Site No.3: Pine Creek Dam

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In the early days the Kalamazoo River was primarily important as a means of transportation and as a source of power to drive mills.  By 1900, with the forests all logged and the advent of the railroad, the river was no longer important for transportation.  But with new technology, it became an important source of electricity from water-powered turbines.  This dam would provide some of the first generally available electricity in the county!

Pine Creek Dam Construction
Just think what it must have been like to construct the dam
using horses and brute strength, rather than modern-day
earth movers and other large equipment!

Indeed, Pine Creek’s sister dam, the Trowbridge Dam just a few miles down stream, was Michigan’s first large hydroelectric facility, designed by W. A. Foote, a pioneer in the production and transmission of electric power in Michigan.  An earth embankment dam, it originally included three wooden radial or tainter gates.  Steel tainter gates were installed in 1908.  The original installation featured four pair of Leffel turbines connected in tandem to a single shaft.

Pine Creek Dam
The newly built Pine Creek Dam as it looked in 1903.

 

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