Waubeka area residents have been successful in at least postponing demolition (technically breaching) of their dam on the Milwaukee River. The dam is adjacent to the Waubeka Feed Mill and access to the dam would require crossing mill property, which the owner will not permit. The Department of Natural Resources is likely to pursue the issue.
The original dam, built of wood and stone, was erected in the 1850s upstream from the location of the present dam. The existing dam was built in about 1925. It is 10 feet tall and 270 feet long. It has caused the creation of a 20 acre artificial lake upstream. A ramp provides access to the lake for boats.
The state’s plan is to drain the lake by cutting a notch 80 feet wide at the top and about 40 feet wide at the bottom. They want to do that because of a concern for the safety of people who may want to fish downstream from the dam. The cost of this project would be $45,000 to $50,000. Repairs have been estimated to cost $500,000 A dispute regarding ownership has also complicated the issue.
One picture shows the width of the dam with the Waubeka Mill in the background. The other picture has part of the mill in the foreground. The mill stream flowing out from the building made it necessary to support part of the building on what look like stilts.
If the Waubeka dam is demolished, the total number demolished would increase to 3. About a year ago, 1 of 3 dams in the Milwaukee River in Grafton was demolished. Several years ago, a dam in Hamilton was demolished. Still standing are 4 dams on Cedar Creek in the City and Town of Cedarburg and 2 in the Village of Grafton in the Milwaukee River.