Mt. Morris Dam and Visitor’s Center – located on Visitor’s Center Road, about 2 miles off NYS Route 408, in the town of Mt. Morris.
The Mt. Morris Dam was built between 1948 and 1952 by the Buffalo District office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project was authorized by the United States Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1944 at a cost of $25 million. At 246’ high, 221’ wide at the base, and 1026’ long, the concrete dam was the largest public works project in Livingston County’s history.
Records show that the Genesee River Valley and the City of Rochester had experienced flooding since 1800. Severe floods occurred every seven years between 1865 and 1950.
In its first 50 years of operation the project has prevented damages estimated at over $1 billion. Hurricane Agnes in 1972 was a true test of the dam’s strength and endurance. At least $210 million in damages alone were prevented, primarily in the Rochester Metropolitan Area.
At that time, the inflows exceeded the storage capacity of the reservoir and it was necessary to release water through the gates of the dam, causing minor downstream flooding. These releases were made to prevent overtopping of the spillway. Had the spillway overtopped, accumulated debris in the reservoir would have passed downstream, causing log jams and additional damages.
William B. Hoyt II Visitor Center at Mount Morris Dam, opened by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1999, was built to accommodate the thousands of people who visit the dam each year. This 5,400-square foot center features a large atrium, museum, theater and public restroom facilities, and provides a relaxing, educational experience to visitors.
Walking Tours of the Mt. Morris Dam are conducted by the Visitor’s Center April 1st - October 25th, Monday through Thursday at 2:00 p.m. and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tours are limited to 30 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Come early to sign up, check out the Visitor Center and enjoy a short film about the dam. This is an experience you don’t want to miss!
For more information contact the Visitor's Center at (585) 658-4790.