The Lake Madeleine Project
Click On Photos
For Larger Images In 1957 -58 construction of two lakes , a
larger one Lake Madeleine (named after Mrs. Davidson) and a smaller one
Barbo’s (named after Mr. Davidson’s faithful dog), were undertaken as a
flood control, soil conservation, water storage project, the
impoundment water to be used primarily to run the hydro electric
The Lake, at an elevation
of 2,179 feet ,covers 35 acres and holds 226,000,000 gallons of water .
It is formed by two dams , the larger of which , Lake Madeleine Dam is
85 feet high , 1,400 feet long , 350 feet thick at its base and
required approximately 300,000 cubic yards of earth. The smaller dam,
or dyke, is 30 feet high and required 40,000 cubic feet if earth.
Lake Madeleine fulfilled its
flood-control and soil- conservation objectives very well in the spring
of 1958. During the winter of 1957-58, Vermont had a very heavy snow
fall which covered the entire watershed of lake Madeleine several feet
deep. This snow melted quickly during the period from April 10th to May
10th, producing a flood of water. But, Lake Madeleine, almost empty as
planned , accepted and retained over 225,000,000 gallons of water that
otherwise would have rushed down Hopper Brook to add to the already
overflowing Battenkill and Green River, its tributary and also captured
silt that would have been carried down stream to to settle out and
spoil fishing and recreation in lower streams.
The power and conservation project began with the construction of a
reservoir christened Barbo’s
Lake, which was created by a semi-circular dyke containing 75,000 cubic
yards of earth, in a pasture abandoned for more than one hundred years.
This reservoir serves as an auxiliary water supply for Hopper Pond ,
which in turn supplies water for the lower number one power house.
At the height of operation , giant earth-moving equipment in use
included six bulldozers, two 25 yard scrapers and a 15 yard scraper,
two sheep’s foot compactors, a truck crane, and two power shovels. Work was pushed rapidly on a
two-shift basis, the first shift started at 4:00 am and the second
ended at 9:00 pm.
The dedication of Lake Madeleine Dam, the heart of what has been called
by government's foremost conservationist, “ the biggest soil
conservation project ever undertaken by a private individual in New
England,” marked a high point in the long range plan for Mount Equinox
by the late Dr. Davidson. The dedication was attended by the then
governor of Vermont Joseph Blaine Johnson, Brig. General Alden K.
Sibley, L. Douglas Meredith and Ethan A. Norton to name a few. Davidson
also received a Telegram from the then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson who
sent his warmest regards on the dedication and expressed his belief
that this is a fortunate country which can produce men such as J. G.