Saville Dam

Barkhamsted, Connecticut | C.1948

Photo Credit: @mplaposky

This picturesque little building is the gatehouse of the Saville Dam, also known as the Barkhamsted Dam, which creates the Barkhamsted Reservoir. This reservoir is the primary water source for Hartford, Connecticut. 

The dam is named after Caleb Saville, chief engineer of the ambitious project. Foundations for both the dam and the diversion tunnel were laid in August 1934. Then, the eastern branch of the Farmington River was diverted into a concrete conduit at the bottom of the dam site. Although the Saville Dam was completed in 1940, it was not until 1948 that the Barkhamsted Reservoir finally filled to capacity. 

When combined with the nearby Nepaug Reservoir, the two reservoirs can supply normal water use for 22 months with no rain. By itself, the Barkhamsted Reservoir has a capacity of 30.3 billion gallons.

The reservoir flooded many pre-existing buildings and farms in the area, including the village of Barkhamsted Hollow. The remaining buildings of Barkhamsted Center, a village just west of the reservoir, are part of the Barkhamsted Center Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The upper gatehouse actually has its base 115 ft (35 m) below water. The concrete and granite tower and surrounding grounds are very popular with walkers and picnic fans.

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