The Ashokan Reservoir is a visual treat for anyone using the perimeter road, dividing weir, or the new Ashokan Rail Trail. The background of Catskill Mountain peaks, which frame 12 square miles of water, create a vista that makes the visitor wonder how this all came to be. The author wanted to bring the story of how this massive dam, miles of dikes, and water controls come together into a system that provides New York City residents 500 million gallons of water daily. Accolades go to the Board of Water Supply engineers who, in the 1900s, designed the project and to the contractors and their workers who, more than 100 years ago and mostly by hand, completed an undertaking nearly the magnitude of the Panama Canal. Construction started on September 30, 1907. In six years, on September 9, 1913, water storage began. The dam and dikes, followed by roads and bridges, completed the project in December 1917. Completion was ahead of schedule and under budget!