Historic American Engineering Record: Waddell Dam, Maricopa County, Arizona

Author(s): David M. Introcaso

Year: 1988


Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. AZ-11 presents a written historical summary and relevant historical documentation about the construction and use of Waddell Dam, which was the only water storage dam successfully built by private interests in central Arizona. Sponsored by the Phoenix Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation, this HAER documentation was undertaken as mitigation for the construction of New Waddell Dam as part of the Central Arizona Project, and the submersion of the original Waddell Dam under the waters of Lake Pleasant.

Waddell Dam, formerly Pleasant Dam, comprised the key structure of the Agua Fria Project, storing water from the Agua Fria River for use by local water users. Initially conceived in 1888, the Agua Fria Project was plagued by financial issues from its inception and Waddell Dam was not completed until 1927. Upon completion it was the largest multiple arch dam in the world.

This HAER report focuses on the historical significance of Waddell Dam and on its technological nature and features. It discusses 1) the beginning of interest in the Agua Fria Project; 2) issues with water development in Arizona during the end of the nineteenth century; 3) dam technology, with special attention focusing on multiple arch dam design; 4) the design and construction of the Waddell Dam; 5) problems that arose after construction was completed; 6) changes in water usage in central Arizona; and 7) the role the Agua Fria Project played in central Arizona economic growth. The report contains a narrative description, drawings, maps, and historic photographs of Waddell Dam.

Cite this Record

Historic American Engineering Record: Waddell Dam, Maricopa County, Arizona. David M. Introcaso. 1988 ( tDAR id: 77142) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8V40X22

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1891 to 1936 (Years of construction of the Diversion Dam, Waddell Dam, and canal.)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.282; min lat: 33.806 ; max long: -112.194; max lat: 33.879 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office

Contributor(s): James Dix Schuyler; Mark Durben; James Eastwood

Landowner(s): Maricopa County Municipal Water Conservation District Number One.

Sponsor(s): Bureau of Reclamation

Prepared By(s): Salt River Project Archives

Record Identifiers

NADB Citation ID No.(s): 000000167207

NADB Document ID No.(s): 2203103


General Note: The copy from which the NADB citation was made is located at the Bureau of Reclamation, Box 25007, Denver CO 80255, and was submitted by Salt River Project.

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