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Location / Directions / Maps

Location:  In the village of Philmont; Town of Claverack; Columbia County; New York.

Maps: Google MapTopographicInteractive map.

GPS: Summit Dam: N 42.24643 / W 73.64793
Old Summit Knitting Mill (private property): N 42.24660 / W 73.64822

Directions: Our recommendation is to visit High Falls first.
From the High Falls Conservation Area’s parking lot, turn right onto Roxbury Rd, cross over the creek, and then make another right onto NY-217/Main St.
Head east on Main St for about a half mile and then make a right onto Summit St.
The dam will be on your left after 0.2 miles.

Use Google Maps.

Parking: There’s a small gravel pullover just north of the dam off of Summit Rd. If you can’t park there, try in front of the old mill at the corner of Summit and Lake Dr.

Weather

PHILMONT WEATHER

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Number of falls: a man-made dam at this location. Be sure to check out High Falls, which is just downstream.

Size/Types: A man-made dam from the mid 1800s that created Summit Reservoir and helped keep water flow consistent for the multiple factories and mills downstream. The dam, which is constructed of stacked slabs of limestone and topped with a more modern concrete rim, is estimated at 15 ft in height and 130 feet long. It holds back the 36-acre Summit Lake.

Best time to visit: Year-round.

Flow: Moderate. Avoid visiting in dry spells.

Waterway: Agawamuck Creek which starts in the northeast in Spencertown. A retaining dam at the top of this hill at Summit St creates Summit Lake, which then spills into this gorge. The creek then hits another dam, which is the first drop visible from the lookout here. A few miles west, at Mellenville, Agawamuck merges with Claverack Creek. From here it continues southwest through the town of Claverack and takes an abrupt turn north just after the village. It continues north to Stottville and merges into Stockport Creek at Stockport. Stockport Creek continues a few miles west and empties into the Hudson River. The Hudson flows south to New York City and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Time: A few minutes. Combine this with a visit to nearby High Falls to make it a full hour.

Seasons/Hours: Daylight hours.

Admission: Free.

Handicap Accessibility: The dam is visible from the adjacent sidewalk on Summit St, which is smoothly paved and should be no problem for a wheelchair.

Pets: Allowed, but keep them on a leash and clean up after them.

Accommodations: There are a few shops and restaurants within walking distance along Main Street in the village.

Description

Philmont’s historic Factory Hill turned the nearby High Falls into a source of power for multiple factories and mills, many of which focused on wool and a surprising amount on underwear. Appropriately named Summit Lake and Summit Dam were at the top of the hill, just above the falls and while no mills tapped the waterway at the dam, it served as a retention dam to store water through the dry season and keep the mills running.

It looks like an old dam with its layers of thin limestone stacked like bricks, and then capped with a little modern concrete, reflective of the mill industry’s endurance on the hill for 100 years. A similar dam, built around the same time by the same person, George Philip, is situated in the gorge below on the other side of Summit Street. While this dam created the reservoir, the one down in the gorge (unfortunately not visible) more directly powered the mills. One of these mills still stands today just across from the dam. The Summit Knitting Mill, now a commercial property, grew from the original George Philip mill.

Summit Lake is accessible through a small park on Lake Dr, near the intersection with Ellsworth St. There are a few benches, a small playground, and a community center. Map.

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy. It’s a roadside falls.

Markings: Summit Street.

Distance: A quick walk or drive by.

Description: You can catch a glimpse of the top of the dam from a vehicle as you drive by on Summit St, but a quick park just north of the falls and viewing it from the sidewalk will allow you to see more of it.

Map: Interactive.

Summit Dam and Lake Interactive Map

History

The history of the dam and some of the mills it powered is covered on the High Falls (Columbia County) page.

Summit Dam Media

Coming soon…

Contributor Photos & Art

At this time I have not been able to get out to this site and photograph yet. In the meantime, those with suitable photos or original works of art, who would like to be featured here, please contact me. Photos, paintings, and illustrations would be subject to quality review, and not all will be accepted. Your work can be accompanied by a link to your site/store/insta.

Who to Contact

Village of Philmont
518-672-7032
[email protected]

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