The Lake Madeleine Project
Click On Photos For Larger Images   Construction PhotoIn 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 stations.

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.

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.
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 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. Davidson.