Reflections: History of the Whetstone Dam

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Several people have asked if I know the history of the Whetstone Dam, located at the East Main Street bridge in Cardington.

The dam was constructed 197 years ago. The first structure was a brush dike thrown across the stream in 1833 by Isaac Bunker to furnish power for a grist mill.

The present concrete dam is located at the site of the first brush dam.

Later, a wooden dam was built and faced with stone. After the old dam was washed out, Jesse Mills, father of the late J. G. Mills, with the assistance of the village, built a stone dam in 1883 with a four-foot wall.

When the dam was repaired in 1934, workers found old wooden timbers believed to have been part of the first wooden dam. Stone from the old dam is also part of the present structure. The dam is near the site of Morrow County’s first industry, the Bunker Foundry.

In 1949, a contract for the repair of the dam was awarded by the village council to Metlick and Sockman of Fredericktown on their low bid of $4,511. The project called for the pouring of 106 cubic yards of concrete, use of nearly two tons of reinforcing steel, and drilling of 375 feet of 1-inch dowel holes.

The new cap on the dam raised the water level approximately six inches higher behind the dam than before repairs were made. Cement and aggregate for the concrete was furnished by the New York Central Railroad Co. as its share of the project cost. The early dams provided water power for mills, while the use of the present dam is for fire protection and railroad water supply.

According to Danny Wood, Cardngton Village administrator, there has been no major work done on the dam since the 1949 repair.

LOOKING BACK October 17, 1929: Cardington students witnessed a parachute jump from a plane piloted by a two commercial pilots. The jump was made over the village and the plane landed near the edge of the Maxwell farm.

From the Morrow County Sentinel: October, 1929: Chauncey Terry, a sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University, was included in the cast of “Go South,” a play to be presented at the university.

Cardington village was to be marked for aviators. Village council ordered that the word “Cardington” was to be painted on the roof of the Kreis block. The sign, to be painted yellow on black, was to run north and south since most planes passing over either went north of south. The order was made following the reading of a letter by Clerk Paul Fleming from the director of aeronautics of the state of Ohio, demanding that such action be taken within 60 days.

October, 1959: Ralph Sandersom, 82, Cardington’s long time fire chief, night watchman and substitute mail carrier, died October 3 and by his request his casket was conveyed to Glendale Cemetery atop a fire engine driven by Walter Long.

October, 1969: Vickie Clinger and James Ullom, both of Cardington, announced their engagement.

October, 1989: The Cardington-Lincoln Board of Education passed a resolution encouraging the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance on a regular basis as determined by the classroom teacher or building principal.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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