Great Standley Lake Dam, Life Dream of John Kinnear, Nears Completion


Most Remarkable Irrigation Enterprise Will Store 100,000 Acre-Feet of Water


Begun in 1906, the Project Was Completed by French Capital

    John Kinnear's dream is fulfilled. The Standley Dam, the largest of its kind in the world, is completed. Within sixty days the entire equipment of a vast irrigation enterprise that is to supply water to 10,000 acres north and east of Denver will be finished.
    This is the realization of a dream that John Kinnear, a solitary rancher who first occupied the site of the vast Standley dam near Broomfield, dreamed as far back as 1869. John Kinnear had the vision and he started the first ditch. But his means were limited and he handed over the dream and the site to men with more money and greater executive ability. Capitalists took up the dream and breathed the breath of cash into it. It prospered, it languished and once it seemed likely to fail altogether, but, thanks to the kindly rescue of French money, it is now about to come true.


    The Standley reservoir is the most remarkable irrigation enterprise in the world.The great earthwork dam that faces it rises to a height of 113 feet. When all the "trimmings" are put in upon it the total will be 140 feet. to build the reservoir 3,000,000 cubic yards of earth were excavated with the steam shovel. Two irrigation dams recently constructed in India exceed the Standley reservoir in yardage but not in height. It is actually the biggest earth dam in the world. The capacity of the reservoir is 100,000 acre feet of water.
    Since March 17, when the Kenefick-Quigley-Russell Construction company, with a $2,000,000 backing from the Franco-American bank of Paris, took up the temporarily abandoned work to finish it, record time has been made with the excavation. J. E. Hays, chief Engineer of the Denver Reservoir and Irrigation, whose enterprise it was, has had general supervsion.

     "If the excavating on the Panama canal had been done with the same speed that the reservoir was done" Mr. Hays said today, "the Panama canal would now be finished. The contract of the Kenefick company required that the entire construction be finished by October 1. Under Robert Russell, the contractor, 60,000 cubic yards of dirt were moved with the equipment of a Marion shovel with a two and a half yard dipper and two locomotives with ten cars each, in twenty-four hour days. This average was kept up for three months. I understand that the greatest amount of dirt moved in a month on the Panama canal was 30,000 cubic yards. On April 28 last we moved 244 cars of dirt, each car containing about fourteen cubic yards. This is the greatest amount of dirt ever moved in a single day. The dam is now finished. All canals, embankments and laterals will be finished in sixty days."


    The site of the Standley reservoir, originally owned by John Kinnear, came into the hands of Joseph Standley several years ago. In 1902 Standley with Thomas B. Croke and Milton Smith, organized the Farmers' Reservoir and Irrigation company, a stock company in which the farmers who bought water rights were to be stockholders. The Standley dam was planned by them, but nothing was done until 1906, when E. A. Nereshreimer of New York, representing the American Development and Irrigation company, became interested in the enterprise and succeeded in interesting J. J. White Co., construction engineers.
    A company incorporated for $12,000,000 and called the Denver Reservoir and Irrigation company was then formed and the contract for the construction was awarded to the J. J. White company. Work was started early in 1908, but it lagged, and finally J. J. White & Co withdrew. The contract was then given to the Kenefick-Quigley-Russell Construction company and work began in January, 1909. June 6 the Denver Reservoir and Irrigation went into the hands of a receiver, Arthur Day. Last fall the Franco-American bank of Paris undertook to complete the dam for $2,000,000 and a contract was awarded to the Kenefick company for that amount.


    Water for the Standley reservoir is obtained chiefly from Clear creek through Croke creek, which takes out just below Golden. This inlet is eighteen miles long and has a capacity of 900 second-feet. Water is also obtained from Coal creek and other creeks. From Standley lake the water is conveyed by canal to the Platte river at a point near riverside cemetery. From there it is conveyed by the Burlington and O'Brian canals into Barr lake and into the Henrylyn canal just south of Barr lake. From Barr lake the water is distributed by the Brighton lateral, the Speer, the Beebe, the Neres, the Platte Valley and Gilmore canals to lands east of the Platte river near Brighton, Lupton, LaSalle and Plattville. The northern end of the system is six miles from Greeley. To the lands west of the Platte the water is conveyed through the Bull canal as far west as Erie and as far north as Plattville. A subsidiary system is the Marshall lake system which obtains water from South Boulder creek near Eldorado Springs., conveys it to Marshall lake and through the Community canal to Burns Junction.
    Of the land under the Standley system 100,000 acres are now under water. During the last spring 10,000 acre-feet was taken out of that stored in the reservoir.


This is an article from 'The Daily Journal'. Guess date to be 1911, the year it was dedicated. Other articles in copy show a date of June 29.
Joseph A. Willier worked as a clerk for the Kenefick-Quigley-Russell Construction company in 1911.