VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Vigo County officials began the removal of the historic Markle Mill Dam Monday, as dozens of residents came out to watch the demolition, and see the dam one last time.
The dam has a rich history in the area, however, safety concerns led county leaders to make the decision to remove the 200-year-old dam.
“Low Head Dams are well known for their safety hazard and it’s well known here as well, in the past,” explains Adam Grossman, superintendent for the Vigo County Parks Department. “Mother Nature was going to take this thing out in a matter of time anyways. We’re surprised it didn’t happen this Spring. Right now, we’ve got the funds to be able to assist in the removal and clean this site up and make it safer for people to actually get down here and into the stream and things of that nature.”
Ciara Bland has lived in Terre Haute all of her life. She was one of dozens who came out Monday morning to say goodbye to the beloved dam.
“This is where a lot of my childhood memories were made was coming out here with my dad and my brothers swimming and playing in the creek,” says Bland.
And, while it’s a sad day for Bland, she says she understands why the decision was made to remove the damn. “It’s kind of heartbreaking but, at the same time, it’s a lot safer for the environment for the fish and the animals to be able to travel up and down the river the way it was supposed to have been.”
Preserving Markle Dam’s History
Grossman says efforts are being made to preserve the dam’s rich history.
“We already got some square nails that we’re going to put in the Pioneer Village in the Blacksmith Shop. We’ll label those and everybody that comes through will know where they came from. We’re talking now with the archeologist about making picnic tables out of the timbers being pulled from the dam. So, that history will be reused on the site to improve the park.”
Not everyone is on-board with the removal of the dam. Mywabashvalley.com spoke to several people who were too overcome with emotions to discuss their feelings on camera.
Grossman says he believes the work will continue for another three or four days, depending on weather and other factors.