Edward Platts and Ralph Bayfield collection on the Evansburg dam
Held at: St. James' Community History Center [Contact Us]3768 Germantown Pike, Collegeville, PA , 19426, (610)489-7564
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the St. James' Community History Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
In the 1960s, the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters began planning a 86 foot dam south of Ridge Pike in the Skippack Valley area of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The proposed dam, known as "Project 70," would have resulted in a 6-mile long lake with 22.7 miles of shore line. The main proponent of the dam was Dr. Maurice Goddard, then Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters.
Various protestors mobilized in opposition to the Project 70, including the Montgomery County Commissioners, a state Senator and Representative, and a group called "Citizens to Save Skippack Valley." They argued that many families would be affected and some historical homes would be lost--the Evansburg Area was placed on the National Register of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in January, 1971. Scientists from several universities testified that the dammed-up water would have an adverse ecological effect, and that the 8.1 billion gallon lake would eventually contain mostly silt as well as provide a tremendous breeding ground for mosquitoes. The most thorough and widely accepted study was done by Ian McHarg, an internationally known ecologist and planner, with a $90,000 contract authorized by the Montgomery County Commissioners. The year-long study was announced in June 1970 when the study first was revealed.
In spite of all the scientific facts, the objections of county and local officials, and the citizens, the high dam was approved in Harrisburg. 3300 acres of land in the townships of Lower Providence, Skippack, Worcester, Lower Salford, and Towamencin were condemned. The dam was never built, however, mainly due to under-estimating the cost of land acquisition and failure to include the cost to replace the historical Germantown Pike bridge and the one on Ridge Pike over Skippack Creek,
Two rectors of St. James' Episcopal Church in Lower Providence Township were very active in "Citizens to Save the Skippack Valley": Reverend Edward Platts, whose involvement began in 1960, and the Reverend Ralph Bayfield, who was active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Reverend Edward Platts served as vicar of St. James' Episcopal Church from 1941 to 1953 and as rector from 1953 to 1968. Reverend Ralph Bayfield succeeded him as rector.
Document found in collection, prepared for May 18, 1986.
The collection of these materials was begun by Rev. Edward Platts in 1960, and continued by Rev. Ralph Bayfield. Both were rectors at St. James' Episcopal Church in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. This collection contains five scrapbooks of clippings and correspondence (1960-1975), about one-half dozen state reports on the proposed project, historic resources survey of the Perkiomen region, research on dams, and a map of Evansburg state park.
Rev. Edward Platts and Rev. Ralph Bayfield were rectors at St. James' Episcopal Church.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact St. James' Community History Center directly for more information.
- Citizens to Save Skippack Valley.
- Evansburg State Park (Pa.).
- St. James' Episcopal Church (Lower Providence Township, Pa.).
- St. James' Community History Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact St. James' Community History Center for information about accessing this collection.