The Origins of Ladshaw Day:
It turns out the Green River was nearly taken away from us......way back when.
Above is a tiny piece of one of the two large scale blueprints produced by George Ladshaw and his brother on December 12th, 1906. The creek in the bottom right of the blueprint is the micro-sized Johnson Branch, which joins the Green River immediately below the first drop below Frankenstein. Upstream to the left is one of the FOUR dams proposed by the Ladshaw brothers. Each of the four dams were to have accompanying penstock piping (the "trunk line") going downstream to individual power houses, with roads, power-lines, and other infrastructure. Two dams were recommended for the Upper Green and two for the Narrows, as described in the three page Ladshaw proposal. I'm still working on a scale for this, but the dam on the blueprint is a ways below Big Hungry but above Bride of Frankenstein; and I believe they have some curvature off' a bit, perhaps too.
The Upper Green and the Narrows as we know them today would have ceased to exist had the Ladshaw brothers' plan been enacted. Somehow we wound up with just the one dam that we have --- creating Lake Summit and piping down to Tuxedo Hydro, built around 1921. Although they were hired to make the engineering study and proposal (and were paid $4200 for it), no amount of searching or contacting historical societies has turned up any reasons or information about why the Ladshaw plan was not accepted, and I have all but given up that part of my quest.
Regardless, it all adds up to December 12th being Ladshaw Day. A day to raise our glasses to this mythical George Ladshaw and celebrate our dumb luck which became fine fortune --- because it is only but for an unknown whim by the powers-that-be over 100 years ago that we have our precious Green River to frolic upon today. In 2010 I wrote an excited little piece about this then newly discovered national holiday, much of which is being folded in to this page, but here it is again for now.
Arguably, mid-December is a tricky time to have another holiday. It's just a month-plus after the Green Race, hot on the heels of Thanksgiving, and tucked in there as people are putting up Festivus poles, having the Airing of Grievances, saying Happy Hanukkah, and whatever else one does during Saturnalia and Christmas proper. Nonetheless, whether spending the day by themselves, huddled in small groups for fellowship, or at elaborate and costumed dance parties, Green boaters the world over make time each December 12th to hold up their pints and speak aloud: "To Ladshaw".
More Green River maps and stuff are found here: Page of Maps. Go to the American Whitewater Green Narrows page for additional information about the Green.
Reproduction of the blueprint above was done with the kindness, permission, and help of Helen Wykle, staff librarian in Special Collections at UNCA's Ramsey Library in Asheville. When I looked at all the Ladshaw materials in 2009, Helen scanned some small sections for me so I could have a few digital images -- although we weren't able to capture a good impression of the whole operation in any way. Looking at the two large blueprints laid out on a table is most impressive, and I highly recommend it. The map numbers you want are 143 and 156 from this page if you go.
|Author:||Ladshaw and Ladshaw||Location:||@Green 2. Green Narrows, NC|
|Subject:||Dams on the Green||Rapid:||Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein|
|AW Photo ID:||882903||AW Reach ID:||
2. Green Narrows IV-V+
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