National Register of Historic Places

Pathfinder Dam

Natrona County

Date Added to Register

Thursday, August 12, 1971

Smithsonian Number


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The Pathfinder Dam, is a masonry arch dam which completely blocks, from bedrock to canyon rim, the course of the North Platte River. Construction of the dam was completed in 1909. Fashioned from huge blocks of granite, quarried nearby from the same formation into which the river had trenched its canyon course, the dam stands 214 feet high, has a crest length which reaches to 432 feet, and tapers from a base 97 feet wide to a top which is no more than 11 feet in width. The building of Pathfinder Dam was a successful testing of the late nineteenth century concept of arid lands reclamation in the western United States. The reservoir basin had a shore line greater than 75 miles in extent and afforded opportunity for storage of more than one million acre feet of irrigation and industrial water to previously arid lands.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources