A history of the creation of the Ashokan Reservoir from 1905 inception to 1917 completion and what it involved: the emptying, damming and inundation of the inhabited valley to bring pure water to New York City.
The Last of the Handmade Dams: The Story of the Ashokan Reservoir
About the Book
The history of the construction of the first and the largest of New York City’s Catskill Mountain reservoirs, the Ashokan, and of its impact on the more than 2,000 inhabitants it displaced.
“The Ashokan Reservoir covers nearly 13 square miles of land. At the turn of the century, when the City came to the Catskills in search of pure water, it burned and leveled villages and razed homesteads and farms. Thousands of bodies were exhumed, a greater number in fact than the living who were dispossessed.” – from the Prologue to the Revised Edition
In his short, beautifully-written history, Bob Steuding covers all aspects — planning, construction, and political and social history — of the engineering triumph that remade the landscape, physical and mental, of this part of the Catskills in ways deeply felt to this day.
Illustrated with an 8 ½ x 16 in. foldout map.
About the Author
A writer on Catskill Mountain and Hudson River Valley subjects since the 1960s, Bob Steuding has also served the region as a teacher, town historian, and Ulster County poet laureate. A native of the Catskills, Steuding is the author of two collections of poetry, Ashokan and Winter Sun, as well as A Catskill Mountain Journal; a critical biography of the Pulitzer Prize poet Gary Snyder; and two other regional histories, Rondout: A Hudson River Port and The Heart of the Catskills. Bob lives with his wife Martha in Olivebridge near the Ashokan Reservoir.
5.5 x 8.5 inches