What Happened Next?

The Greenwoods Dam, on the west branch of the Farmington, failed in 1936. But then what? The Metropolitan District Commission, then known as the Hartford Water company, purchased the water rights along with the land once inundated by Greenwoods Pond. In doing so they also inherited the question of whether the dam ought to be replaced.

But should the dam be rebuilt? While it seems self-evident today that the dam and pond had no real use beyond recreation and that was economically minor; this was not the feeling for several decades. Greenwoods Pond had been a valuable recreation spot for New Hartford and Barkhamsted even after it was no longer a vital power source. It was, arguably, as much an emotional argument as an economic one.  The MDC had no need of another dam, especially if it was one that could not provide clean drinking water. Their’s was an economic argument.

The upshot was several decades of discussion between the towns and the MDC about what, if anything, should replace the dam. The eventual agreement was that the MDC would help fund several recreations areas to compensate for not rebuilding the dam.  Among these areas are Brown’s Corner in New Hartford and Stanclift Cove in Barkhamsted. Today, the old Greenwoods Pond lake bed is open for hunting, fishing, and passive recreation.

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