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Yankee lake,

sullivan county

From: The Yankee Lake Preservation Association

The lands on which the ponds were located were leased by The Delaware and Hudson Canal company from the State for a period of ninety-nine years. The Company provided a $100,000 bond to insure the State against any damages that might result from the giving-way of the dams or any other cause. The Company survived the financial debacle of 1837 and with several enlargements in its coal-carrying capacity, went on through the Civil War. The rise of the railroads led to the demise of the Canal in 1898.

Maurice Wurts played a leading role in the supervision of the Irish workers who built the dam at Yankee Pond. The following is from a letter penned by John Wurts, Esquire, President of the D & H Canal Company, on 6 January 1847:

"The Reservoir at Yankee Pond has been completed in a substantial manner to sustain a head of 24 feet on it. After completing the dam and embankment of this reservoir, it was found that the swells occasioned by high winds cut it away, so as to endanger the dam and it was deemed prudent to face the whole embankment with stone, which has been completed and the dam is now considered safe and permanent. This has increased the cost of completing the reservoir beyond my estimate."

In another letter of John Wurts, dated January 1849, mention was made of a dam built at Wolf Pond one year after the Yankee Reservoir was completed.

The Wurts family name was enshrined in the name of the Village of Wurtsboro in 1828 – after the village had previously been called Mamakating Hollow and then Rome.

Read the entire history here.

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