Between the years 2000 and 2009 more than 200 notable dam failures happened worldwide. View of downstream face of Castlewood Dam showing leak near left abutment, May 1900 (Fellows, 1911, Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History Collection) Figure 5 . Thanks for sharing the newspaper story and awesome photos! The water that rushed towards Denver was significant, as Castlewood Dam was roughly three times the size of Sloan's Lake. The park retains a unique part of Colorado's history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. And then very early on August 3, 1933 after a multiple days of excessive rain, that was it. More information…. Muskrats….REALLY! Interested in learning more about the 1933 flood? The Castlewood Dam was built in the late 1800's and you can imagine firsthand the destruction that followed the dam breaking in 1933 when one of the worst floods in Denver's history ensued. Submitted by Katie Rudolph on August 5, 2015. Wood & water don't seem like great companions! Warnings to the city by 4 am allowed most people to move out of the way of the flood waters. So interesting! The activities planned for this day of recognition a.k.a. You've inspired me to plan a hike in Castlewood, Mike! In 1889, a dam was born. The dam contained an uncontrolled overflow spillway passing over the dam at about the middle of the crest length. We have visited and hiked Castlewood Canyon State Park for many years. Thanks, Hillary! Spam? This made me go down a little bit of a rabbit hole looking for info on when and how the Cherry Creek retaining wall infrastructure was built. Plan Your Visit. A dam failure or dam burst is a catastrophic type of failure characterized by the sudden, rapid, and uncontrolled release of impounded water or the likelihood of such an uncontrolled release. Thanks for reading and commenting! Family Friendly: This area is only a couple miles from the Homestead trailhead via the Creek Bottom Trail and is tons of fun to explore. Disaster struck on August 3, 1933. A photo gallery documenting the flooding and its destruction can be viewed in this article on the Denver Public Library website here. In the late 1880s, a plan was … "Castlewood Canyon is an absolute phenomenal park," said Cathy Fischer. A place rich with history still thrives today. A valid Colorado State Parks pass is required. It was 43-years-old when it let go. It was exactly 2:38 a.m. when Denver first learned that flood waters had broken the Castlewood dam, and that a wall of water would rush into the city...Timely warnings that a fifteen-foot wall of water was rampaging down the creek...saved the lives of many persons. Lunch to benefit Friends of Castlewood Canyon State Park.  Located within the northernmost extension of the Black Forest, Castle Wood Canyon encompasses 2,136 acres (9 km2) with elevations ranging from 6,200 to 6,600 feet (2,010 m). With the growing importance of farming in the region came the need for irrigation. Many urban dwellers come for the picnic opportunity away from the city (group picnic facilities can be reserved), others visit the park because of the unusual geology, particularly the caprock features. From a Master’s thesis on construction materials used, to substandard fill, to muskrats. "It became a great recreation area," said Fischer. Being a jerk / offensive? Also contained within the park is the historic Cherry Creek Bridge. Note: The two photographs above were taken from vastly different vantage points, yet they help provide somewhat of a scale for not only how much water the reservoir held, but also how differently things look today post-collapse. the Dam Caretaker, will be at the Dam to tell stories and answer questions. Displaced residents found shelter in Denver's downtown hotels. We’re happy to help. As you look north from the dam, you can see large boulders and damn debris carried for as far as you can see. Castlewood Canyon Dam was constructed in 1890 across Cherry Creek, 40 miles southeast of Denver, Colorado. According to The Denver Post Headline of August 9, 1933: “ACT OF GOD BLAMED FOR DAM BREAK.”. The jewel of the prairie is about 30 miles southeast of Denver. And then very early on August 3, 1933 after a multiple days of excessive rain, that was it. Take the family and hike the canyon trail or around the southwest side of the park to the old broken dam. Or take I-25 south to Castle Rock, use the Founders Parkway/Highway 86 exit to Franktown and turn south. From a Master’s thesis on construction materials used, to substandard fill, to muskrats. Castlewood Canyon State Park is one of Colorado's treasures. The Castlewood Dam, December 2019. Castlewood Dam was a masonry rock-fill dam constructed in 1890 across Cherry Creek approximately 30 miles southeast of Denver, Colorado. In 1889, a dam was born. reenactment of going out onto the Dam that night in the visitor center. Castlewood Dam History Castlewood Dam was built in 1890 by the Denver Water Storage Company partnered with the Denver Land and Water Company, a committee of landowners who were The ruins have a sense of beauty now. Denver, CO 80204. Photo by Elaine Skylar Neal. The dam failed at approximately 12:15 am on August 3, 1933 after a heavy rainfall. "Castlewood Canyon is an absolute phenomenal park," said Cathy Fischer. Eighty-nine men worked tirelessly for 11 months to build the wall that would retain a large body of water behind it. Then there is the account from Hugh Paine, the Dam Caretaker, from the above-mentioned article: “at 11:15 o’clock he observed the dam and the water was six feet below the spillway.” Later in the article “By 12:15 a torrent of water was poring over and thru the dam, and within a few minutes the surface of the reservoir had dropped thirteen feet below the spillway.” Between 11:15 and 12:15 Hugh “heard an unusual sound….which resembled a tremendous rush of air of tornado proportions.” Could that have been a contributing factor? Cherry Creek Reservoir was built in place of the Castlewood Canyon dam after it failed. Visitors can still see the remnants and damage from that dam which burst in 1933. She loves it so much that she volunteers as a tour guide there. Learn about library services available now and the latest COVID-19 information and updates. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This week, we're focusing on the floodwaters that deluged the Denver area 82 years ago this August. This water, heavily laden with dirt, deposited a residue of silt within Denver’s city limits which would weigh, at the very least, 20,000 tons.”. She loves it so much that she volunteers as a tour guide there. The time of the activities are 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Come out to Castlewood Canyon State Park and help us recognize this day in Colorado history. Since becoming a state park in 1964 and expanding to nearly 900 acres in the 1970s, hiking trails spread out and flank both sides of the dam ruins while the quiet trickle of Cherry Creek threads the division between. Please contact us if your organization or entity would like to use our images. You really get the feeling of how the break must have sounded. The park sits on 2,600 acres with 17 miles of trails and there's much more to the state park than meets the eye. NOT OKAY! Your FREE account works with all Adventure Projects sites. Dwight D. Gross, chief engineer for the Denver Board of Water Commissioners was quoted by the ;Denver Post on August 4, 1933: Approximately one and one-half billion gallons of water passed through Denver in six hours during and immediately after the flood. Last week, we brought you a glimpse of the 1914 Cornet Creek flood in Telluride. Create Recommended Route or Castlewood Canyon State Park is a Colorado state park near Franktown, Colorado. The Castlewood Dam failed on August 3rd, 1933. It looks so modern to me. Hikes to Photo by Charles L. Hincke. We also welcome guest hosting and other fun and curious opportunities to extend our reach. Figure 4 . Taking other people's content (text, photos, etc) without permission is a copyright violation and It doesn’t sound like it was ever much of a proper barrier. Ruins of Castlewood Canyon Dam Burst on August 3, 1933, killing two and causing the second-largest flood in Denver's history 30 miles downstream. Besides mud and washed out bridges, Denver residents endured flooded basements and downed phone and power lines. All content is either produced by us or has been licensed. Or, keep up-to-date on the latest news and weather with the Denver7 apps for iPhone/iPads, Android and Kindle. the Dam which point our some seldom seen and talked about points. Denver Times, November 12, 1902 page 2, column 7, Neat! The water made it all the way to downtown Denver, flooding the streets. Eighty-nine men worked tirelessly for 11 months to build the wall that would retain a large body of water behind it. Therefore, everything here is protected by copyright and/or other intellectual property laws. Many people who drive by never realize they just passed a gem. The event sent a 15-foot (5 m) wave of water all the way to downtown Denver resulting in a flood. Short Walk: A couple miles walk either from the Homestead or West Side Trailheads to the west or the Canyon Point trailhead to the east.