
P-I Jan. 30, 1919: 'Flood claim from Rattlesnake Lake'.
EN July 12, 1928: 'Court Holds City Responsible for Reservoir Failure'.
They did keep trying:
P-I July 10, 1919: 'Start sealing of Cedar River basin'.
At some point the City realized they would never be able to
raise the reservoir to its intended height, and other directions
EN, Feb. 5, 1920: 'New Plan for Seattle's Cedar Lake Dam'.
Some day I may dig out some of the subsequent history. Let me
know if you would like to help.
Last modified Feb. 26, 2004.
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