Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Historical Information and Facts about the Big Bear Dam

The first historical dam of Big Bear was constructed by Frank E. Brown and E.G. Judson. They were looking for a new water source for their newly developed agricultural community: the town of Redlands.

In 1879, they looked toward the mountains for this additional water. 4 years later in 1883 he organized the Bear Valley Land and Water Company, purchased the necessary land, and in the summer of 1883 began construction of an ashlar rock dam.

This dam was completed in December of 1884. It was 60 feet high and 300 feet wide and contained 3304 yards of rockwork and 1600 barrels of cement. The total cost for labor and materials was $68,000.

At that time, the Bear Valley Dam created the largest man-made lake in the world, and was also considered the Eighth Wonder of the World because it held!
In 1911, J.S. Eastwood built the present multiple-arch dam, which tripled the capacity of the lake to 73,000 acre-feet. This dam was twenty feet higher and cost $138,000 to construct. This 1911 dam was reinforced in 1988 to comply with increased earthquake safety standards at a cost of nearly $13,000,000!

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