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By Joe Block 

Construction of Prairie du Sac Dam in pictures

Work fell to "a strong back and shovel"


May 31, 2018

Photo contributed

Construction of the powerhouse. All photographs from the F.S. Eberhart Collection, 1911-15.

Nearly 6 billion gallons of water pour over the Prairie du Sac dam every day at 8,000 cubic feet per second. Anchoring the 1000 foot long structure are 11,000 wooden pilings. 41 "tainter" gates control the water flowing over the spillway. The dam cost $4.5 million in 1913 dollars.

The dam is best described with superlatives. It is the largest on the Wisconsin river, and at the time of its construction in 1911, was the largest hydroelectric project of its kind in the Midwest. It continues to generate power, 104 years after its first kilowatt.

The dam was the dream of Magnus Swenson, builder...

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