Sunday, April 12, 2009


This is a followup to my posting of a few days ago on the early beaver dam that gave the community we now call Berne its original name of Beaverdam or Beaver Dam.

I have figured out how to make links to Google maps showing the location of the beaver dam. This link is to a satellite view of the junction of the Switzkill flowing north into the Foxenkill.,+berne,+ny&sll=42.623586,-74.151492&sspn=0.007121,0.015879&ie=UTF8&ll=42.619513,-74.162886&spn=0.003371,0.007939&t=h&z=17

The view shows the Switzkill at the bottom flowing north into the west flowing Foxenkill. To the west of the junction is a small side stream also entering the Foxenkill from the south. At the southern end is a small round pond. The dam would have been where the small streamlet flows into the pond. It would have been easy for the beavers to dam. As the water rose they would have had to widen the dam and make it higher until it flooded a number of acres. Over the years the area behind the dam silted in and became marshy, which is why the 1787 map indicates a swamp rather than a body of water.

Perhaps the wood rotted away at the bottom of the dam, or maybe the settlers killed off enough beavers that the ones remaining could no longer maintain the dam. For whatever reason, the dam gave way in a rush and scooped out a basin at its foot. The silted in area above the old dam remains marshy to this day. In the 200 or more years since the dam burst the pond basin has largely filled in.

The topography map shows how level the land is allowing the a large shallow beaver dam with a wide, low beaver dam. Of course the silting in above the dam only made the land more level.

Note: The dam was near the end of the small hook shaped low spot on south side of Fox Creek. Google has mislabeled the creeks. The one from the south which is unlabeled is the Switzkill. The label which says Switz Kill is Fox Creek / Foxenkill.