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The Ames Reservoir Would have covered McMichael Cemetery

One of the first big projects that didn't come to Milford Twp after that project had been planned was the construction of the 1870's railroad. The second might be considered to be the Ames Reservoir Dam. This structure, which actually would have been in the southwest corner of Sec 13 of Franklin Twp, and less than a mile from Milford Twp, would have backed water up to 40 feet deep in the northwest corner of the Township in parts of Sections 5, 6, 7, and 18. McMichael Cemetery would have been very close to this dam as it is in the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of said Sec 13. No where in the planning papers that were found was the question of this Pioneer Cemetery mentioned.

The prospect of flood control on the Skunk River was started at least before the First World War when straightening and dredging of the Skunk River was occurring downstream of Ames and Story County. However, just after WWII the talk became action and by Sept of 1949 hearings were being held.

The concept, recommended by the District and Division engineers of the Army Corp of Engineers in their publicly released report on 30 March 1951, was for the construction of two dams, both a few miles upstream from Ames- one on the Skunk River and one on Squaw Creek. This immediately set off a firestorm of protest from the people upstream from the proposed dams.

The Squaw Creek facility, to be located on the line between Sec 20 and 29 of Franklin Twp, died a quick death but the other, the Ames Reservoir, gathered some powerful support. At neither site was the development of hydroelectric deemed to be economically possible.

The dam site for the Ames reservoir was to be at mile 220.6, about 5 miles upstream from Ames. The drainage area above the dam would have been 314 square miles and would have had a capacity of 94,000 acre feet with the top of the flood control pool at elevation 968. The 20 foot wide crest of the dam would have been 75 feet above the narrow flood plain at elevation 985. The length at the base would be about 600 feet and the crest length would be 1260 feet. The Dam crest would run WNW- ESE. The discharge would have been through a 7 foot diameter concrete pipe with intake near the center of the dam.

The overflow spillway would have been on the east end of the dam with a series of five tainter gates to permit overflow starting at elevation 953 and maximum of 969. The construction of this spillway would have caused a maximum of 40 feet of excavation.

At elevation 968, flood pool, (94,000 acre feet) the reservoir would cover about 4,350 acres and would cover about 11 river miles. The project would have to acquire about 6500 acres of land. The reservoir would be operated normally at elevation 949 with a surface area of 2,100 acres. The goal for release would be a flow of 78 c.f.s. past the Ames gaging station. In Story City the sewage plant outlet is 959 and the refreshment stand near the athletic field is 971; Riverside Bible Camp at 978.

Two planning entities, the Corp of Engineers and the Highway Commission came to agreement when it was decided to move the planned I-35 interstate just to the east of its original planned path. The proposed budget for this relocation was $2,170,000 and so the higher roadway at elevation 973 and the higher bridge at Bear Creek were constructed. The total cost of this dam and reservoir project was placed at $10,130,000.

Opposition to the cost; the damage, both upstream and downstream, to the tile lines; and the questionable recreation potential led to a quieting of the support. Many thought the alleged lake would be nothing more than a eye sore of a mud-flat for 7 or 8 months a year. A planned "scenic overlook" was constructed for the south bound traveler on I-35 about a half mile north of Milford Twp. There were many "tongue-in-cheek" comments about what the scenery would be in this "scenic" overlook.

Congressman Neil Smith, who began his career in Congress in 1959 and served for 36 years, was a strong proponent of this project when it started and, after becoming convinced that it might not be as "good" a project as he had first believed, quit pushing for the project. The Corp of Engineers, perhaps rightly or wrongly, did not seem to radiate enthusiasm and so the project was put on a type of "permanent hold". Reportedly, this was the first project, or one of very few, that had been funded and then not constructed.

In the 1930 High School graduation class there is a list of 13 graduates. The newspaper list in 1926, when this class graduated from the 8th grade, shows the large turnover of students and has 15 students receiving their 8th grade diploma.

1926 Newspaper (8th)    Official 1930 HS Graduation
Genevieve Curtis    Genevieve Curtis
Dorothea Kimble    Dorothy Kimble
Anna Hovland    Anna Hovland
Jean Frey    Jean Fry
Gladys Hansen    Gladys Hanson
Margaret Hereim    Margaret Hereim
Marie Danielson    Left Milford
Kenneth Dawson    Left Milford
Herbert Ericson    Left Milford
Florence King    Left Milford
John King    Left Milford
John Krug    Left Milford
Corrine Laymon    Left Milford
Thelma Peterson    Left Milford
Earl Prescott    Left Milford
Joined after 8th grade    Ruby Christian
Joined after 8th grade    Lois Cooke
Joined after 8th grade    Marie Donaldson
Joined after 8th grade    Robert Harlow
Joined after 8th grade    Thelma Peerson
Joined after 8th grade    Elizabeth Skeers
Joined after 8th grade    Eugene Thornton

Of the 15 in 1930 8th grade graduation, 9 left , 6 remained, and 7 joined. See pages 80, 85, 277-279, 293, 315.

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Page 318 of 354

© 2012 Mark Christian
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