Cave Creek Dam

The Beginning

Beginning in 1867, Phoenix was a small supply outpost and trading center in the desert established primarily to service Fort McDowell, a military camp located to the northeast. During the late nineteenth century, Phoenix steadily grew, serving the agricultural needs of the mining towns in the mountains of the Arizona Territory to the east and west. The initial settlers to the area saw great potential in the remains of the prehistoric canal system that irrigated the Salt River Valley. Early boosters and investors began the reconstruction of the canal system in order to take full advantage of the agricultural potential of the area. Over the next twenty years the canals would be realigned and rebuilt to serve a growing amount of acreage in cultivation around the settlement. The Phoenix townsite, planned in a conventional square mile grid layout, was platted in 1876 and legally incorporated in 1881. By 1887, a railroad spur had been extended from Tucson north to Phoenix and, by 1889, Phoenix was designated the Territorial Capital. At the end of the turn of the century, Phoenix was a small but flourishing urban center in the middle of the Salt River Valley. The economy centered upon commercial activity which supported the various agricultural production efforts, primarily cotton and citrus, and businesses involved in the marketing and distribution of crops. Governmental functions were an important part of the town's economy as Phoenix became increasingly influential in Territorial politics. Most of the land in Phoenix at this point in time was controlled by a small number of speculators who intended to sell it for agricultural or residential purposes.

The influence of topography on the city's growth was comparatively minor. The initial townsite was located approximately one and one-half miles north of the Salt River at the northern edge of its floodplain. The land south of the townsite was under intense cultivation by the end of the nineteenth century. With the establishment of this agricultural land use to the south of the townsite, the area to the north became the focus for the townsite's development. The only major natural barrier close to the townsite was Cave Creek Wash, which ran southwesterly along what was then the western limit of the town. Any development in this area was subject to the threat of seasonal flooding of Cave Creek which was underscored by two catastrophic floods in 1906 and 1921. This flood potential was an initial factor in focusing development of the townsite to the north. The flooding problem was ultimately resolved by the construction of Cave Creek Dam in 1923, approximately twenty miles to the northeast of Phoenix. The dam became a major factor in the expansion of the city after that time, enabling development to spread to the west side. This influence physically represented by the fact that construction of the west side's historic neighborhoods, such as F.Q. Story (NR), Fairview Place and Del Norte Place, would not begin until after 1923.
Cave Creek Wash
Apache Wash
Still Really Muddy
The Sea Of Mud
This dam was built by local government organizations as well as private companies to protect the city's western districts from flooding. The Santa Fe Railway was one of the primary advocates of the dam and Eastwood received the design commission because of his previous work in designing Lake Hodges Dam for the company (and Ed Fletcher) in San Diego County.
My Bike
Cultural Resources - The Cave Buttes Recreation Area is part of the Cave Creek Dam Archaeological District, which was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The recent survey resulted in the identification of 32 sites.

Most of the 29 prehistoric sites are composed of Hohokam artifact scatters. Seven sites are prehistoric habitations that either were previously excavated and found to contain subsurface structures, or contain features or structures visible on the surface. Noteworthy sites include a rock shelter, a large midden area, agriculture networks, and an archaic artifact scatter with a diagnostic projectile point.

The three historic sites within the project area date from the early to mid 1900s and include the Cave Creek Dam, a mining camp, and mine that were inhabited and used during the early 1900s.

With appropriate planning, it is possible to minimize or completely avoid impacts to cultural resources by designing improvements to avoid the most sensitive features.
Water outlet
I wouldn't drink the water
There use to be dirt all the way across here be for the flood.
Now it's 10 feet deep and 15 feet across.
A Cross
On March 18, 2008, the District received a notice from the office of the Arizona State Mine Inspector regarding a citizen’s observation of a hazardous abandoned open mine shaft located near Cave Buttes Dam Dike #1. The Real Estate Division and O&M contacted the mine inspector to pinpoint the exact location of the open shaft on District property.
Cave Buttes Dam is a zoned earth-fill dam that impounds runoff from Cave Creek Wash and the Old Cave Creek Dam. The dam has a storage capacity of 46,600 acre-feet with a maximum height of 190 feet and a length of 2,275 feet. The drainage area is 191 square miles. Three earth-filled dikes (No. 1, 2, and 3) complement the main embankment. Controlled releases drain to the Cave Creek Wash downstream. The dam was constructed under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) sponsorship.

A substantial flood event in 1993 resulted in a significant impoundment of water behind the dam, and seepage occurred along the dam’s left abutment. To prevent deterioration of embankment material from recurring seepage, the District pursued an analysis and investigation of the issue. This investigation has indicated that permanent modification to the dam is required.

The dam is located near what would be the intersection of Happy Valley Road and 16th Street. The gage is located on the east side of the main dam structure across Cave Creek Wash. Latitude 33° 43' 15" N, Longitude 112° 02' 43" W. Located in the NW1/4 SW1/4 SW1/4 S03 T4N R3E in the Union Hills 7.5-minute quadrangle.


Projects & Structures

The top of the dam elevation is 119.3 feet gage height, or 1,679.3 feet M.S.L

Wow only $250.00
Rock Art
No Clue

Jan. 20-22 2010: A major winter storm system, the strongest in more than a decade, brings heavy precipitation to the county. Much of the region receives 1 to 3.5 inches of total rainfall, with up to 5 inches recorded by District gages in the northwestern and northern portions of the county. All the major rivers, streams and washes have significant flow rates. The District's flood control structures function as designed. Cave Buttes Dam has stormwater more than 60 feet deep in the impoundment pool behind the dam, the highest level since 1993.

History of Maricopa County Flooding

Flood Control District of Maricopa County

Cave Creek dam approximately 1/2 mile upstream regulates flows into Cave Buttes Dam. Both dams regulate natural flows on Cave Creek Wash.

Stuck Jeep been there for two weeks

The primary outlet from the dam is a 45-inch diameter concrete culvert 548 feet in length. The auxiliary spillway for the dam is located to the west of the main dam.

Cave Creek Channelization

The primary outlet is a 45-inch diameter concrete culvert. The invert of the inlet is at 0.00 feet gage height, or 1,560.0 feet M.S.L. The invert of the outlet is at –2.15 feet gage height, or 1,557.85 feet M.S.L. The culvert length is 548 feet. Flow begins through the culvert at 0.00 feet gage height.

The auxiliary spillway is located to the west of the gage and main dam. The spillway is blasted into the mountain and spills into the valley below. The bottom width of the spillway is 500 feet. The spillway crest is at 97.1 feet gage height, or 1,657.10 feet M.S.L.

Stacked sand bags for what ever comes up.

A SRP power pole looking inside
I think it came out cool looking


Cave Buttes Dam Water Inlet

Mike making his way up

Az Scorpion

A hole in the rock & looking out

Cave Creek Dam near Phoenix, Arizona
under construction, December 1922.

Biulder of the Cave Creek Dam.

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The End.


FraSiec said...

reminds me of Planet of the apes.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite places