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         Chapter on Globe Mill  

 

Globe Mill Dam

 

1858

07 29       LOWER DAM REBUILT AFTER FLOOD 

The New Dam - Mr. W. H. Blanchard and Enos Salsich are now engaged in building a new dam across Rock River, a few rods below Main Street bridge, in place of the one that was carried away some six weeks ago by the great flood.  The new structure will be built in such a way as to make it strong and permanent, and capable of resisting any amount of pressure that will ever be made upon it by any accumulation of water that is likely to flow over it.  When completed it will furnish a splendid and reliable water power, sufficient to carry all the machinery that is now located on the river, and as much more as it may be profitable to put in operation.  A large number of men are now employed on the work, the object being to get the structure done as soon as possible, so that the mills now standing idle may once more be set in motion.  The two grist mills that depend on this power for water are among the largest and best in the state. Both are being thoroughly overhauled and repaired, and will be put into the best running order.  When driven to their full speed, they are capable of manufacturing daily large quantities of the best quality of flour, and their brands stand among the first class in all markets where they are seen.  They give steady employment to a considerable number of men, and their success is a matter of interest to all.   WD

 

09 09       Water power for sale or to lease.  Blanchard.    WD

 

1859

04 21       Enos Salsich loses flouring mill and lower dam rights    WD

 

1867

   Birdseye view

 

1870

09 07       The old Mill Dam below Main Street bridge has received a covering of new planks, a much needed job, and one very readily accomplished owing to the present remarkable low stage of water.   WR

 

1885

   Birdseye view

 

1895

06 19       REPAIR SLATED

Some repairing is soon to be made by the waterpower owners on the dam south of Main Street bridge, and in consequence the water in the river will be greatly lowered.  The work, it is expected, will take about a week.   WR

 

06 26       REPAIR IN PROGRESS, FISHWAY POSSIBLE

The repairs and alterations now going forth on the dam present an excellent opportunity for the placing of fishways therein, and a number of our sportsmen are interesting themselves in the matter and will ask the water-power owners to make the improvement.  The fish and game warden has been written to and has promised to forward the necessary pIans for the scheme shortly.

 

Those who have seen these fishways in operation say it is surprising how many fish will ascend them in the spring of the year, when the course of the fish is always toward the head waters.  There is no doubt that with a couple good fish ways in the dam the fishing above the dam would be greatly improved and it is hoped by all interested the improvements will be made.

 

Work on the repairs to the dam was begun Monday.  An opening was made at the base of the dam and the water in the river has since lowered about five feet.  Above Cady Street bridge there is scarcely any water on the level, and great quantities of fish are being taken out of the holes.    WR

 

07 10       NO FISHWAY

The repairs on the dam were finished last Friday afternoon and the water in the river is again in a normal condition.  Owing to the fact that no plans were furnished by the fish warden, there was no fishway placed in the dam.   WR

 

1897

  

 

1903

09 11       WATER POWER UTILIZED

Globe Mill was being operated entirely by steam, but after the remodeling of its water power plant, water power was utilized.   WG

 

1904

07 07       CONTRACTS FOR BUILDING CONCRETE DAM

The contracts for the building of the concrete dam below Main Street bridge have been let to Frank E. Cowan, of this city, the consideration being about $5000.  It will be 190 feet long, 12 feet wide at the bottom and 3 feet wide at the top and 10 feet high.

 

The north side of the dam will be almost perpendicular, slanting, only slightly at the top. The south side of the darn will have considerable of a slope to it, and that will do away with the falling of water as with the old dam, and prevent the air concussion which for years past have been caused by-the falling of the water over the dam, causing doors and windows to rattle in every section of the city.

 

1905

10 28       Yesterday forenoon a farmer, whose home is about a mile north of Richwood, came to the city to transact business and during the day became intoxicated to such an extent that he was placed in the city lock-up until he become sober. Toward evening he was released, and it is supposed that he at once proceeded to fill up again and in the night hitched up his single horse which was attached to a light wagon upon which he had some lumber, stove and family supplies, and in his muddled condition instead of starting for home drove off the embankment at the west end of Market street into the river. The horse which was a young and valuable animal was drowned, and both the horse and the wagon floated down to the dam where they could be seen this morning. As the unfortunate man has not been seen since the accident, it is thought that he is also in the river and efforts are being made to recover the body.

 

   Globe Mill and dam, left; Alex Hardie 1905 picture, used in his painting, 1956

 

1908      WATERTOWN POWERS

There are two dams located in the City of Watertown; the lower, a masonry dam, located a few blocks above the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad bridge, and the upper dam, one and one-half miles above this.  The bed of the river at both dams and probably the entire distance between, is in the Trenton limestone.  The upper day, usually called the “Rough and Ready” dam, is built of timber with masonry abutments.  It is 250 feet long and develops a head of 9 feet.  One 45 and one 55 inch turbine are installed, rated at 225 horse-power.  This power is owned by the Watertown Electric Company and is used for electric light and power.  As the left bank is low the present head represents the maximum head which can be developed.  Indeed there have been some complaints of illegal flooding at times of high water.  The dam is in a fair state of repair.  The legislature of 1906-07 granted the owners the right to raise the crest of dam 2 feet, provided all payment should be first made for all damage so caused.

 

The lower dam was reconstructed three or four years ago, the present concrete dam replacing an old style timber structure.  The present dam is 250 feet long and furnishes a head of about 10 feet.  This head cannot be increased as the dam backs the water to the dam above.  The lower dam furnishes power to four different concerns, two on each bank.  On the right bank are located the Bee-hive and Box Factory owned by G. B. Lewis Company and the Globe Milling Company with installations of two 30 inch and two 40 inch turbines respectively.

 

On the left bank are located the R. P. Koening Company flour mill and the A. R. Wein Brush Company factory with an installation of 60 inch and 30 inch turbines respectively.

 

The mills run 18 and the factories 10 hours per day.  The owners report that for 8 or 9 months in the year the turbines develop their full power but that during the remainder of the year steam power has to be to a large extent substituted.  For this purpose the above flour mills have the following steam power:  The Globe Milling Company 200 horse-power; R. P. Koenig Company 85 horse-power; G. B. Lewis Company 225 horse-power, and the A. R. Wein Company 25 horse-power.

 

The head on the turbines is reported to vary between 12 and 6 feet.  With water to the crest of the dam the head is 10 feet.  Complaints of illegal flooding by this dam have been made side the reconstruction of the dam.

 

Watertown is a growing city of 9,000 inhabitants.  It is a trading center for a large and rich agricultural region.  The city is on the main line of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad between Milwaukee and St. Paul and also on the Madison branch of the same railroad.  The city is also served by the Chicago and North-Western Railroad between Beloit and Green Bay.  Between Watertown and Lake Koshkonong, a distance of 29 miles, the river flows almost due south and with reduced windings.  The river varies in width from 150 to 250 feet wide, with banks sloping gently back to a height of from 10 to 20 feet.

 

The total fall between the foot of the lower Watertown dam and Lake Koshkonong is only 18 feet of which only a third is used.   [Bulletins – Geological and Natural History Survey (Wis.), 1908]

 

c.1920

   

 

 

1946

   Alex Hardie painting, 1946

Old G.B. Lewis Plant, barber shop on Main St bridge in the distance ["The Bridge" barber shop, John Seager].  Shop taken out by March 26, 1904 flood.

 

1956

   Alex Hardie painting, 1956

                  Globe Mill, left; Alex Hardie painting, 1956

 

1986

07 05       A long family history of producing electricity has led the owner of one of the area’s largest industries to try to generate some kilowatts from one of Watertown’s two dams.  “There is still a lot of work to do,” said Tom Reiss, who gained the Watertown Common Council’s approval of a 50-year lease to the dam.  The lease of the dam was approved by a 10-1 vote, the only dissenting vote being cast by Alderman Walter Nuernberg, who said an “act of God” phrase describing natural catastrophes was grossly inappropriate.  Tuesday’s resolution calls for Reiss to pay rent of $1 per year for the life of the lease.  He will also pay the city 5 percent of any profits arising from the dam’s power generation, beginning after its third year of operation.   WDT

 

10 17       The lower Watertown dam is in good shape and a Department of Natural Resources report that shows several areas of the dike are deteriorating is not a cause for alarm.  The dam, located on the Rock River between Main Street and Milwaukee Street, was inspected by the DNR in August.  “There are some areas which need attention.  They are the main spillway, the pier between the main spillway and the secondary spillway, the tainter gate and the right embankment,” said William Sturtevant, assistant dam safety engineer, who coordinated the inspection.  “The main spillway has points of extensive spalling (or chipping) in many areas.  At various locations along the downstream side of the spillway, deterioration has led to leaking.”  WDT

 

10 28       An owner of one of Watertown’s major industries, who is also the president of a group of landowners living next to the Rock River, has proposed leasing the lower Rock River dam to generate electricity.  Thomas Reiss, owner of Reiss Industries, 319 Hart Street, is expected to present his plans to the Watertown Common Council.  The city of Watertown currently owns the dam, located south of Main Street and between First and Water streets.   WDT

 

1987      PROPOSAL TO INSTALL ELECTRICITY-GENERATING EQUIPMENT

12 24       The state Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on a proposal by Thomas Reiss Jr. to install electricity-generating equipment at the lower dam on the Rock River.  Reiss is president of Rock River Power and Light Corporation, which is seeking a federal license for a hydroelectric generating plant on the dam, located south of Main Street between First and Water streets.  As part of the license review process, the DNR must comment on resource issues such as water levels and flow, fisheries, wildlife, recreation and water quality.  WDT

 

1988

02 06       PROPOSAL TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY

Thomas Reiss Jr.’s proposal to generate electricity at the Rock River’s lower dam in Watertown is expected to receive favorable comment from the state Department of Natural Resources.  Bob Hansis, water management specialist for the DNR’s southern district, said DNR officials had no major concerns about the plan.  The department will make some recommendations to Reiss when it completes its final comment in about a month,” he said.  “Mostly, we’ll be making smaller impact decisions,” Hansis said.   WDT

 

1991

06 15       FUNDS TO REPAIR DAM TURNED DOWN

City of Watertown officials were disappointed to learn that their request for $200,000 in state funds to repair the Rock River’s lower dam has been turned down.  Ironically, the city failed to receive any of the $2.4 million that was appropriated for dam repairs, even though Watertown officials were instrumental in pushing for the state Department of Natural Resources to spend the funds, according to Mayor David Lenz.  “We found out that there was money that had been allocated for dam repair projects, but nothing was being done with it.  It was sitting there at the DNR,” Lenz said. “(Sen. Barbara) Lorman and (Rep. Randall) Radtke started things moving at the city of Watertown’s request.  They literally got the thing going.  WDT

 

11 23       $200,000 GRANT TO REPAIR DAM

Watertown will receive a $200,000 grant next year to repair the lower dam.  Earlier this year the city was told it had just missed funding for the project.  The city’s project ranked 13th and only 12 were funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  However, because one community later declined the grant, Watertown was offered the funds.  Joseph Radocay said the grant is good news for the city.  The council this year authorized borrowing the full $495,000 for the project.  Under terms of the DNR grant, the city will have to prepare plans and specifications for the project in the next four months, have them approved and have the actual construction project completed in 1992.

 

2014

01 22       REQUEST FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR

The council approved a resolution to request financial assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help pay for maintenance and repair work to the lower Watertown dam.  According to the resolution, the work is estimated to cost $102,000.   WDT

  View from Globe Apartments

 

2017

01 22       ROCKS THROWN AT TAINTER GATE

Engineer Holloway reported that Tom Reiss, operator of the lower dam off S. Water Street, notified City officials that a lot of rocks were being thrown at the tainter gate.  Mr. Reiss is concerned this will cause rust in the gate and unnecessary repairs.  After discussion, the Commission decided we should monitor the situation for the time being and report back to Mr. Reiss about our discussion and our concerns as well.    [City Council meeting of 02 07]

 

 

 

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Cross-References:

Chapter on Globe Mill  

 

Loss of life by dam, Rock River. 1876

 

 

 

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