Steel dam construction was flirted with only temporarily at the turn of the century, a time which the Redridge Dam owes for its existence. By 1900 the wood crib dam that had been built on the Salmon Trout River to supply water to the nearby Atlantic Mill had proved inadequate in performing the same function to both it and the new Baltic Mill. A new larger dam was needed – and fast. This time constraint together with a lack of conventional materials nearby, the decision was made to try a different approach. The Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company would build a new steel dam at Redridge – under the direction of engineer J.F. Jackson.
Its been said before that the Redridge Dam is one of a kind, and it truly is. First, the Redridge dam joins only the Ash Fork (Arizona) and Hauser Lake (Montana) as the only three steel dams ever built on the continent. Second, since the Hauser Lake’s failure and subsequent destruction in 1908, the Redridge is now only one of 2 still standing. And third, unlike its sisters, Redridge was not a structural dam. Both of her sisters relied on the truss work to transfer the load of the impounded water directly to bedrock, and it was the bedrock itself that supported the dam and the water. Due to the lack of any solid rock at Redridge (the rock here is brittle sandstone), a large concrete foundation had to be built to play the role of the bedrock. It is this foundation that sets Redridge apart from all others.