The Morning Glory Story
Flood Control: The circular structure in the lake is a unique outlet that controls Paxton Creek's flow through the City of Harrisburg. Constructed in 1908, it was named "Morning Glory" for its resemblance to the grooved, funnel-shaped flower. The iron hand crank on top of the Morning Glory is a remnant of the original control wheels used to raise and lower the water level of the lake. Clearing and development of land in the Paxton Creek Watershed have led to increased runoff over the years. To reduce the volume of water flowing toward the city, the inner cylinder was added in 2010 to restrict flow through the outlet.
How It Works: The inner cylinder that looks like a chimney has an outlet restrictor with a one square foot opening that sends a steady discharge of water into Paxton Creek. From the opening, the water flows under the road, which is the original dam, and empties into a concrete basin on the other side of the road. The water then flows under Interstate 81 and continues as Paxton Creek, eventually emptying into the Susquehanna River on the south side of Harrisburg.
High Water: When water rises above the outlet restrictor, storm water flows to a second outlet at the north end of Wildwood Park. Called the Susquehanna Spillway, this outlet discharges water directly into the Susquehanna River near the intersection of Front Street and Linglestown Road, reducing the flow of water into Paxton Creek. Occasionally, when water reaches the top of the Morning Glory's inner cylinder, it flows through the large opening at the top, releasing up to 300 cubic feet of water per second, a volume equivalent in size to a small school bus. With a little modernization, the original Morning Glory structure meets flood control needs for the City of Harrisburg.
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