Falls of the Rappahannock River

Falls of the Rappahannock River (HM1SPD)

Location: Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Country: United States of America

N 38° 19.255', W 77° 29.383'

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Inscription
The Rappahanock River tumbles out of the Virginia Piedmont and drops 25 feet over a distance of one mile. For more than two centuries, industries in this transitional zone used this natural energy. Early settlers brought their corn and wheat to water-powered grist-mills in Fredericksburg and Falmouth. As the area grew and prospered, larger merchant mills provided even greater capacity.

In 1854-55, the Fredericksburg Water Power Company constructed a stone and timber dam in this vicinity to raise the water level and generate more pressure for industrial use. In the aftermath of the Civil War, this available waterpower provided a critical resource for economic recovery. The concrete dam and hydroelectric power plant (built 1909-10) provided electrical power to the region until a nuclear power plant came on line on the North Anna River. Removing these dams restored the Rappahanock River to a free-flowing waterway along its entire length.

(captions)
The crib dam altered a navigation canal to a raceway that subsequently powered several local mills and industries. It remained in use until 1910, when it was inundated behind the larger Embry Dam.

This 1910 photo shows teh 1850 crib dam as it looked during construction of the concrete Embry Dam.

A flood in 1889 collapsed the far end of the



crib dam and the rushing water caused considerable erosion. The gouged out riverbank remains evident today.

The power company incorporated a stone canal lock into the dam abutment, which allowed for continued navigation. It was used intermittently into the twentieth century.
Details
HM NumberHM1SPD
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Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, June 20th, 2016 at 9:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 282349 N 4244355
Decimal Degrees38.32091667, -77.48971667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 19.255', W 77° 29.383'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 19' 15.3" N, 77° 29' 22.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Embrey Dam Trail, Fredericksburg VA 22401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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