Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A flume & Bass Lake

Today, my neighbor, the contract archeologist, took me on a tour of Prescott's recent past. The highlight, a tour of what's happened to Old 89A. However, that post not only requires a lot of pictures, PhotoShop time and simply mulling things over, it probably also will have to be done in two or three parts! However, on this same outing. I got a close look at a small feature that's puzzled me for many a year.

Shortly after one crosses Willow Creek, driving north on SR89 through the Dells, you might notice on the left a line of rusted tanks or troughs. Actually, it is the remains of a flume. When we first moved to Prescott in the early 80s, the line of the flume was intact, unlike the broken mess I photographed today.

My neighbor had prepared a report on the remains. The flume acquired water from a dam on Willow Creek near where the old Garden of the Gods was later located. Sometime around 1907 or thereabouts. The water served two purposes: an orchard on the other side of the road (SR 89) and a sometimes fishing spot, Bass Lake, located in a low flat between the flume and the rocks to the back of the pictures above and below. When water was not needed at the orchard, it was diverted to the lake.

Here, some of the timbers that held up the aqueduct. One important fact I didn't find out: the date when this waterworks was shut down.


Omegadad said...

Kewl... I remember seeing the flume.

And I wish I had an archaeologist neighbor.

Granny J said...

od -- it's interesting -- I find out more about local history from the archeologist than I do from other sources. Apparently, all kinds of governmental activities require archeological impact statements, which include the recent past as well as the past past.

Meggie said...

It seems rather sad, to see the rusting tattered remains of something once so functional.

Granny J said...

meggie -- what surprises me often is how ephemeral so much of our modern life is; sometimes I think that our ancestors built to last more often than we do!

Andy C said...

Briefly - this property may have been owned by Joseph Curtis who grew peaches and melons prior to sale to Alfred Clough in 1877. Sharlot Hall Museum has photos of vineyards, apple trees, and a fishing lake on the Clough property. He died in 1908 and the ranch was bought by John Bianconi. Bianconi had the largest peach orchard in the state here (34 a) and produced many other crops. The Bianconi Brothers won many ribbons at the Arizona State Fair and the Northern Arizona Fair (later YC Fair). The flume was present by 1911. In 1936 when the Willow Lake Dam was built, Bianconi sued and received an award of water from the Chino Valley Irrigation District. This was all for naught, as his peach trees caught peach mosaic and were destroyed to prevent spread of the disease. The ranch was sold to a cattle rancher in 1941 and was bought by Robert H. Kieckhefer about 1950. It became the center of his quarter horse operation. Currently the ranch remains in the family but is only used for a couple of retired race horses.

Granny J said...

thanks, andy, for the history of this interesting location. Too bad nobody is growing a big peach orchard in there today. Fresh local fruit would be wonderful!

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