Old Don Pedro Dam

Over 200 feet below the water surface of a full Don Pedro Lake is the old Don Pedro Dam. It was submerged when the new, larger earth-fill dam construction was completed 1.5 miles downstream in 1971.

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Latitude: 37.714245 Longitude: -120.4031181 Elevation: 802 ft

About this Establishment

The old Don Pedro Dam construction was completed in 1923. Built and owned by the Turlock Irrigation District and the Modesto Irrigation District, the dam not only allowed a 1923 irrigation season's worth of water to be stored (289,000 acre feet), it powered electricity for the cities of Modesto and Turlock. At 284' tall, the arched concrete structure was the tallest dam in the world at the time. It was 177' thick at its base, 16' wide at its top, and 1,000' long across the top of the dam.

Time Period Represented

1923 - 1971

Hours Open


Visitor Fees


Seasons Open


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My dad Bud Manchester, grandpa's Art Manchester & Albert Mattice all worked at TID. My Dad. Bud was a control room operator at Broadway controls. In 5th grade at Osborn School, Turlock, CA. My Dad got permission for my 5th grade class to take a field trip to the "OLD DON PEDRO DAM". It ended up all the 5th grade classes took the field trip. Was I ever proud that my Dad did that for me. We got to walk across the "old Dam" to where we rode the trolly car down to the "powerhouse", then we walked through the tunnels to the middle on the inside of the dam. We ended up in the spill way. T.I.D. had a little store there, homes that T.I.D. employees lived in. As a kid growing up, my dad took us to the Old Dam many times and we always rode the trolly car down to the power house. And I can't forget going to the La Grange Dam and walking to the powerhouse there. The Sugars family lived in a T.I.D. house there and let us kids run all over the place.I'm truly blessed with all the T.I.D. memories at the La Grange Dam, The Old Don Pedro Dam, and I was honored to be in the Turlock High School Band my freshman year, when the New Don Pedro Dam had it great celebration. That was "1971" and I remember the band playing "I left my heart in San Francisco." Some of us band members went swimming, and drank a little to much and some T.I.D called and told my Dad, I think two of your kids are up here smashed.. T.I.D. did give my family more than anyone could know. I'm a T.I.D. BRAT and I'm proud to say I'm one. It was always a joke about T.I.D. till I die!! My Dad worked at T.I.D. for 37 years, he passed 31 years ago of cancer. And he worked at T.I.D. until he died. My 2 grandpa's retired from T.I.D.

Gracie Manchester~Olesen, 1/29/2014

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