- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

DE BEQUE, Colo. (AP) - Many people pass by and marvel at its size. At 14 feet high and 546 feet long, the Grand River Diversion Dam is one of the biggest roller dams in the world, and it just turned 100 years old.

“You know you see it with those orange towers and maybe a lot of people don’t know the significance of the dam,” said Palisade Historical District’s Charlene Weidner.

“I feel like this is a great opportunity to educate people and let them know it’s an important dam.”

The six 70-foot rollers move up and down depending on the amount of water to be let through. The water is siphoned off into the Highline Canal, sending water to 33,000 acres of farms, fields, and wineries.

“We know we live in a high desert it would just be too hot to live here, because it also waters trees, so we really wouldn’t exist without it, said Weidner.

Water first turned into the canal in 1915, and a caretaker has watched after the dam day and night ever since, KKCO-TV reported (http://tinyurl.com/pztrbb5).

“I love it,” said current caretaker Alfonzo Gallegos. “The sound of the waterfall, the water sloshing up against the wall here, it is a great place to be.”

Gary Hines has a special relationship with the roller dam - his grandfather was the dam’s caretaker for 33 years.

“You walk up on the catwalk above the rollers and it still gives you that massive same impression that I had 55 years ago,” said Hines. “It’s incredibly special. I was about ten years old when my grandfather unexpectedly passed away and we kind of lost our passport to this magical land.”

A unique German design, it is one of four roller dams in the country. It is too fragile and hard to access for public tours.

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Information from: KKCO-TV, http://www.nbc11news.com

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