The Summit Historical Society began a new summer talk and tour program this week that will run every Thursday morning through the rest of the season. The program, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Dillon Schoolhouse, will take a closer look at the Dillon Dam, reservoir, tunnel and the history of the town.
"There is a great deal of interest in doing historic tours of the lake; this is another option people can do since the boat tours fill up so quickly," Summit Historical Society administrator Linda Kelly said.
The historical talk is based on Sandra Mather's book, "Dillon, Denver, and the Dam." Mather, who hosts the weekly programs, will talk about the history then lead the group on a walking tour of new Dillon to highlight some of the buildings that were moved from old Dillon.
Dillon, both the new and old, has seen a lot of change since the turn of the century. As early as 1913, the city and county of Denver began buying water rights west of the Continental Divide. On May 13, 1923, the commissioners filed a Blue River water diversion project. Four years later, the plan included a dam over the Blue River and a 23.3-mile-long tunnel.
Denver chose the Blue River Valley for the reservoir we know today because of its location. Besides the confluence of the three streams and the constriction of the valley north of old Dillon, the site offered a huge catchment area with gravity flow through the tunnel.
With the new changes and construction, residents of old Dillon had to vacate their homes and transfer their lives to new Dillon - a place completely different from old Dillon at the time.
Old Dillon knew its place in the county: agricultural town, a watering hole for cowboys and a transportation center. New Dillon had to find its place.
Learn more about how new Dillon found its place in Summit County Thursday mornings at the Dillon Schoolhouse. It is $5 to attend and the proceeds go directly to the Summit County Historical Society. No reservations are required.
For more information, visit www.summithistorical.org or call (970) 468-2207.