New York State Water Supply Commission Sacandaga Reservoir Proposed Flow Line Maps

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of topographic survey maps made as part of a plan to build a proposed storage dam on the Sacandaga River at or near Conklingville, Saratoga County. The maps show the river and its watershed and details of the lands and property that would be affected by the damming and flooding. The maps show municipal boundary lines, land features, details of land and property, buildings, roads, and railroads.
approximately 3 cubic feet (49 maps): col. ink, topographic, some annotated; 63 x 94 cm on sheet size of 66 x 96.5 cm.
Inclusive Dates:
approximately 1908-1912
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1908)
Series Number:


Numerical by sheet number.

Administrative History

The maps are part of a storage and power study plan made in response to Chapter 569 of the Laws of 1907, by which the State Water Supply Commission was authorized and directed to devise plans for the progressive development of the water powers under state ownership, in order that these should be controlled and maintained for the public use and benefit, and for the increase of public revenue.

Upon passage of the law, the commission secured the services of an eminent hydraulic engineer, John R. Freeman, and they inspected the Sacandaga, Indian, and Genesee rivers and watersheds to decide upon which to begin the first detailed studies. The result was the decision to make a careful survey of the Sacandaga River for the purpose of building a large storage dam. The commission felt that such a project would decrease annual flood damage; provide a deeper channel for the Hudson, improving navigation and insuring more water for canal needs; assure a minimum flow of water to improve sanitary conditions; provide cheap power for manufacturing and stimulate employment in various industries; and provide income to the state because the use of falling water was more economical than coal.

The Sacandaga River rises in the Adirondack Mountains in Hamilton and Warren counties and drains many lakes. A great part of the watershed is forested land owned by the state and so situated that flood waters could be stored with a minimum of effort. At the Conklingville dam site the mountains come together closely and the river runs through a narrow valley to its confluence with the Hudson at Hadley. The topographic sheets show that the proposed dam would set water back to the village of Northville, completely submerging the villages of Munsonville and Huntsville and partly submerging the villages of Northville, Sacandaga Park, Northampton, Cranberry Creek, Vails Mills, Benedict, North Broadalbin, Batchellerville, Day Center, and Mayville, as well as about four miles of the Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad. They also indicate that the valley to be flooded consisted primarily of farm and swamp lands.

The thrust of the law and the resulting survey was to plan thoroughly before investing large amounts of money in an intricate business. Building storage dams requires detailed knowledge of local conditions and considerable time and effort to acquire the necessary data on drainage areas, stream flow and run off, geological formations, rights to be acquired, the establishment of benchmarks, and the manner and extent of drawing off water. The maps are the result of the survey to plot the area of land to be overflowed; take elevations to determine the flow line of the reservoir when full and the point to which the water could be safely drawn down; to select a site for a dam and powerhouse; to make borings and ascertain the location of rock formations; to locate a place for a spillway; to gauge the river and the streams tributary to it; and to measure the cap of the proposed dam and the amount of available flood water it would store for storage purposes.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of topographic survey maps made as part of a plan to build a proposed storage dam on the Sacandaga River at or near Conklingville, Saratoga County. The maps show the river and its watershed and details of the lands and property that would be affected by the damming and flooding. They also provide elevations and benchmarks and mark the flow line of the resulting reservoir.

A flowage line is the contour or line around a reservoir, pond, or lake or along a stream corresponding to some definite water level. It is generally used in connection with the acquisition of rights to flood lands for water storage purposes.

The sheets show the following: contour lines (interval of 20) and elevations; village, town, and county boundary lines and especially the shoreline of the proposed reservoir in relation to the affected village/town; territory within the Sacandaga River watershed along with various creeks, ponds, islands, swamps, woodlands, and marshes; benchmarks and survey offset lines from the river; location of several proposed dam sites in Conklingville and other existing wooden dams; proposed flow line (elevation 770); details of land and property within the flood zone, including the names (heirs) of property owners and various lots and patents (e.g., "Great Lot 50" or "Kayaderosseras Patent"); outlines of specific buildings, sometimes giving the type of structure (e.g., church, school, hotel, cemetery, saw mill, town hall); streets, highways, and railroad lines, especially the Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad (F.J.G.) and the Delaware and Hudson railroads; the interruption of the Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad by the proposed flow line and the proposed relocation of the railroad line; and scattered pencilled annotations of natural features (e.g., "Depression" or "Ledge Rock") or explanatory remarks that apparently represent revisions.

The maps are hand drawn on architect's linen in colored inks, with the river and building outlines also shaded in color. Each map has a title, usually identifying it as the work of the State Water Supply Commission and specifying the authorizing legislation. Scale is given in feet, and is usually either 100 feet to one inch or 1 inch equal to 400 feet. Each map has a directional symbol that also gives the variance from true north. Maps often give the name of John R. Freeman, C.E., and the date January, 1908. They sometimes also carry the signature of the engineer in charge of the surveys. The date of the annotations is not clear although one map is marked as "Checked" with initials and the date April 30, 1912. Maps generally measure 63 x 94 cm within neat lines. Maps are arranged by sheet numbers which appear in the upper and lower right corners. Also present are case and drawer numbers that apparently represent locations where these maps were once kept.

At the beginning of the series there is an index map to the topographic sheets. It shows the proposed reservoir, its size in square miles, and the site of the proposed dam as well as the railroad lines, the proposed flow line and the latitude and longitude of the coverage area. It has a ruled scale of feet and one of statute miles. It is dated January 1909 and bears the name of John R. Freeman, C.E.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Other finding aids

An index map of locations by sheet number is the first map in the series.

Related Publications

The Third Annual Report of the State Water Supply Commission, available in the New York State Library, gives an extensive progress report on this and other projects begun under the authorizing legislation.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s):
Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):