Apple Gate

Home Supply Irrigation Dam

Publication Date: 
March, 2014

On March 3, 1895 the Home Supply Irrigation Dam was constructed on the Big Thompson River west of Loveland. It was designed in 1894 by John H. Nelson, a self-taught engineer who did not have the benefit of a college education. He always had aspirations of being an engineer and while he farmed for his father, he used the money he earned to purchase text books from Yale and Harvard. He studied while working in the fields.

The 60-foot high dam was made out of dressed sandstone blocks weighing up to 2000 pounds set in concrete mortar. The dam was made as an arch dam which was the first of its type in the West. The sandstone blocks were placed in such a manner that floodwater pressures are transferred to the solid rock walls on both sides of the canyon. It was built at a cost of $11,000. In 1986 the dam was dedicated as a Colorado Civil Engineering Historical landmark.

The dam serves as a diversion structure that is the source of water for the Home Supply Irrigation Ditch and also the City of Loveland.