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Sutter Creek in Amador County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Hydroelectric Power in Amador County

 
 
Hydroelectric Power in Amador County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2017
1. Hydroelectric Power in Amador County Marker
Inscription.  Impulse turbines, also known as high pressure water wheels, were first developed in the foothill gold fields of Northern California to produce rotating mechanical power. Early water wheel designs were produced by Donnelly and Knight foundries of Sutter Creek and later Pelton and Doble improved on these designs. As electricity was developed as a power source in the 1890’s, these turbines were coupled to dynamos, or generators, to produce electricity from the high-pressure water sources already in place in the region.

The first hydroelectric operation in Amador County was located in Sutter Creek at the corner of Main Street and Badger (Foundry Street) next to the creek. The Amador Railway and Electric Light Co. was formed in 1893 and began producing electricity, mainly for lighting, in 1894. The power lines were extended to Amador City and Jackson and the initial plant was expanded to meet increasing demand. During this time period and into the early 1900s, Knight Foundry was producing hydroelectric equipment for use in the western United States and worldwide.

In 1895 Blue Lakes Water Co. began planning for the first powerhouse
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on the Mokelumne River at Blue Lakes City. It began producing power in 1897, sending electricity as far as Stockton. Blue Lakes Water Co. bought the original Amador Electric Light Co. in 1898 and combined the systems.

The Standard Electric Co. was formed in 1898 under the direction of Prince Andre Poniatowaski and plans were made for the construction of the first Electra Powerhouse which would send electricity to the San Francisco Bay Area. Electra Powerhouse was completed and began operation in 1902. Standard Electric Company was purchased by the California Gas & Electric Corporation which became Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) in 1905. PG&E continues to own and operate hydroelectric facilities on the Mokelumne River today.

This early Pelton Co. turbine and generator set was donated by Nick Skuce of Columbia, Tuolumne County.
 
Erected 2016 by City of Sutter Creek and Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1893.
 
Location. 38° 23.364′ N, 120° 48.054′ W. Marker is in Sutter Creek, California, in Amador County. Marker is on Old Route 49 (Main Street) near Worley Street, on the left when traveling north. The marker and impulse turbine are located at the
Hydroelectric Power in Amador County Marker and Pelton Turbine image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2017
2. Hydroelectric Power in Amador County Marker and Pelton Turbine
parking area for Miners' Bend Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 29 Old Route 49, Sutter Creek CA 95685, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Miners' Bend Park (a few steps from this marker); Knight Scarifier – “The Scarifier that will scarify” (a few steps from this marker); Old Eureka Mine (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Old Eureka Mine (within shouting distance of this marker); To Remember the Men of Amador County Who Died in The World War (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pine Woods (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sutter Creek United Methodist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Provis Park (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sutter Creek.
 
Pelton Turbine image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2017
3. Pelton Turbine
The Pelton Marking image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2017
4. The Pelton Marking
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2017. It was originally submitted on August 1, 2017, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 593 times since then and 95 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 1, 2017, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.

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Apr. 13, 2024