Briscoe Dam nearly complete
By Fred Stabbert III
BRISCOE For more than three years residents of this small community outside of Jeffersonville have had only one thing on their mind “when will we get our dam back?”
During the ferocious floods of June, 2006, the stone dam which held back the waters of Briscoe Lake for nearly 100 years was washed down the brook, sending a torrent of water into Lake Jeff and eventually down the Callicoon Creek on its way to the Delaware River.
But a dedicated group of individuals, with the support of the surrounding community, never let their dream die of having Briscoe Lake back.
After many fundraisers the group finally hired Ed Wist Masonry of Deposit to start construction this summer.
“We lost it (the new dam) three times this summer when the dike washed out,” Jim Hughson, who owns a cabin overlooking the dam, said. “6,900 acres drain in there and we got nine inches of rain in five days.”
Unfortunately, the group wasn’t trying to fill the lake at that time, only build the dam.
But the construction crew persevered and using 166 cubic yards of concrete 498,000 pounds the 98-foot long by 14-foot high dam was built.
Jeffersonville Mayor Ed Justus said he was delighted the project was nearly complete.
“Anything that will keep water away from our village is great,” he said. “This project just shows what a community can do when they pull together. It is really great.”
Glen Kehrley, who owns a home on the lake, remembered the character of the old stone dam.
“I can’t believe we are getting it back and how many people contributed to this project,” he said. “We had sales, breakfasts, people really pulled together. We still have more work to do.”
That work includes an excavation project which will tie the dam into the surrounding hills. The water, which is now being diverted around the dam, will then be put back on its true course and Briscoe Lake will again be a beautiful site to see.
“We will have a raffle to see when the first drop of water will go over the new dam,” Hughson said.
‘Water over the dam,’ music to Briscoe Lake’s ears.