Mountain Center in Riverside County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Historic Lake Hemet Dam
Construction on Lake Hemet Dam began in 1891 and was completed four years later on October of 1895. It stood at 122.5 feet and was the largest solid masonry dam in the world. A title it held for sixteen years.
Building of the dam itself was not the only engineering feat of its builders. Prior to building the dam a road from Hemet to Garner Valley had to be built so supplies and equipment could be taken to the damsite. In some spots the steep winding road had grades up to 18 percent. The reservoir area had to be cleared of trees and one million board feet of lumber from those trees was used for the construction of buildings, forms for construction, flumes and scaffolding. Much of the dam was comprised of granite stones weighing between 5 and 15 tons each and were quarried from the surrounding bluffs. The thousands of stones used were secured by Portland Cement imported from Belgium.
Reservoir capacity was increased in 1923 when the Lake Hemet Water Company increased the height of the dam by 12.5 feet, raising the dame to its present 135 feet.
Erected 2005 by Platrix Chapter
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1895.
Location. 33° 40.198′ N, 116° 40.485′ W. Marker is in Mountain Center, California, in Riverside County. Marker is on Pines to Palms Highway (California Route 74), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 56661 Pines to Palms Highway, Mountain Center CA 92561, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kenworthy (approx. 0.8 miles away); Speed-of-Light Experiment (approx. 7.4 miles away); Hamilton School, Anza (approx. 8 miles away); Juan Diego Flats (approx. 9 miles away); The Mountain Rocks (approx. 10.1 miles away); The Wilderness Before You (approx. 10.1 miles away); The Accidental Sea (approx. 10.1 miles away); Wilderness Preservation (approx. 10.1 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 9, 2012, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 1,029 times since then and 114 times this year. Last updated on November 3, 2014, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 9, 2012, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. 3, 4. submitted on October 18, 2015, by Lou Gonzales of Mountain Center, Californis. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.