The Dale St Reservoir, 1918-2010

The Pioneer Press today runs an article about a beautiful piece of Twin Cities critical infrastructure – the Dale Street Reservoir in Roseville, which supplied drinking water to a large part of Ramsey County from 1918 to earlier this year.

It held thirty million gallons of water within its depths, and according to folks at the water department, plans were originally made to build an expansion to the south, which would have doubled its capacity. That expansion was never built, and never will be; the reservoir was demolished earlier this month.

Why? It had some cracks, to be sure, but mainly it was just too large. Water usage in the inner metro area has declined over the decades, partially a result of water-conservation efforts, but also because, regrettably, a lot of the water-hungry businesses of yesteryear are no more. (Since the Dale Street Reservoir was completed in 1918, Saint Paul has lost three breweries and virtually all of its heavy industry, not to mention a lot of other heavy water users like the commercial laundries and the stockyards.)

I don’t pretend to be a civil engineer, but apparently running a water reservoir at reduced capacity can cause issues – something about stagnation and contamination, I guess.

Anyway, I’m always sad to see underground structures, particularly critical infrastructure, go away, but it’s especially saddening when it’s something as beautiful as the reservoir – a structure whose beauty is, I think, apparent to a lot of people, and not just urban explorers or architecture nerds.

Ah, well; not for nothing is is said, “they just don’t build ’em like they used to”.

(You can see a friend’s picture of the reservoir at the bottom of this page.)

Published in: General, History, Urban Exploration | on April 28th, 2010| No Comments »

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