JoannaRiesman  Feb.06.2024

Actuator before restoration

A little more than a year after the Friends of the OCA celebrated the building of the Croton Arch of Triumph in Dobbs Ferry, there’s a new piece of history there to look at. An original actuator from the New Croton Dam has been saved from the scrapheap, refurbished and permanently installed outside the Keeper’s House on Walnut Street.

Friends’ Board Members Aram Aslanian-Persico and Bob Kornfeld with Tom Minozzi and assistants at installation

This bit of historic preservation took many hands (and many years). The Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct (FOCA), including Board Members Bob Kornfeld and Aram Aslanian-Persico, Parks and Trails New York, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Protection successfully rescued one of three sluicegate actuators that were scheduled to be scrapped at the New Croton Dam. Tom Tarnowsky, a FOCA board member, saw the actuators in 2014 and approached the DEP to request that FOCA obtain custody of one of them. State Parks agreed to move one actuator to their Peebles Island Resource Center and the restoration process commenced. Parks and Trails New York provided funding for its installation. After the actuator’s components were derusted and refurbished, State Parks and FOCA placed the actuator on a granite base outside the Keeper’s House.

Actuators were machinery used to raise or lower sluice gates in order to control the flow of water through the Dam. Each actuator weighed approximately 1000 pounds and the iron casting stood three feet high and two feet in diameter and provided a housing for gears and a rod connector. Two opposing hand cranks turned bevel gears which drove a threaded rod. The 80-foot long rod was connected to the sluice gate below. The original hand cranks were also recovered and are in the Keeper’s House.

The Enhancements to the Exterior of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Park Keeper’s House project was supported with generous funding from the NYS Park and Trail Partnership Grants and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. Park and Trail Partnership Grants are administered by Parks & Trails New York, in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.”

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