This is an early beta version that’s still a work in progress. We hope to develop and refine the contents going forward. In the meantime, we’re making it fully available to the public as-is. Started by the Jefferson County Historical Commission in the 1990s, it was transferred to the Golden History Museum-City of Golden in 2020.

Cheesman Dam


Address3 mi. from Cty. Rd. 126 on Forest Service Rd. 211, between Buffalo Creek community & Deckers
QuadCheesman Lake, 1956 (1984)
SectionS6, T10S, R70W
Elevation6848
SourceDenver Water Board pamphlet, May 1962.
OtherCheesman Lake; The Island; Gauging Station
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Initialdate1992-04-21 00:00:00-06
PersonDWL
Latestdate2012-11-28 00:00:00-07
Person2REL
HistoryThis key structure in the Denver Water System is on the South Fork of the South Platte River approximately 48 miles from Denver by way of the River. This masonry dam was completed late 1904.The Denver Water Board bought the lake and dam in 1918 from a group of Denver business men. It was named for Walter S. Cheesman, and is 236 ft. high and 176 ft. thick with crest length of 670 ft. and a 212 ft. spillway.When completed, it was considered an historical engineering feat, the highest of its type in the United States. It depends on its mass for its strength and the arch with a 480 degree radius gives it added safety. The dam impounds the snow melt from the mountains for one of Denver's water supplies.
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