Two Old Friends hit the trail again… It’s been decades since we crossed the country together in our teens.
Lester is navigator, and I’m driving… Just like old times. When we arrive at the Croton dam, it’s just like discovering one of the wonders of the world… or at least of New York.
The place is desolate. It should be filled with tourists, but no one seems to
know about it.
There’s the roar of water – and we can’t hear each other anymore. It’s not massive, like Niagra Falls, but that this beautiful piece of workmanship is sitting here, practically unknown – a few miles from New York – it’s strange. I remember thinking – a lot of water over the bridge… or under it.
View Looking South from the dam
That was a pretty amazing feeling, turning off onto a side road and hearing the roar of water. There’s a lot of history about the Croton dam which I won’t go into because I don’t know that much about it. But barely 17 miles out of New York is this amazing place and I’m going through the photos now.
A perfect day to go. A warm winter day. Still ice on the lake and the river. And luckily, I expected to be shooting landscapes so I had my 20mm lens with me (used for all of these). There are four or five other places we passed on the way up that I want to go back to. You might say – well how did I know about the dam? I picked up a book called Walking Tours near New York about five years ago and I’ve been thumbing through it all this time. There are abandoned iron mines in the area that you can still go into according to the book; and there are grand mansions, and a lot of the area where painters like Homer Winslow and some other Hudson River painters have been preserved.
I remember being somewhat bored when I first went to Yosemite. I had the Adams calendar on my wall for a long time and knew most of the famous spots. But the idea of finding things I haven’t seen before – that’s exciting.
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HISTORY OF THE NEW CROTON DAM (From “A Walker’s Guidebook, Serendipitous Outings Near New York City.”
“400 million gallons of New York’s 2 billion gallons a day come from this dam. Building began in 1892. There were all sorts of labor issues. On April 1, 1900 workers staged a huge wildcat strike. They came roaring down the hill with knives threatening to blow up the dam. The Westchester National Guard and Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders were called in to quell the riot. The masonry was all imported from Italy.
It was finally finished in 1906. At 297 feet high and 2,1678 feet long, it was the largest dam in the world at that time. The amount of masonry used was said to be equal to that used in the building of the Great Pyramid of Cheops.”