Condit Dam History – Part 5

This May 28, 1912 scene shows the White Salmon River banks shortly before being merged by Condit Dam, and first phase of dam building at the Cameron Bridge site.  If the current dam was transposed onto this photo, the reservoir drain tunnel would be in the center of this image, and its course would follow upstream along the bottom of the river channel.  And too, the canyon that re-emerges from the concrete next summer will look similar to what is shown.   

On the left, workers are in the process of boring one of three tunnel segments needed to divert the river’s flow around the dam site during construction. This tunnel opening is still visible today.  Without diversion and the utilization of mining technology to construct the tunnels, building Condit would have been impossible.  In many respects, this work phase (constructing a diversion tunnel to provide a dry environment for building the dam), is analogous in reverse to happenings today (boring a tunnel to drain the reservoir and allowing deconstruction in a dry environment).  Almost 100 years later, construction has intersected deconstruction (see the last post).

Two months later (August 3, 1912), this photo shows the Cameron Bridge dam site from upstream, and the canyon topography we expect to see after the dam is breached in late October 2011.  Illustrated here is construction of the rock-filled crib dam used to divert the river into the three diversion tunnels and connecting wood flumes, which are visible on the west bank.  Once diversion was completed and the river re-routed, actual dam construction began. 

(Note that time-lapse Station 2, being monitored and reported on during this project, is located just upstream of this view, along what’s currently the west shoreline of the reservoir at Cypher’s cabin.  This crib dam should be visible after the October flush, along with the Jaws river canyon).


One thought on “Condit Dam History – Part 5

  1. Steve, Thank you so much for putting this together. Any chance you have more photos you can post? I think we’re all dying to see what will emerge once the sediment is gone! Looking forward to more updates on the dam removal.

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