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Niagara Mills: 1906

Niagara Mills: 1906

Niagara Falls, New York, circa 1906. "Mills along the gorge." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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DC vs AC

This power plant was originally built to generate DC power for the vast amount of industry surrounding the falls around the turn of the 20th century. The water fell through the large ducts into the generator house and then egressed to the lower river. I believe these plants were later converted to generate AC current once the Adams Generation plant upstream was opened around 1895. The spearhead behind this change was none other than the great Nikola Tesla, of whom a statue has been erected outside the visitor center at Niagara Falls State Park.

Schoellkopf Power Station

The large structure at the base of the gorge on the right is Schoellkopf Station No. 2, completed in 1898.

Structure on the left is Schoellkopf Station 3, begun in 1904 and completed in 1914. This is the one that famously collapsed in 1956.

So I think the date is correct.

More here on the history of hydraulic power at Niagara Falls.

Lots of Power!

I would have loved to see pictures of the construction of these mills and the mining of the spill ways.

Any chance that there are pictures of the "working" parts of the interior of the mills?

I wonder how they would have handled cold winters and the ice formations on the discharge pipes.

Cool picture!

Tore them all out

I believe in order to make the Falls much more scenic for tourists both Canada and the US side decided to remove all the unsightly mills and plants that lined the banks near where the big falls are at now.

The Niagara Story

The picture prompted me to research the Niagara Gorge. I have seen the gorge absent the mills, and wanted to know how it was restored.

From the information here, the Shorpy depiction of the mills may be older than noted. I have been unable to find information on when the mills were removed, but from the park web site that effort would have started in 1885. It is remarkable to see the mills and to comprehend the effort needed to erase them. The effort is also mentioned in the book "The Day the Falls Stood Still" by Cathy Marie Buchanan. If you scroll down here, you will find her comment that 150 mills and buildings were torn down.

[As far as the structures shown here, I think your timeline may be off. Below, a photo of the same mills circa 1900-1906. The Upper Steel Arch Bridge shown in the photo opened in 1898. - Dave]

Fascinating photo

It would be interesting to see the view of this location today. (I'm guessing it's a lot prettier now!) So water was channeled through the various pipes to power water wheels or turbines below?

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