By Reno Bailey
Attached to the top of the old stone dam at the Cliffside Mill is a three-foot tall wooden “lip” that extends across about 150 feet of the dam. It prevents the flow of the water from wearing down the rock and mortar, and gives the pond a little more capacity.
We’ve noticed lately the structure is rapidly deteriorating, which caused us to pay particular attention to a couple of documents we ran across in the Cliffside Historical Society archives: It is a quote from the Cunningham-Waters Construction Company, of Greer, S. C., to replace the old wooden structure. Submitted in 1970, it gave the cost (outlandishly low in today’s dollars) and detailed specifications.
We don’t know whether Cone Mills accepted their bid, but someone must have done the work around that time, for the structure now appears to have had about 35 years of wear. We were there on April 2, 2006, and it looked pretty pitiful. How long will it now take for the rush of water to damage and weaken the dam? Not too long, we’d guess.
None of our business, but maybe the dam’s new owners could use Cunningham-Waters’ phone number. It’s 864 877-3326. It’s surely a trusted and reliable company, having been in business since 1949. Gabe Waters is the person you need to speak to. They may even give a discount, for the construction specs are already figured out. (The Remember Cliffside research team never sleeps.)
Read the documents (in PDF format). The letter comes first, then scroll down for the detailed design.
Photos by Reno Bailey
“I worked in the [machine] shop, and I believe the top was replaced sometime in the 80’s by the shop personnel (probably the wood shop). I worked at Cliffside Mill from 1977 to 2004, 27 years.” —Ron Arrowood
“The free board on the dam was replaced in 1994 by Cunningham,Waters. I was the supervisor of the machine shop at that time. Also the interior of the water turbines was reworked along with the electrical. The Cone machine shop did most of this work with some outside help. The main gate to the dam and the generator inlet gates were replaced by Cone machine shop personnel. Rip-rap stone was placed upon a liner fabric out along the bank of the machine shop yard, to stop erosion and leakage into the plant basement.” —Charles W. Nodine, 1979 to 2000 Cone Cliffside, Haynes, Florence plants.
For a more recent view of the dam and its condition, read “More Dam Pictures.”
And in early December, 2006, word comes from James Harris that the dam’s wooden extension has once again been replaced.