The Power of Niagara

The Power of Niagara (HM1ETO)

Location: Niagara Falls, NY 14303 Niagara County
Country: United States of America

N 43° 4.93', W 79° 4.271'

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Millions of people have been drawn to the falls over the years; some dreamed of harnessing the waters for power to run mills, factories, and power plants.

In 1757, Daniel Joncaire built a sawmill along the upper Niagara River to cut lumber for building ships and constructing a chapel at Fort Niagara. In the 1800s, mills and factories built along the American Rapids shoreline used an inlet canal for water power.

Augustus Porter, who ran a paper mill in the 1820s, envisioned a canal that would carry water from the river above the falls, through the village to the lower river gorge. Completed in 1857, the canal was not used until 1875, and then only on a limited basis.

Power Statons No. 1 & 2. In 1877, Jacob F. Schoellkopf purchased the canal, and in 1881, opened Schoellkopf Power Station No. 1. Schoellkopf Power Station No. 2 opened in 1896. The direct current (DC) both stations produced served local businesses.

In 1895, Powerhouse No. 1 (Dean Adams Station) opened along the river above the falls. The following year, when Nikola Tesla's alternating induction motor system was used, power was sent from Niagara Falls to Buffalo, New York, marking the world's first large-scale commercial transmission of alternating current (AC). Powerhouse No. 2 opened in 1905; the combined plants produced 80,000 kilowatts of electricity.

The Pan-American Exposition, held in Buffalo in 1901, was a huge success primarily due to the "famous city of lights," which used Tesla's alternating current system.

When Schoellkopf Power Station No. 3 was completed in 1924, it was one of the world's largest power stations. On June 7, 1956, a series of rock slides destroyed two-thirds of the station. One of its sections stayed on line until 1961, the year the Robert Moses Power Plant opened further downriver.

Robert Moses Power Plant today. The Robert Moses Power Plant, which opened in 1961, took advantage of the greater drop in elevation in the gorge; it produces an average of 13 billion kilowatts per hour. Photograph courtesy of The New York Power Authority.

Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 11:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 657007 N 4771744
Decimal Degrees43.08216667, -79.07118333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 4.93', W 79° 4.271'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 4' 55.80" N, 79° 4' 16.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 23 Goat Island Rd, Niagara Falls NY 14303, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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