Saville Dam

Saville Dam is an earthen embankment dam with masonry work on the eastern branch of the Farmington River in southwestern Barkhamsted, Connecticut. The dam is 135 ft. (41 m) tall and 1,950 ft. (590 m) long and has an uncontrolled spillway on its western portion. It creates the Barkhamsted Reservoir which has a volume of 36.8 billion US gallons (139,000,000 m3) and is the primary water source for Hartford, Connecticut.

View from Saville Dam

In 1927, the Metropolitan District Commission began to purchase land in the present-day footprint of the dam and reservoir. Construction of the dam commenced in 1936 while land to the north was being stripped of lumber and buildings.

Before the Metropolitan District Commission named the Saville Dam in 1940 in honor of its chief engineer, Caleb Mills Saville, it was referred to as the Bill's Brook Dam after the brook that ran near the site at the time.

The foundations for "Bill's Brook Dam" and the diversion tunnel for the East Branch of the Farmington River were completed in August 1934. Subsequently, the East Branch was diverted into the concrete conduit at the bottom of the Bill's Brook Dam site. The dam was completed in May 1940, at a total cost for dam and reservoir of $10M.[1]

Although the Saville Dam was completed in 1940, it was not until 1948 that the Barkhamsted Reservoir finally filled to capacity. The Farmington River East Branch is impounded for nearly 8 miles (13 km) behind the dam, with the northernmost open waters of Barkhamsted Reservoir terminating in Hartland, Connecticut just south of the Massachusetts border.[2][3]

The reservoir flooded many buildings and farms of Barkhamsted, including the village of Barkhamsted Hollow.[4] The village of Barkhamsted Center, partially flooded, lies just to the west of the reservoir. Its remaining buildings are part of the Barkhamsted Center Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Saville Dam
Barkhamsted Reservoir, Saville Dam
Saville Dam is located in Connecticut
Saville Dam
Location of Saville Dam in Connecticut
LocationBarkhamsted, Connecticut
Coordinates41°54′36″N 72°57′17″W / 41.91000°N 72.95472°WCoordinates: 41°54′36″N 72°57′17″W / 41.91000°N 72.95472°W
Opening date1948
Operator(s)Metropolitan District Commission
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsFarmington River (Eastern branch)
Height135 feet (41 m)
Length1,950 feet (590 m)
CreatesBarkhamsted Reservoir
Total capacity36.8 billion US gallons (139,000,000 m3)
Catchment area53.8 square miles (139 km2)
Surface area4.2 square miles (11 km2)

See also


  1. ^ Murphy, Kevin (2010). Water for Hartford. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 234–237. ISBN 978-0-8195-7080-2.
  2. ^ Saville Dam -
  3. ^ Barkhamsted Historical Society - Barkhamsted, Connecticut
  4. ^ Barkhamstead from the Air, 1934 and 2004
Barkhamsted, Connecticut

Barkhamsted is a town in Litchfield County in Connecticut and contains seven villages, West Hill, Mallory, Barkhamsted Center, Center Hill, Washington Hill, Pleasant Valley and Riverton. The population was 3,494 at the 2000 census. The town incorporated in 1779. Barkhamsted was named after Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England.

Barkhamsted Hollow, Connecticut

Barkhamsted Hollow was a village in northwestern Connecticut. It was part of the town of Barkhamsted, Connecticut in Litchfield County, Connecticut, incorporated as part of Barkhamsted in 1779. It was flooded by the creation of the Barkhamsted Reservoir in 1940, splitting Barkhamsted and the nearby town of Hartland, Connecticut in half.

Connecticut Route 318

Route 318 is a state highway in northern Connecticut running entirely in Barkhkamsted.

Farmington River

The Farmington River is a river, 46.7 miles (75.2 km) in length along its main stem, which is located in northwest Connecticut with major tributaries extending into southwest Massachusetts. Via its longest branch (the West Branch), the Farmington's length increases to 80.4 miles (129.4 km), making it the Connecticut River's longest tributary by a mere 2.3 miles (3.7 km) over the major river directly to its north, the Westfield River. The Farmington River's watershed covers 609 square miles (1,580 km2). The river historically played an important role in small-scale manufacturing in towns along its course, but it is now mainly used for recreation and drinking water. The Farmington River Watershed Association is a non-profit organization for conservation and preservation of this river.

Headwaters for both main branches of the Farmington River, referred to as the East Branch and West Branch, are found in southwestern Massachusetts, though only the West Branch officially begins north of the Connecticut border. The West Branch rises at the outlet of Hayden Pond in Otis, Massachusetts. In 1994, a 14-mile (23 km) stretch of the branch was designated a National Wild and Scenic River. The East Branch begins in Hartland, Connecticut at the confluence of Pond, Hubbard and Valley Brooks. However, this branch has been impounded along the first 11 miles of its course to form the Barkhamsted Reservoir and Lake McDonough; it does not assume a particularly river-like appearance until it exits Lake McDonough in New Hartford, Connecticut. The East Branch and West Branch join in New Hartford, Connecticut just about one mile south of Lake McDonough. Upper reaches of the river flow mostly southward, but the river turns northward in Farmington, Connecticut and then runs mostly north and east until it flows into the Connecticut River in Windsor, Connecticut.

List of dams and reservoirs in United States

The following is a partial list of dams and reservoirs in the United States. There are an estimated 84,000 dams in the United States, impounding 600,000 mi (970,000 km) of river or about 17% of rivers in the nation.

Metropolitan District Commission of Connecticut

The Metropolitan District Commission of Connecticut (MDC) is a public non-profit municipal corporation chartered by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1929 to provide drinking water and sewer service to the Hartford area. The original agreement tied together the water systems of Hartford, Bloomfield, Newington, Wethersfield, and Windsor. The MDC currently serves eight towns in the Hartford area. The MDC is run by a 29-member board of commissioners; 17 of which are appointed by the member towns, eight by the governor, and four by legislative leaders. The current Chairman of the MDC Board is William A. DiBella.

Saville (disambiguation)

Saville is a surname.

Saville may also refer to:

SAVILLE, a Type 1 encryption algorithm

Saville (novel) by David Storey which won the Booker Prize for fiction in 1976

Saville Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania

Major cities
Smaller cities and towns

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