West Side Water Power Canal

Historical Timeline of Grand Rapids West Side Water Power Canal

1852 — State of Michigan approves Eliphalet H. Turner plan to construct dam across Grand River at the rapids for water power
1865–66 — William T. Powers purchases riparian lands along the western or right bank of the Grand River situated along the Rapids, nearly a mile in length.
1866 — A Water Power Rights Contract is agreed to between the West Side Water Power Canal Company and Grand Rapids Water Power (East) Canal Company
1866–68 — Construction of the West Side Water Power Canal beginning at the head of the rapids and heading south.
1867 — Harrison Wagon Works, “The Fort” constructed in 1856 on the west side, receives the first use of water-power.
1867–68 — The first structure completed in January 1868 for hydropower is Powers’ & Ball Lumber Mill, William H. Powers and E. Morris Ball proprietors.
1868 — January — Alfred O. Currier*, a brother-in-law of William T. Powers, exhibits a new improved turbine water-wheel in the Powers’ & Ball Lumber Mill
1868 – Sep 30 — West Side Water Power Canal is complete and water let in the full length of it.
1880 – Sat 24 Jul — First commercial use of hydroelectric power in the world begins.
1882 — Voigt & Herpolsheimer purchase Star Mill and later Crescent Mill.
1959 – Nov — West side water power canal is drained and paved over in time for Christmas shoppers.

*Alfred Osgood Currier was a founding member of Kent Lyceum of Natural History (1854), the earliest predecessor of Grand Rapids Public Museum and brother-in-law of William T. Powers.

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