Saint Croix Falls Hydroelectric Project

Saint Croix Falls Hydroelectric Project (HM29GY)

Location: Taylors Falls, MN 55084 Chisago County
Country: United States of America

N 45° 25.055', W 92° 39.184'

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“'Something is doing’ that may be quite important.”

So read the local paper in 1904 as engineers surveyed the Saint Croix River in search of a suitable place to build a hydroelectric project. The falls had long fueled the local lumbering and milling industries, but the Minneapolis General Electric Company saw the potential to bring electrical power to Minneapolis, forty miles to the southwest.

This stretch of the river had high traprock banks and a dramatic drop, the perfect makings for a hydroelectric project. Completed in 1907, the dam is an early example of a concrete-arch gravity dam. This type of structure combines features of gravity and arch dams. Gravity dams use their own weight to retain water, while arch dams curve to direct forces outward. Arch dams were ideally suited for areas where thick rock walls could absorb the thrust of the water. The traprock ledge likely influenced the decision to use an arch in this location.

Efficiency typically governed the design of powerhouses. Most were simple box-like buildings with few architectural details. As one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the region, and because of its location in a popular scenic area, the station here featured arched window openings. The openings were later filled, but they continue to enhance the building's appearance. The plant had the capacity to develop 25,000 horsepower, although



it only produced about 12,000 horsepower when it opened in I907. Today, it generates roughly 34,000 horsepower.

Several features were incorporated into the dam, which is about 750 feet long. A log spillway is at the western end and a fish ladder is on the east. The dam produced a head of about 56 feet. This was bolstered by a concrete dike to the west that helped raise the water level and protected Taylors Falls from flooding. The dam and dike also provided recreational benefits by pooling the water upstream. "This lake will increase immensely the attractiveness of the park region," noted one journalist. "Boat and club houses will be erected and it is expected that Taylors Falls will speedily become one of the most popular summer resorts in the west."
Details
HM NumberHM29GY
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Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 at 1:04pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 527144 N 5029398
Decimal Degrees45.41758333, -92.65306667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 25.055', W 92° 39.184'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 25' 3.3" N, 92° 39' 11.04" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)651
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1155 Chisago St, Taylors Falls MN 55084, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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