Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Cleveland Crib


What is the Cleveland Crib? No, it’s not a big bed for all the babies in town. It’s the main intake for the Cleveland water supply, and it sits a little over three miles away from the downtown Cleveland shoreline, and 5 miles from the pumping station. The "Crib" term is from the metal cage structure, which was built on shore, then taken out to the lake location, filled with rock, and sunk to the lake bottom.

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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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Give me a break on the wonderfull sunny day in cleveland shown must have been 1 out of 66 per year we have. I think the 66 days is correct like the number of days stall that was selling sun glasses the arrivals in the airport.

TGC said...

So does someone actually live on the crib or stay there for extended periods of time?......are they paid to stay there? and if so how do you get selected? Id love to live out there by myself with no one bothering me!

All Things Cleveland said...

Nobody lives at the crib. There may be a boat that goes there every now and then to check on instruments, but other that that, the crib just sits out there...all alone!

TGC said...

Damn......that would have been a great way of life....like being ship wrecked on an island

Akron man said...

Back in the early days of the crib there was an attendant that lived on the premises. One must remember that in the past before the advent of the helicopter, snowmobiles and modern computers, it was actually a necessity for someone to live there all winter long when the lake was completely frozen over in order to monitor the functions of the pumping station itself...I imagine it must have been an awful lonely life out there in the wintertime!

MP said...

Cleveland averages 178 days of sunshine per year. At least according to a half-century of accumulated weather data from the National Weather Service.