Oneida Dam 1913

The Oneida Dam and Power Plant, along the Bear River in Franklin County, Idaho, taken Sept. 19, 1913. The dam was finished in 1920.

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In conjunction with Franklin County public safety agencies, PacifiCorp will be conducting a test of sirens installed at the Oneida Power House and Red Point Campground on the Bear River between Nov. 15-19, between 8 am. and 5 p.m.

The sirens were installed to provide timely warnings for anyone in these areas, or downstream, who would be in harm’s way in the event of sudden flooding.

The sirens are not intended to communicate evacuation orders to residential or other areas nearby, states a notice to landowners downstream of the Oneida Narrows Dam.

The Oneida Narrows Dam is 101 years old. Construction was commenced in 1913, and finished in 1920. The concrete portion of the dam is 387 long and 110 feet tall.

There is also a 1,100 foot long, 40-foot tall earthen dike that helps hold back the waters of the seven-mile-long Oneida Narrows Reservoir. Today, the turbines in the power plant produce 30,000 kilowatts of sustainable electricity.

According to a marker erected by PacifiCorp, which purchased the plant from Utah Power & Light, which built it, hundreds of workers once lived in a construction camp on the west bench of the Bear River. The camp contained machine shops and concrete plants as well as wood and milling facilities. Construction materials and supplies were hauled to the work site by rail or horse-drawn wagon. Most of the rail was then removed.

“Also located on the river’s west bench is the Oneida Development residential complex, a series of small bungalow cottages built in 1915 and 1930 to provide housing for the dam workers and their families.”

With the automation of many plant operations, fewer workers are required and the residential complex was abandoned. But at the time, it had decorative landscaping, a terraced and, fire hydrants, street lights, chicken coops, a barn and a school.

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