Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Laurel Dam - A Guest Opinion

Stephen McAdams recently sent sent me the following comment about the plan to preserve the old Laurel Dam. Steve writes the very handy Laurel web site

"Recently it was announced that [funding was being sought] to determine what would be required to preserve the old mill dam. I've been there recently and am not impressed. A small portion of what was obviously a dam is still there, but it is hard to get to and would be totally inaccessible whenever any floodgates are open. Also, if there are going to be new homes across the street from the swimming pool. I cannot visualize any major effort to increase traffic to the site of the old dam. Perhaps any additional money could be better spent creating a model of what existed 150 yrs ago. A model that shows the location of the dam, the mills, the workers' homes etc. And build a facility to house the model. Just an opinion." - Stephen McAdams"


Anonymous said...

Steve: I'm saddened that you see nothing worthwhile in preserving the last visible remnant of Laurel's industrial past. Models/internet sites et al are OK to augment knowledge, but why destroy the real thing if it's possible to preserve it? If you haven't seen the recent exhibit at the Museum "Stories from the Attic" you may want to stop by. There's a whole section on the mill and the role the dam played. In fact, the large photo you see when you enter suggests the site was open all the way to the dam..something for us to think about as we stabilize and rethink that park area.

Mike & the Council are to be commended for working for the dam's stabilization.

Karen Lubieniecki/President/Laurel Historical Society

Anonymous said...

I am honored that Ms Lubieniecki, president of the Laurel Historical Society chose to respond to my published opinion. I am disappointed that she chose to question my value of history, I don't believe she and I have ever met.

To refocus: my comment concerned the most appropriate use of the monies involved: $50,000 just to determine what it would take to preserve the dam! Then how much to actually do the job: 10 times that amount? 20 times? (That would be $1,000,000.00) And what about when the WSSC finds it necessary to open the flood gates? The whole area would be under water. We cannot ignore that fact.

I agree with Ms Lubieniecki. " we stabilize and rethink that park area" we need to keep in mind how things were in the past. But at the same time I believe there are many, many factors from today's world that must also be kept in mind.

I will also commend Mike and the Council for looking into it. But, that is their job and I expect them to do it well. Unfortunately, they could just as easily get raked over the coals if the costs were to skyrocket and the recurring flooding were to win out.

If you don't like the idea of a model, then perhaps the money could be used to reconstruct the mill building at the end of Avondale Street, the one that burned down so long ago. It is more easily accessible and high enough to stay dry when the flood gates are opened. It could become an annex to the museum. Yes, this could in fact cost much more than trying to preserve a dam, but I believe it would be money better spent.

To all of our readers:
If you haven't seen what remains of the dam then I suggest you drive to the end of Main Street. Take the path leading into the woods. When the path runs out keep going in the same general direction. You'll find it. Imagine how is once stood. Relive that era. Think about where you are standing and how high the water is when the flood gates are open. Then think about how best to spend the money.

After you have visited the dam, your opinion is more valid than someone who hasn't. If you agree with Ms Lubieniecki, that's great. If you agree with me, that fine too. If you find yourself somewhere in between, that is even better. Anyway you look at it, you will have seen part of Laurel's history and be richer for it.

But, that's -
Just an opinion - Stephen McAdams