Part I:
Generating Electricty

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Power Points:Timeline of Power Plant Development

1812: Augustus Porter finances a mill-race to supply water and stimulate industry. Manchester, now Niagara Falls, his settlement along the American rapids, begins to prosper.

Niagara Falls Hydraulic Company Stock, 1954

July 1, 1861: Measuring thirty-six feet wide and eight feet deep, Day's Hydraulic Canal is completed.



1875: Horace Day finishes the mill sites along the canal. Charles Gaskill establishes his flour mill. He was the only one to purchase one of Day's power sites.

May 1, 1877: Jacob Schoellkopf and his associates purchase the Hydraullic Canal.

April 23, 1878: Schoellkopf incorporates the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company.

  Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing   Company

  January 1902
  Collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

Two of the three Schoellkopf stations used water from the hydraulic canal first proposed by Augustus Porter. The third station utilized a specially constructed tunnel. Power was supplied to the electro-chemical and aluminum industries in Niagara Falls.

February 2, 1886: Thomas Evershed unveils his plan for developing power at Niagara.

June 12, 1889: The Cataract Construction Company is incorporated.

December 14, 1891: The Cataract Construction Company decides upon a central power station for generating and distributing power.

April 7, 1892: Canadian and American investors form the Canadian Niagara Power Company. The company is granted the right to build a power station in Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario and is permitted to divert water from the Niagara River to generate power.

December 20, 1892: The Evershed tunnel and the Edward Dean Adam's power house inlet canal are completed.

May 6, 1893: Alternating current is selected as the means to develop power at the Niagara Falls Power Company's Station (under construction) on the upper Niagara River.

Adams Powerhouse No.1 Wheelpit
E.D. Adams Niagara Power Vol. 2

Edward Dean Adams Station
Roy W. Nagle Collection, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

In 1893 Niagara Falls Power Company awarded Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company the contract to develop power at Adams Station. The Station first transmitted electricity to the Pittsburgh Reduction Company (now of Niagara Falls, New York) in August of 1895. The General Electric Company, successor to the Edison General Electric Company was to install the transmission lines from Niagara Falls to Buffalo. The Adams Station was decommissioned in 1961.

To those who comprehend what tremendous forces are here controlled, this silent room is a most impressive spectacle.

Francis V. Greene

  Interior of Adams Station Generating Plant
  Collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society





Plate Steel Spiral Casing for 70,000 Horse-power Niagara Turbine
E.D. Adams Niagara Power Vol. 2







Turbine for the Adams Power Plant
E.D. Adams Niagara Power Vol. 2




Niagara Falls Power Company Stock Certificate

Admission ticket for Power House  
  Collection of Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

 Completed conduit tunnel
  c. 1920
  Collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

The 6,700 foot long tunnel was horseshoe-shaped in cross section with a maximum height and width of twenty-one by eighteen feet. Guided tours were given through the completed tunnel that would carry Niagara's waters.


November 16, 1896: The Niagara Falls Power Company transmits alternating current to Buffalo. Niagara Falls arrives as a power authority.

At midnight last night the turning of a switch in the big power house at Niagara Falls completed a circuit which caused the Niagara River to flow uphill, so to speak, by returning a fraction of its resistless energy which had already swept past the gates of Buffalo, back into that city, 27 miles distant. The harness was buckled that hitches the factory wheels of uffalo to the greatest cataract on Earth.

Niagara Falls Gazette, November 16, 1896


1905: Canadian Niagara Power Company begins generating at Rankine Power Station in Queen Victoria Park, just above the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian Shore.



1918: Adam's Niagara Falls Power Company and Schoellkopf's Niagara Falls Hydraullic Power Company merge bowing to government pressure for more efficient use of the Niagara River's water provided by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1910. They retain the name Niagara Falls Power Company.

  Schoellkopf Plant/Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and   Manufacturing Company
  c. 1924
  Collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society



Schoellkopf Plant/Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company collapses into Niagara Gorge
Collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society


1956: The Schoellkopf station is destroyed in a landslide. New York State recognized a need to restore and increase generating capacity. The Robert Moses Niagara Power Project emerges as a solution.

1961: Robert Moses Power Plant begins generating. The Adams powerhouses are shut down and bulldozed into their wheelpits. The Schoellkopf stations that survived the landslide are also closed.

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