WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
COMANCHE DITCH (42WS2507)
New Harmony, Utah
LOCATIONThe Comanche Ditch originates at Comanche Spring within T 38S, Range 13W, Section 17 of land administered by the U.S. Forest Service (Dixie National Forest) at an elevation of approximately 5,790 feet. From that point, the ditch proceeds southeast to an area within T 38S, Range 13W, Section 21 to an elevation of about 5,379 feet where it drains into the Town Ditch for delivery to the Town of New Harmony. The total length of the Comanche Ditch is roughtly 2,350 meters (1.46 mile).
HISTORYConstruction of the Comanche Ditch began soon after comlpetion of the Main Canyon Ditch. Work was sponsored by the Work Projects Administration (WPA). It was completed primarily by local workers including Harold Cornelius, Leslie Prince, Joe Adder, and Clarence Engelstead. Quality was improved due to the lessons learned during construction of the Main Canyon Ditch. The foreman for the project when it started was Heber J. Walton. He supervised construction from Comanche Spring down through the canyon. Then Marion Prince replaced him supervising the rest of the work down to the Town Ditch. Regular reports had to be written and an inspector from Cedar City came up every two weeks.
The ditch was dug by hand using picks and shovels. Large rocks were occasionally blasted out of the way by drilling a hole within them and placing a stick of dynamite in the hole. The ditch width and depth were determined by specifications provided by engineers from the WPA. There were no roads along the edge of the ditch, however a road did run up the canyon as far as Archie Bell Hollow. From there, horse teams pulling large steel skids were used to haul the rocks, cement, and other supplies. Then cement was mixed by hand in large wooden boxes, hauled in wheelbarrows, and then shoveled into the ditch. Stones used along the sides of this ditch were hammered to size and then fitted together, thus no large rocks were used as they were in the construction of the Main Canyon Ditch.
In the early spring of 1952, the cement Comanche Ditch needed rebuilding. A little work here and there was no longer sufficient, and a new bottom was needed the entire length of the ditch.
REFERENCEHistoric Context and Detailed Documentation of the Main Canyon Ditch, Town Ditch, Comanche Dam (42WS4376), and Comanche Ditch (42WS2507), New Harmony, Washington County, Utah
by Dale R Gourley and Jon Baxter (Bighorn Arhaeological Consultants, LLC)
for The Town of New Harmony and St. George Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management
Report Number 05-03