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Shandaken in Ulster County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Shandaken Tunnel and the N.Y.C. Water Supply System

 
 
The Shandaken Tunnel and the N.Y.C. Water Supply System Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 3, 2019
1. The Shandaken Tunnel and the N.Y.C. Water Supply System Marker
Inscription.  It was dangerous work, beginning with mule, ox and steam power. 288 workers died and 8,839 were injured. Over 100 years later, the NYC reservoir system still provides water that makes life possible in the Big Apple. The Schoharie and Ashokan reservoirs are connected by the Shandaken Tunnel. Their flows join at The Portal and their combined waters go through an aqueduct that provides for 9 million people in the NY metropolitan area. The 18-mile-long Shandaken Tunnel was built in 1924. The Ashokan Reservoir and the aqueduct to NYC was built in about 10 years. Compare that to the new replacement aqueduct now under construction for more than 50 years… and is still not finished yet! Visit The Portal on Rt. 28, 1.5 miles east of this kiosk.

The Ashokan was the largest man-made reservoir in the world when it filled up with water in 1914 - amid great controversy. Olive City, Brown Station, Brodhead, Olive Branch, and Ashton disappeared forever. The villages of Shokan, West Shokan, Glenford, Hurley, and Boiceville were relocated. 32 cemeteries and 2,000 people had to pull up their roots.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list:
Marker detail: Shandaken Tunnel Map image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Shandaken Tunnel Map
The entire Town of Shandaken is in the NYC watershed. New York drinks Shandaken! The Portal is a vital link in the system, providing a good part of the west of Hudson water supply. The blue line shows the 18-mile-long tunnel from the Schoharie Reservoir to The Portal on the Esopus.
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Location. 42° 7.171′ N, 74° 23.559′ W. Marker is in Shandaken, New York, in Ulster County. Marker can be reached from New York State Route 28 just west of Ruthenbeck Road, on the right when traveling west. Marker is mounted in a roadside interpretive kiosk, beside a pull-out on the south side of Ruthenbeck Development Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Shandaken NY 12480, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Town of Shandaken Historic Sites (here, next to this marker); The History of Shandaken, Bushnellsville & Allaben (here, next to this marker); Catskill Water Supply System (approx. 1½ miles away); History of Big Indian and Oliverea (approx. 3 miles away); State Land (approx. 3.2 miles away); Chichester (approx. 4½ miles away); Belleayre Mountain Ski Center (approx. 4.6 miles away); History of Pine Hill and Highmount (approx. 4.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shandaken.
 
Also see . . .  Shandaken Tunnel (Wikipedia). The tunnel is over 18 miles in length, and carries water through Greene County and Ulster County. Water flows through the tunnel by gravity; it slopes at a rate of 4.4 feet per mile. It is 11.5 feet high, and 10.2 feet wide. There are seven shafts
Marker detail: The Portal image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: The Portal
Sometimes people see silty water entering the Esopus at The Portal and get alarmed. Silty water is bad for fish, bad for recreation, and bad for the NYC water supply. Unfortunately, glacial deposits of silt and clay are a common feature of the Catskills and wherever they are exposed by erosion, they can turn the water brown. It is a widespread problem. What can be done? Native riparian vegetation along streams can help bind the fragile soil and help prevent erosion. Go to www.AshokanStreams.org to discover how you can help keep our Catskill streams clear and beautiful.
along the tunnel, serving to aerate the water and provide an outlet for dissolved impurities to escape as gasses. (Submitted on March 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Ashokan Reservoir image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen Judson Lea
4. Marker detail: Ashokan Reservoir
The Ashokan and Schoharie Reservoirs are just 2 of 19 man-made reservoirs and 3 controlled lakes in the NYC water supply system, with a storage capacity of approximately 580 billion gallons. Today, the Ashokan reservoir is also a popular scenic hiking / biking path in addition to helping quench the thirst of more than 9 million people in the greater NY metropolitan area.
Marker detail: Reservoir & Tunnel Construction image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Reservoir & Tunnel Construction
Take a moment to think about the people who built the reservoirs and dug the 92 miles of tunnel to NYC. Local workers, immigrants and many African Americans lived in rowdy work camps for decades during construction. Notice the massive timbering needed to shore up the soft ground.
Marker detail: Excavating Soft Ground Near the Portal image. Click for full size.
6. Marker detail: Excavating Soft Ground Near the Portal
Tunnelers shovel through thick glacial clay deposits like soft cheese. Many thanks to the Empire State Railway Museum for their assistance in preserving the history of Shandaken.
The Shandaken Tunnel and the N.Y.C. Water Supply System Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 3, 2019
7. The Shandaken Tunnel and the N.Y.C. Water Supply System Marker
(New York Route 28 in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 433 times since then and 200 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on March 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Oct. 7, 2022