Rum River Dam
Photo taken by Tammie Mild
Proposed Modifications and Upgrades
The City of Anoka is requesting $500,000 from the general fund surplus from the State of Minnesota to support multiple feasibility studies for proposed modifications and upgrades to the dam.
To learn more about this project, download the flyer from the document list or watch the Rum River Dam Modification Project promotional video. The video is 8 min and 54 sec in length.
Rum River Dam History
The two rivers, Rum and Mississippi, played an integral part in the settlement of Anoka. The first settlers came to Anoka in 1844. From the late 1840’s, industry & settlement in the area revolved around logging & timber operations. The Rum River was a major artery for supplying the region’s lumber needs. In 1853, the first dam was made of large timbers and was constructed to provide power for the saw mills, wood working plants, and cooper shops that quickly sprang up along the east bank of the Rum River.
Seasonal flooding caused the center of the dam to washout several times before 1856. The washouts were repaired with a combination of timber, rocks and earth. A second dam was built in 1856 that lasted until 1890 when it was burnt to the water line during one of the great fires that ravaged Anoka.
In 1880, W.D. Washburn built the Lincoln Flour Mill below the dam using it to produce 250 Horse Power to operate the mill. From 1880 – 1931, the dam was used for power generation by the flour mill and several other businesses along the river. This dam, the most prominent thus far, was able to produce 725 Horse Power for the mill.
In 1935, the City of Anoka became the owner of the Rum River Dam and continues to own, operate, and maintain the dam today.
Today’s dam was constructed in 1969. The dam is described as a buttress type structure and is also referred to as a low-head dam. Water level control is provided by a 20-foot wide tainter gate, spillway and flashboard system. The dam is 236-feet across. When the flashboards are in place, they create a pool above the dam making it possible for the river to be used for various types of water recreation. The flashboards are removed during the winter months to lower the recreational pool and to reduce impacts of ice out and spring flooding.