Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Harnessing The River's Power
As local farms increased their harvests of corn and wheat, additional mills were built to process the agricultural bounty. In 1822, Joseph B. Ficklen extended the raceway past Dunbarís Mill and established his Bridgewater Mill. In 1887, a local company converted an existing grist mill near the Falmouth Bridge to a hydro-electric plant, but this lower canal would soon fall into disuse. In 1910, an electric company constructed a larger dam across the Rappahannock River, which increased the head pressure for a new plant that could provide electricity to the entire region.
In 1907, the Bridgewater Milling Corporation improved its raceway by constructing a concrete dam and gates where Thorton's/Dunbar's Mill had stood. This lower canal
This map dates to an 1806 court case and clearly shows the lower canal, Dunbarís Mill, and its diversion dam (which was improved in 1887 as shown below).
In 1887, this stone and timber crib dam directed a greater flow of water into the lower canal to power the Rappahannock Electric Light and Power Company, near the Falmouth Bridge.
This 1890 painting by Fredericksburg artist Annie Arnaud shows the upper canal and the stone and timber dam that converted the canal from navigational use to a raceway. Note the canal lock on the left. Image provided courtesy of the Rowe family.
Location. 38° 19.183′ N, 77° 28.511′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker is on Riverside Drive 0.1 miles west of Woodford Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Contact: An Industrial Society Confronts A Native American Culture (here, next to this marker); Historic Old Mill District (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); Amoroleck Encounters John Smith (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Veterans of Foreign Wars Eternal Flame (approx. ľ mile away); Gari Melchers Home and Studio (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bound for Freedom (approx. 0.3 miles away); A History of Floods (approx. 0.3 miles away); Caretaker Cottage (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fredericksburg.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 177 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page was last revised on March 4, 2017.