January 15, 1936
Dam construction began with dredging mud and debris from the Marshall Creek Channel.
March 15, 1936
The dredging of mud and debris from Marshall Creek Channel was nearing completion, and filling the ditch with material from the borrow pits was to begin the following week.
Construction of the dam was stopped temporarily. Safety was not a factor. The men in charge found that conditions differed from anticipated at the construction’s start.
May 29, 1936
When construction began, it was anticipated that the layer of blue clay on which the dam was being built would be impervious to water and make a good base for the dam. Still, after excavation, it was found that the stratum might cause leakage. This was undesirable since it would cause the level to vary, producing an unsightly shoreline. The US Army Engineers were consulted, and they prescribed that an immense piling be driven into the bedrock to key the construction. This was done at an additional expense of $75,000. After the piling was driven, construction was continued. There was talk of building a horseshoe-shaped dam utilizing both ends of the present structure, which would be laid on bedrock. Lots of the original dam were built on solid rock.
August 12, 1936
The first of the sheet piling was driven into place on this date. The piling was 5/8-inch thick, 16 inches wide, and interlocking 25-65 feet long. A total of 1,130 linear feet of piling was purchased for the project.
August 25, 1937
The original dam used one million cubic yards of earth and stone. The interior of the Recreations Hall is black, walnut, and oak. The Recreation Hall is in its final stages. As of this date, there were 30 feet of water in the lake.
September 19, 1937
Dam collapsed. The dam was 90% completed at the time of the collapse. Several sightseers were driving across the top of the dam. A crack appeared, but the people reached safety before the collapse. The dam was estimated to weigh approximately 2 million tons. The part which fell was estimated to weigh 300,000 pounds and fell 50 feet. The drop caused the land to the north to shift completely, closing a 16-foot drainage ditch. The highway north of the spillway was made impassable when the dirt shifted. There were no quakes that caused the dam to fall; however, the falling of the dam did cause an average-sized earthquake within the territory.
January 25, 1938
The Army engineers recommended broadening the dam’s base to prevent the reoccurrence of the dam’s collapse.
March 3, 1938
The total cost of rebuilding the dam and completing the park was estimated at $2,611,839.77 in the application, which was filed with the WPA, along with the plans for the rebuilding and completion.
Cost Estimate on the Park Project:
- 87% or $737, 939.77 from the Federal Govt.
- 13% or $92,603.25 from County Govt.
- Reconstruction of the dam is set at $1,873,900.
March 4, 1938
Wyandotte County’s share of the $1, 873,900 was estimated at $56,322.47. (The cost of the reconstruction of the dam). This estimate was taken from the application to the WPA. It estimated that the dam project would provide jobs for 984 relief workers for 12 months. $262,834.47 was allotted for the relief labor. Of the total reconstruction cost, $364,404 was allowed for labor. The difference between the two figures is allocated to the salaries of the technical workers and supervisors.
March 8, 1938
The projects and plans for rebuilding Marshall Creek Dam and completion of the park were approved by the state WPA office and sent to the district headquarters in Chicago.
March 14, 1938
The WPA hesitated in approving the estimated cost of $1,872,900 for the reconstruction and completion of the Wyandotte County dam and park.
WPA officials were here to see if the rebuilding could be done for less than the cost estimated by the investigation engineers. Of the total cost of $1,873,900, the WPA asked to provide all but $56,322.47, which the county will provide.
March 30, 1938
Frank H. Holcomb, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, opposed any significant additional dam rebuilding expenses.
April 8, 1938
As of this date, it was estimated that the dam’s completion date would be July 1, 1939. The work came to a standstill during the winter of 1937.
April 15, 1938
WPA advised that President Roosevelt had OK’d the New Marshall Creek Dam project, which means that $1,590,709 of WPA funds would be released from that office immediately.
June 16, 1938
The US Treasury Department handled the purchases of machinery and other equipment to reconstruct the dam. The machinery will be used on all critical items, with only those that can be done most economically by hand labor moved by hand.
July 31, 1938
Work on rebuilding the dam started in the middle of this week. Stripping at the upstream toe of the old dam started. The actual reconstruction should be started by August 10.
September 20, 1938
Today, the American Sand Company of Turner was given the contract to supply 11,700 cubic yards of sand for the dam. The county required the successful bidder on the cement to purchase the cement from the Lone Star Cement Co. When the bids were first submitted, the county received eight identical bids.
November 24, 1938
The new dam is to be erected just south of the original site. It will be constructed under the direction of the US Army Engineers working 18 hours a day. The base of the new dam is 1000 feet wide and will extend from bluff to bluff. No steel core will be in the center as in the previous dam. The dirt used to rebuild the great wall will be carefully selected, placed in position, and rolled. Every bit of pressure placed on the new structure will be carefully checked. It is expected that the lines of the Missouri Pacific will have to be moved to the north of the present location. 400 men are employed at the dam site; nearly 1000 are used to prepare rock and landscaping. The estimated completion date is 1940.
June 10, 1939
The lack of economically available roll-fill material for the dam resulted in the revision of plans. The sand was used for the upstream shell fill and for packing for the downstream shell. The Missouri River Division of Army engineers provided dredging equipment and dredge personnel for the sand project. The WPA handled the filling replacement and placing of the dredged sand. About 500,000 cubic yards of sand were used for the upstream fill, a part of the 2,010,000 cubic yards of the dredged sand to be used. Part of the sand was used to fill the vast pit caused by the muck excavation blamed for the first dam’s collapse.
August 22, 1939
After delays on August 21st due to blown fuses, the sand began pouring into the dam on this date.
September 15, 1939
Approximately 250,000 cubic yards of sand had been pumped into the dam by this date. This represented one-eighth of the 2,000,000 cubic yard total. Work was progressing on the dam, but the park was almost at a standstill due to a need for more workers. Approximately 1250 men were employed as of this date, but the authorities asked for 600 more.
October 11, 1939
Approximately 600,000 cubic yards of sand had been pumped for the dam. Work on the 10-mile road system was 50% complete.
October 17, 1939
Pumping was resumed for the sand after a two-day shutdown due to the construction of a toe drain (1800 feet of 12” corrugated metal pipe placed in the downstream toe to drain off water seeping through the slope). The water draining off the hill was then drained into Marshall Creek.
December 1, 1939
The dredging began at 8:30 PM on August 7th and terminated at midnight on December 2nd for the winter. When the dredging stopped, it was estimated that 100,000 cubic yards of the second million had been pumped into the dam.
March 26, 1940
Work on the rolled fill for the dam started. The dredging was to be started on April 8. 200 WPA workers were recalled.
May 28, 1940
The dredging was completed at 8:00AM. The dredging was completed at 8:00AM.
September 10, 1940
Through the winter, riprap stonework was to be done on the upstream sight of the dam to give protection to prevent wave action from cutting sand fill. About 20,000 cubic yards of native stone quarried in the park were to be used on the upstream slope. The downstream slope was to be sodded to prevent erosion. Work on the spillway was to be continued through the winter.
December 14, 1940
The work on the fill for the dam was stopped until spring, but the 600 present employees are to be kept during the winter to work on other projects at the dam site. E.J. Allison was the superintendent of the project.