Thesis

From North Bloomfield to North Fork: attempts to comply with the Sawyer Decision

Thesis (M.A., History)--California State University, Sacramento, 1970.

The dam, a barrier to prevent the flow of water, is believed to be one of the primary and most basic tools of civilized man. The first dams, constructed of mud and twigs, were probably built to store or divert water for irrigation purposes. From these crude beginnings, the ancients advanced their technology to the point where the Babylonians boasted of an enormous canal, the Nahrwan, which was 400 feet wide and 200 miles long. 
 Similarly, dam construction in Egypt flourished along the Nile during ancient times. Today, even more than during past years, dams are among the vital tools of human civilization. It is inconceivable that much of the modern world's economic system or way of life could be maintained without the use of dams.
 Generally speaking, dams may be divided into two groups, based on their method of support, those whose stability is dependent upon the shear weight of the structure itself, and those mainly dependent upon horizontal forces or thrust transmitted to unyielding abutments. Found in the second classification is the arch dam. With the dawn of the twentieth century the design of arch dams took on new impetus. The North Fork Dam, located a few miles east of Auburn, was neither the first, last, nor highest arch dam ever built. It is, however, a uniquely beautiful structure that has a story all its own. It was the first single arch dam ever designed and constructed for the specific purpose of restraining hydraulic mining debris. 
 During these latter years of the twentieth century, few individuals have even heard of hydraulic mining debris or the havoc caused by this waste product of the Sierra mines. Nonetheless, the debris and its control have been major factors in California's history. Significant numbers of men struggled for half a century to have such a dam as the North Fork built. That it came too late and failed in its primary purpose is of little consequence; that men labored untold hours for a dream they felt would be fulfilled with the completion of the dam is of importance.

The dam, a barrier to prevent the flow of water, is believed to be one of the primary and most basic tools of civilized man. The first dams, constructed of mud and twigs, were probably built to store or divert water for irrigation purposes. From these crude beginnings, the ancients advanced their technology to the point where the Babylonians boasted of an enormous canal, the Nahrwan, which was 400 feet wide and 200 miles long. Similarly, dam construction in Egypt flourished along the Nile during ancient times. Today, even more than during past years, dams are among the vital tools of human civilization. It is inconceivable that much of the modern world's economic system or way of life could be maintained without the use of dams. Generally speaking, dams may be divided into two groups, based on their method of support, those whose stability is dependent upon the shear weight of the structure itself, and those mainly dependent upon horizontal forces or thrust transmitted to unyielding abutments. Found in the second classification is the arch dam. With the dawn of the twentieth century the design of arch dams took on new impetus. The North Fork Dam, located a few miles east of Auburn, was neither the first, last, nor highest arch dam ever built. It is, however, a uniquely beautiful structure that has a story all its own. It was the first single arch dam ever designed and constructed for the specific purpose of restraining hydraulic mining debris. During these latter years of the twentieth century, few individuals have even heard of hydraulic mining debris or the havoc caused by this waste product of the Sierra mines. Nonetheless, the debris and its control have been major factors in California's history. Significant numbers of men struggled for half a century to have such a dam as the North Fork built. That it came too late and failed in its primary purpose is of little consequence; that men labored untold hours for a dream they felt would be fulfilled with the completion of the dam is of importance.

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