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brators, bringing the concrete pile down, smoothing it out, and breaking
up the air pockets. If there were any air pockets in the concrete, the in-
spectors would not pass the work. On a rainy day when a big pour was
happening, events got a little more exciting when a man would grab the
wrong part of the vibrator and experience unexpected shocks," he laughed.
"Four or five of my buddies worked there, and it made work fun. They
paid us good money for those days, too. I might have made $1.10 an
Dick Harrington, along with others, explained that the heavy rocks
laid to protect the face of the dam from wave-wash were quarried north of
Bishopville, in Klipnocky, and transported to the site in independent con-
tractor's trucks. Although Dick did not work on the Almond Dam project,
he was on the crew that "harvested" the rip-rap from the Klipnocky site
for the Arkport Dam project ten years earlier. It was hard work with no
forklifts, cranes or loaders for assistance, and the only equipment the la-
borers used were mauls and shovels. "They would blast with dynamite to
shake the rocks loose," Dick explained, and then the laborers would break
them up by hand. The rocks were then picked up by a cable-operated
shovel, dropped onto an angle-iron grid, which sorted out the dirt and
small rocks and dumped them onto awaiting trucks.
"Things were different then," Dick stressed. "There was no
OSHA, and no hard hats. If you smashed your finger, they said `go home
and fix it.' The rock haulers used old beat up trucks they'd never buy a
new truck for that job. Probably most of them didn't have brakes they'd just
shift down and pray and there were no NYS inspection laws," he said.
The late Clint Gillette, who owned Gillette's Garage on Main Street
next to the hardware, was described as the leading "mobile welder" whose
good equipment and expertise kept indispensable machinery and vehicles func-
tioning. His son, Bud, recalls that one of the subcontractors "had a bunch of
old machinery, and Dad did a lot of work on welding trucks and cranes to keep
them running. Some of the vehicles were chain-driven like a motorcycle, with
a rear end differential," he noted, adding that his dad's ability to fix and repair
anything was eagerly sought after by the equipment owners.
Other local business owners benefited from the construction project,
including the Almond Hardware where Phil MacMichael worked for his uncle,
Millard Wilson. The building, razed during the construction of the access road
for Route 17, was located on the corner of Karrdale Avenue and Main Street.
"We got to know lots of the workers and some of the contractors on the project
who often stopped at the store for supplies. Mr. Baldwin was a contractor who
moved several of the houses. We also did the plumbing in the caretaker's
house on the top of the dam. . .. a very nice house," he reported.
Even the kids got into the entrepreneurial mode, seeing an opportunity
make a little money, according to Gladys Farley. Living just outside of
Thacherville, she remembers them being awakened in the morning to the roar of pans and "eucs" mov-
ing dirt across the road. "Floyd and the girls bought pop from Bud McCarthy and brought it up here to
our yard. They put it on ice in washtubs, set up a little stand, and sold it to the dam workers," she said.
After nearly three years, the project was finally completed in 1949. "It was a very good project
because of the flood protection," Bill Cleveland, head dam operator, states. "The misconception of Al-
mond residents is that we have an effect on Almond when the water is being backed up in the dam.
They think we are backing up floodwaters to protect Hornell, which is true. But it has no effect on Al-
mond, whatsoever. All of our water back up is below any Almond property levels. When our water is at
spillway capacity (the maximum amount of water the dam can hold) it backs up into the Canacadea
Creek only within the creek banks. All Almond private properties are above elevation of the dam if com-
pletely filled with water," he explained.
Bill's job as a federal government representative for the past 21 years is to operate and maintain
both the Arkport and Almond dams. In addition to opening and closing the floodgates, he and his crew
maintain the lake, fix and repair equipment, keep up the buildings, and are the public relations reps for
(Continued on page 6)
The Almond Dam--Part 2
Almond Historical Society Newsletter
Shovel Dumps on
Going in Truck