Tuesday, March 17, 2015


((Another of three blogposts in celebration of Clarence West's 120th
birthday. First posted in 2008.)) 

Here’s part two of my Granduncle Clarence’s memories
of the construction of the Azicohos Dam as it appeared in
“The History of Wilsons Mills-and- the- Magalloway-
Settlements” including a wandering cow and Clarence taking
a shortcut across the top of the dam:

“Roberge cut the flowage. They used to bring the water
up to the
works to keep the frost out of the north side of
the dam. When the
water is low you can still see where
the steam pipes cooked the
cement. Roberge finished the
flowage by cutting off the trees right
at the top of the ice.
Brown Company’s tow-boats had quite a time
at first.
Sometimes they’d make a mistake and end up in the woods,

or wind the tow-line up in the propeller, or knock a blade
off the
propeller in the dri-ki(driftwood). Stan Wentzell was
the one who
finally corralled the dri-ki by booming it in the
coves. Stan was a
good man. When he told you something
you could believe it.

There used to be a quarry up in back of the barracks.
Clarence Gray logged in there a few years ago he
cut trees out of it.
That concrete pit up back was the water
pit. Water lines ran down
to the houses, storehouses, cook
camps, etc. On one of the cottages
the front porch was way
up high. When I had a cow, every time
she didn’t come
when I called, I always knew where to find her.
that porch!

They used to have a telephone line run up from the top of
the dam
to the foot of the sluice. You remember Pat
Crowley. It was his job
to stay on the top of the dam and
stop the wood if anything went
wrong. It took six feet of
water to sluice and the wood went
nine-tenths of a mile in
three minutes. That sluice was the slickest
piece of work I
ever saw. It sure took some figuring. George
designed it. He went to school with Paul Bean. He came

from Gorham, Me. After he left here he went to Chicago
to work
on a hotel that was tipping over. Then he helped
build a railroad
through the Rocky Mountains. After that
he went out to San
Francisco and worked on the Golden
Gate bridge.

Bean and Harris came up one day to see about doing
to the sluice gates. We drove around to the other
side of the dam
and then Bean discovered he need the
blueprints that had been left
over at the house. He was
going to send his driver over after them
but I told him I
could do it quicker. There was about an inch of
running over the splashboards but I went across and got
papers. When I got back, Bean stood there with his
hands in his
pockets watching me. He said `I didn’t like to
see you do that,
Clarence!’ It wasn’t long after that they
put in the bridge above
the splashboards.”

Source: The Town of Wilsons Mills Maine, “The History of
Wilsons Mills-and- the- Magalloway-Settlements”
(Wilsons Mills, Me. 1975.)

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