Birders of the Dead Creek WMA commonly go to the northernmost dam on
Dead Creek. The location is sometimes called "Stone Bridge Dam" and
sometimes "Stone Dam". I've been asked on a number of occasions by
birders which it is. There are even two eBird hotspots named for the
location, one for each name.
I believe "Stone Bridge Dam" is the more appropriate name.
The dam is accessed via West Road from the east, which extends from
Route 22A to the dam at the road's west end. In the early years of
Panton that road continued straight westward across Dead Creek to Jersey
Street as a through road and was called South Road. It was one of only
two east-west through roads in the town. The road had a bridge made of
stone (the renown Panton Stone) crossing the waters of the stream known
as Dead Creek. The part of the road west of Dead Creek is currently
used as a farm road and and a service vehicle access to the dam and
still appears on some maps as "South Road".
The stone bridge deteriorated through time, perhaps aided at the end of
its life by the 1927 flood, and was closed in 1929. My understanding is
that the local name for the bridge and its remnants, "Stone Bridge,"
persisted through succeeding generations.
The dam was built sometime in the 1960s along with the other dams of the
Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area. Because it was built at the site
of the Stone Bridge, the dam became known as the "Stone Bridge Dam" to
distinguish it from the other dams.
More than once I've been asked by birders why the dam is called the
"Stone Dam" when it shows no obvious stone construction. I believe that
through time, and without the historical knowledge, "Stone Bridge Dam"
became known as "Stone Dam" in the birding community.
Thought some of you might be interested ............
From Addison County on a frosty moonlit morn,