Removal of Kentucky dam where multiple people have drowned set to begin Tuesday

Published 6:57 am Sunday, June 6, 2021

After months of setbacks due to weather, the Elkhorn Dam has a date set to begin removal.
Beam Suntory spokesperson Sara Roston said that the company will begin removal of the dangerous dam, situated on one of Frankfort’s most-traveled waterways, on Tuesday.

Beam Suntory operates the Jim Beam Old Grand Dad plant next to the low-head dam on Elkhorn Creek. The dam was built in the early 1900s. Roston said the international spirits company will remove the dam in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Canoe and kayak advocates have said for several years that the dam is a serious safety hazard for paddlesport enthusiasts.

Multiple people have drowned at the dam, most recently in October 2018 when 35-year-old kayaker Matthew Hughes, of Lexington, got sucked into the undertow after holding onto a rope for nearly two minutes.

Roston said that the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife will capture still images and video footage when the dam is removed, and that residents and visitors should avoid the area when work is underway.