Transformation of the Easton Dam
Since its construction in 1830, the Easton Chain dam has been a landmark in the city of Easton. The dam has plugged the Lehigh River for 187 years. The combination of the beautiful river landscape mixed with the sound of water roaring over the dam, has attracted people for many years. Since 1830, parks, monuments, and walkways have been built surrounding the dam. These structures were built around the dam because of the beautiful encompassing landscape. The the 590-foot-long, 30-foot-high dam is seen as one of Easton’s many beauties. However, it serves almost no infrastructural purpose in todays day and age.
Easton was a major commercial center during the canal and railroad periods of the 1800s. The Lehigh Canal, located on the Lehigh River, was a major source of transportation. In order to fill the canal, a dam was built at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh river. As you can see from the image titled, On the Lehigh River at Island Park, Easton Pa, the canal ran right along side the dam. When it was built, the Easton Chain Dam was essential in the function of the Lehigh Canal. In the painting of the Easton Chain Dam from the early nineteen hundreds, you can see that there is not much built around the dam or the canal, it is primarily surrounded by forests. This is because, in the early twentieth century the dam was not seen as a tourist attraction/iconic landmark like it is today, instead, it was seen as an essential piece of infrastructure that helped provide people with transportation. With advancements in technology, the dam began to become obsolete. First, trains began taking place of canal travel, this greatly reduced use of the canal. Finally, with the production of the automobile, the canal became useless, and so did the Easton Chain Dam.
In the image titled, Easton Dam 1965, you can see how the landscape surrounding the dam changed drastically. Now, instead of the dam being surrounded by forests, the dam is surrounded by a bustling city. The canal appears to be non-existent. This picture was taken only forty-five years after the first picture, yet Easton looks like an entirely different place. With canal travel completely obsolete, the canal disappeared, but the dam remained. The Easton dam had become an icon in the city of Easton. In fact, the dam was actually rebuilt in the 1960’s despite its uselessness. People wanted the dam to remain, it may not have watered the Lehigh Canal anymore, but it still provided the city of Easton with beauty.
Today, the dam still remains as an iconic landmark, representing the history of the city of Easton. The image titled, Easton Dam and Riverside Park, gives a visual of what the landscape surrounding the dam looks like now. The picture is taken looking down the Delaware River, you can see the dam in the distance, and a stretch Riverside Park along the river. As shown, the dam is now the center of much recreational activity. In the image you can see a man fishing in the river, children playing on a playground, and people exercising on the walking trail. As you can see, the dam area attracts a lot of attention due to the beauty of the landscape. In the video titled, Easton Dam Video, you can see a very close up shot of the dam. This video shows the true beauty of the dam and the sound of the water as it goes over the dam. The dam that used to fill the canal which provided many people with transportation, now provides many people with happiness, despite its uselessness from an infrastructural point of view
By Jacob Bissell