Sunday, August 26, 2012
John Savage grew up in the small village of Cooksville (“a wee bit of New England in Wisconsin”), attended school there, as well as the nearby Evansville High School. He then attended the Hillside Home School at Spring Green for two years, a private academy operated by Frank Lloyd Wright’s aunts. In 1898 his family moved to Madison and he completed his junior and senior years at Madison High School, and then studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin for the next four years, graduating in 1903. Here is Savage about 15 years old.
Posted by Cooksville Farmhouse Innkeeper at 6:53 PM
Sunday, August 19, 2012
As a boy, John Lucian Savage—who would later become known as the best dam man in the world— undoubtedly explored the four dams on the Badfish Creek and Yahara River near his hometown of Cooksville in the late 19th century. John Lucian Savage was born on December 25, 1879, a little north of Cooksville on his father’s farm in the Town of Dunkirk, Dane County, not far from those four separate, water-powered grist mills. He attended the Cooksville School as a child and later received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1903. Savage went on to design the world’s greatest dams, earning the title of the “Best Dam Man in the World.” He served as the Chief Designing Engineer at the Bureau of Reclamation in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1924 to1945, and supervised the design of about 90 dams and related structures in the U.S.A. and throughout the world. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science in 1934 from the University of Wisconsin, and he consulted with numerous countries on water resource projects after he retired from the Bureau. Savage is also credited with inventing and developing several significant construction techniques and devices used in hydraulic engineering. One of his most important innovations was to pour the massive amounts of concrete needed for those huge dams in sections that were cooled by circulating water through pipes embedded in the concrete; otherwise it would have taken about a hundred years for the heat to dissipate as the concrete cured.