Ossipee Dam Reconstruction: An Epilogue

Effingham—July 11, 2021—A few months following the completion of the Ossipee Dam reconstruction project, a visit to the site already reveals a sense of longevity and permanence. Gone are the telltale signs of the excavators, the cranes, the concrete trucks, the Charter Construction Company crew. A sense of serenity, balance and calm resides at the dam now. As one walks through the new passageway over the slowly churning waters from a solitary open gate, a moment of peace is serenaded with the gentle release of water.

Looking across the upstream face of the new spillway, a duet of cascading waters plays over the unparalleled geometry of the structure as the Generator/Hydraulics House looks on in silence, waiting for some future maelstrom to stir it into action.

The crystal clear water of the Ossipee Lake system, patiently waiting its turn to spill over the gates, across the rock field, on its way to the Saco and ultimately to the Atlantic. The cycle continues.

From the Catwalk, a gentle and soothing flow of water is playing on our audible and visual senses reminding us of the constant flow of life.

Looking back across the Catwalk, the engineering marvel, the artistic symmetry. The idle Headhouse silently and patiently stands guard over our lake and bays, as the waters gently flow downstream.

The Hydraulic Actuator, one of two, stands guard, like a sentinel, awaiting the day when it plunges into action to protect us, both upstream and downstream, from the ravages of flooding, all the while performing the more mundane task of maintaining the planned 407.25’ lake level. 

The cascade, in stereo, harmonizing with the downstream rock field, the gates like Hercules, holding back the waters, to provide enjoyment for all who live alongside, or come to play on our waters.

The water, originating in the Sandwich Range and Ossipee Valley, slowly trickling its way through the rock field, caressing each and every stone, as it heads to the sea.  

The sluice of the old, adjacent to the cascade of the new, streaming out from under the solitary open gate, revealing the effects of our drought, but at the ready, with gearboxes to be activated, addressing the future deluged of a summer storm, spawned by climate change, or the tail of an Atlantic hurricane, driving northward as it expends it energy.

The calm of the bay, paying tribute to both the old wooden lowering gates and the modern steel drop gates, all impeding the flow, if for only a moment, providing us with their offering of the deep cool waters upon which we reflect, hydrate and recreate.

All photos by Tim Otterbach.


  1. Tony D 3 years ago July 12, 2021

    Great pics, we just visited the site.

  2. philip W canney 3 years ago July 12, 2021

    nice job with the pictures

  3. Phil Beckman 3 years ago July 13, 2021

    Thanks for the update. What a nice read to go with the excellent pictures.

  4. Bob Miressi 3 years ago July 16, 2021

    As someone who spent the 60’s and 70’s at Camp Marist often walking down to the dam, it’s a beautiful site to marvel at such an accomplishment and still be able to see the old dam.
    Thank you to all involved!

  5. Mike 2 years ago November 26, 2022

    As a property owner on Deer Cove hopefully this new dam will prevent the flooding that has caused major damage to my dwelling over the years


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