New Croton Reservoir

The New Croton Reservoir is a testament to both nature’s beauty and human engineering. Stretching over 2,182 acres, this reservoir is the final touchpoint in the NYC DEP Croton Watershed, culminating its journey before blending with the Hudson River.

The history of the reservoir is intertwined with New York City’s growth. The Old Croton Dam, finished in 1842, was America’s first large masonry dam, paving the way for many others in the east. Yet, as NYC burgeoned, so did its water needs. This led to the construction of the New Croton Dam or the Cornell Dam, named after the land’s previous owner, A.B. Cornell. Completed in 1907, this dam towers at over 200 feet and is responsible for the reservoir’s impressive capacity of 34 billion gallons.

Anglers flock to the reservoir, attracted by its rich fish species such as the Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, and Black Crappie. Notably, the reservoir boasts impressive sizes: bass can weigh up to 7 pounds and crappies can tip the scales at 3 pounds.

Adjacent to the reservoir is the Croton Gorge Park, a 97-acre expanse that offers breathtaking views of the Croton Dam and its commanding spillway. This park is not just for anglers; it’s a haven for hikers, picnickers, and winter sports enthusiasts. With direct trail access to the Old Croton Aqueduct, history, and nature enthusiasts have a lot to explore.

New Croton Dam

Croton Reservoir


The Croton Dam and its associated aqueduct were constructed to address the pollution of local freshwater sources in Manhattan and the rise in disease, particularly epidemics of yellow fever and cholera. Completed in 1842, the original Croton Dam was the first significant masonry dam in the United States. To enhance the yield of the Croton watershed, a larger dam was constructed three miles downstream of the original dam between 1892 and 1906. The New Croton Dam, which created a 19-mile reservoir, was the tallest dam in the world at the time of its completion.

In addition to the dam itself, the construction project included a steel arch structure over the spillway and another over the Croton River. The spillway bridge was initially constructed by the Baltimore Bridge Company but was replaced in 1975 with a simpler arch design built of Corten steel due to deterioration resulting from exposure to roadway salt and spillway spray. Seismic capacity, deck-bearing details, and anchorage at the arch bases were among the design and structural issues that compounded the bridge’s deterioration, leading to its emergency closure in 2003.

To address the bridge’s condition, an accelerated replacement project was initiated in August, with the new Croton Dam Spillway Bridge completed in 2005 at a cost of $4.6 million. While the new design mimics the original 1905 bridge, it incorporates modern materials and design standards. The Croton River is spanned by a simple steel arch bridge below the dam, which was constructed by John Kenny Jr. to facilitate entry for a private road and now serves as the entrance to the Croton Gorge Park.

The construction of the Croton Dam and the associated aqueduct was a crucial undertaking that helped address pollution and disease in Manhattan. The subsequent construction of the New Croton Dam in the early 20th century expanded the reservoir’s capacity and incorporated innovative design and structural techniques. The replacement of the Croton Dam Spillway Bridge was necessitated by the original bridge’s deterioration, and the use of modern materials and design standards enabled a successful replacement that maintains the appearance of the original bridge.

  1. Cahal, Sherman. “Croton Dam and Bridges.” Bridges and Tunnels, 21 Feb. 2023.


Official Website

Official Website

From Croton-On-Hudson, follow NY Route 129 east for 2.1 miles. Turn right into the Croton Gorge Park.


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