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Timber Dams

Many dams were constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries in Vermont, primarily adjacent to direct-drive water-powered mills. Timber crib dams and plank dams were common at this time. The crib dam was constructed of heavy timbers stacked like a log house and filled in with earth or rubble. Plank dams consisted of a series of wood planks laid side-by-side to create a sloping wall. Timber dams were rarely constructed during the 20th century, and many existing dams were washed away in the flood waters of 1927.

Below are a few examples of timber crib dams.

Timber Crib Dam

Timber Crib Dam: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Hartford Historical Society

Timber Crib Dam

Timber Crib Dam: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont Historical Society

Timber Crib Dam

Timber Crib Dam: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Archives, Collamer Abbott Collection

Below are a few images of timber plank dams. Note the sloping wall over which the water runs. The image on the bottom illustrates the construction of the planks.

Timber Plank Dam

Timber Plank Dam: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Special Collections

Timber Plank Dam

Timber Plank Dam: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Old Stone House Museum

Timber Plank Dam

Timber Plank Dam: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Special Collections

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