As the Crib sits away from the shore and is not usually obvious, its existence and history may be unknown by many Cleveland area residents.
The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (a web site I visit often and a place where I learn something almost every day) says that:
“With the advent of piped water, traditional privies, storage cisterns, and other means for disposing of sewage rapidly became inadequate. The first sewer in Cleveland is reported to have been built for surface drainage of Euclid St. in 1856. Two years later a rudimentary sewage system consisting of open drains conveying the wastewater downhill toward the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie was begun. To gain access to fresh water beyond Lake Erie's polluted shoreline, a new water-intake crib and tunnel were built some 6,600' offshore in 1874. However, in 1881 city health officials protested that some 25 sewers, factories, oil refineries, and other industries were polluting the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, source of the city's drinking water. By that time, 125 mi. of water mains had been completed in Cleveland, and the system's capacity was about 10 million gallons per day, serving about a third of Cleveland citizens. In the 1880s the original Kentucky St. Reservoir had already become inadequate, requiring the building of the Fairmount and Kinsman reservoirs to service the growing population moving toward the heights east of downtown Cleveland.
To mitigate the growing pollution, the water system extended intakes farther and farther out into Lake Erie, and early in the 20th century finally provided treatment of the raw water. In 1890 a new 7' diameter, 9,117' long water inlet tunnel was completed. Yet another 9' diameter intake tunnel was begun in 1896, extending 26,000' into the lake, one of the longest in the world at that time; it was completed in 1904 after a considerable loss of life during its construction...The intake structure for this tunnel, which at a distance resembled a freighter, was known as the "5 Mile Crib," the distance from the actual lake intake to the Kirtland pumping station, built in 1904 at Kirtland St. (E. 49th St.).”
There is also a wind monitoring tower installed at the Crib by Green Energy Ohio, rising 125 from the Crib deck, and 165 feet from the lake surface. It studies winds over Lake Erie for the potential for wind turbine power generation. There is also a weather station with anemometer, weather vane, and temperature sensor. The Crib has a live web cam – I call it Crib Cam – pointed toward the Cleveland shore. Below is a compilation of various views from Crib Cam during a 24 hour period in January. (Usually the lake is frozen by this time, but you’ll see what looks like a lake clear of ice on the earlier part of the video, but the lake began to get a crust of ice during the overnight hours.) Crib Cam and Crib weather data can be found at the Green Energy Ohio web site, here. (Crib Cam can be interesting viewing when storms come over the lake in the summer.)
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