Black Rock Dam (Schuylkill River)
|Black Rock Dam|
Black Rock Dam with flood waters. Canal forebay in foreground.
|Location||Chester / Montgomery counties, Pennsylvania|
|Opening date||c. 1825|
|Dam and spillways|
|Length||480 feet (150 m) main
900 feet (270 m) fore bay
|Creates||Black Rock Pool|
Black Rock Dam
|Part of||Schuylkill Navigation Canal, Oakes Reach Section Historic District (#88000462)|
The Black Rock Dam is a low head dam in the Schuylkill River. Originally constructed as a stone filled, timber crib dam in the early 19th century by the Schuylkill Navigation Company, the dam was one of dozens built to create a slack water pools for the Schuylkill Navigation System. The dam is a contributing property of the "Schuylkill Navigation Canal, Oakes Reach Section" registered historic district. The dam is located between Phoenixville and Mont Clare in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA.
The original dam structure is "L" shaped. There is the usual perpendicular crossing creating the low head spillway. However the majority of the structure is a long forebay for the canal, parallel to the left bank. The forebay has two spillways and ends with the structure of Lock 60. Lock 60 is the guard lock of the Oakes Canal portion of the Navigation. In 1828 a lock was added to the right side of the dam as part of the Chester County Canal addition to the Navigation, which provided water power and later transport to Phoenixville. In 1869 this canal was ruined by a flood.
In 1902 three hydroelectric generators were added to the forebay by the Reading Traction Company to power a local trolley. The generators have been removed, but the dam is still owned by power company, Exelon.
In the later 20th century, the perpendicular section was extended across the end of the forebay, creating a straight bank to bank dam and capping the forebay.
In 2008, as part of a project to restore the migratory American shad to the Schuylkill, a fish ladder was added to the dam on the Chester County side. During construction, remnants of the Chester County Canal feeder lock were uncovered and documented by an archeologist.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- Catalano, Laura; Kurt D. Zwikl (2009). Along the Schuylkill River. Arcadia Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7385-6548-4. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- "Schuylkill River American Shad". Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "Exelon - Black Rock Dam Construction Photographs". Retrieved 2009-11-16.[dead link]
- "Exelon - Black Rock Dam and its history". Retrieved 31 December 2009.[dead link]