Aziscohos Dam

 HISTORY OF AZISCOHOS DAM

In the spring of 1909 a hearing was held before the Committee of Interior Waters at Augusta, Maine about granting a charter to the Androscoggin Reservoir Company, authorizing it to construct and maintain a storage basin on the Maggalloway River at the Aziscohos Falls in Oxford County. Wallace H. White of Lewiston, Maine appeared for the company and explained that by this charter the company would have to acquire the rights and power of the Union Power Company of Lewiston, Maine and that the storage capacity of the Androscoggin would be increased eight billion cubic feet, making a total storage capacity of 21,000,000,000 cubic feet in the river.

Orton B. Brown appeared before this committee representing several companies who were also interested in this venture including the Berlin Mills Co., International Paper Co., Rumford Falls Power Co., and the Union Water Power Co.

Aziscohos Dam

View the Aziscohos Dam construction drawings and pictures at Aziscohos Dam Chronological

The Hydraulic engineer for the company, W.H. Sawyer, said that with this dam and storage basin they would be able to maintain an average flow of 1550 cubic feet per second and 1400 cubic feet at Errol Dam in time of drought, where at times the flow there was 750 feet, and that this reserve would increase the power development of the Androscoggin by 20 per cent.

Work began on the dam in the Magalloway in September of 1909, to form one of the largest storage reservoirs in the country. Land was cleared for a distance of 300 feet behind the dam to form a lake bed which, when filled, would cover about 101/2 square miles adding eight billion cubic feet of water to its present capacity. In September the land was dense forest, now in July, the project was nearly completed.

No revenue would be derived except as it came through the increased amount of power at the sites where mills and manufacturers were established along the river. The money being furnished for this enterprise came from its charter members interested in the use of water storage, two of whom were the Berlin Mills Co and the International Paper Co. in Berlin.

The Aziscohos Dam was completed in 1911. It has a 72 day’s capacity of water storage. The total storage system at the headwaters of the river holds 29,500,000,000 cubic feet of water. Fifty per cent of total rainfall is used in production of power along the river. Water in storage at Pontook Dam is drawn as needed before the supplies at Errol Dam, Aziscohos, Middle and Upper Dams are called upon.

In a 1957 article, the Brown Bulletin describes “The Power of the River” the Androscoggin.The lakes,

Aziscohos, Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic, Upper and Lower Richardson and Umbagog make it one of the largest water storage systems in New England. The flow of water is jointly controlled by the Androscoggin Reservoir Co. and the Union Water Power Co. through a series of dams, one at the outlet of each body of water.

The Androscoggin Reservoir Co. was owned by Brown Co., the Rumford Falls Power Co. at Rumford, Me., International Paper Co. at Livermore Falls, Me., the Union Water Power Co. at Lewiston, Me. and the Public Service Co. of New Hampshire.

Northern New Hampshire and Maine Dams

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn