Throwback Thursday: Lick Run Splash Dam

(Provided photo)

Lick Run, a local tributary of the Susquehanna River, makes its way downwards and empties into the river, north of Clearfield, in Goshen Township.

The mouth of the creek was, a few years ago, the site of an archaeological dig, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in order to complete the new bridge, which is a part of state Route 879.

Various First Nation/Native American artifacts were found and cataloged, as well as remnants of early European American settlers.

During the late 19th century heyday of the log-floating industry in Clearfield County, splash dams were built with carefully placed logs, known as cribs, and then packed with stones and soil.

The goal was to collect huge amounts of logs in the dam of rapidly rising water and to control their movement down river through a chute.  Other splash dams could be built further downstream.

The splash dams were temporary structures and could be easily dismantled or demolished when their usefulness ended.

The logging industry was the first great employer in Clearfield County.  It formed spin-off business but also produced soil erosion.

When the original white pine and other tree species were mostly cut down by the early 20th century, coal and clay mining replaced logging as the new resource extraction economic base industry.

The photo shows 19 mostly young men and four mules engaged in the then labor-intensive construction of the dam.

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