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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Appleton in Outagamie County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

First Edison Hydroelectric System in America

 
 
First Edison Hydroelectric System in America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 4, 2009
1. First Edison Hydroelectric System in America Marker
Inscription.  On this site November 25, 1882 the Appleton Edison Light Co. began operating the first Edison Hydroelectric System in America.

Plaque donated to Outagamie County Historical Society by the family of Harold F. Parish November, 1979
 
Erected 1979 by the family of Harold F. Parish.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Daughters of the American Revolution series list.
 
Location. 44° 15.47′ N, 88° 23.836′ W. Marker is in Appleton, Wisconsin, in Outagamie County. Marker can be reached from South Lawe Street, on the right when traveling south. The plaque is located on South Vulcan Street, north of East South Island Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 530 South Vulcan Street, Appleton WI 54915, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Vulcan Street Plant Replica (here, next to this marker); 9-11 Memorial (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Merging of Milwaukee-Downer and Lawrence Colleges
First Edison Hydroelectric System in America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 4, 2009
2. First Edison Hydroelectric System in America Marker
(approx. ¼ mile away); Lawrence University (approx. ¼ mile away); First Commercially Successful Electric Street Railway (approx. 0.4 miles away); Henry James and Cremora Rogers Residence (approx. 0.9 miles away); Number 736 (approx. one mile away); Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Appleton.
 
More about this marker. This plaque says November 25th but all other literature, and the missing Wisconsin Historical Society official historical marker, say that September 30th was the day the hydro-electric plant first began running.
 
Regarding First Edison Hydroelectric System in America. After a fire destroyed the central station, a replica was constructed at the current Lawe Street location preserving all of the building's original features. This building is currently located near its original location at the south end of the Lawe Street Bridge.
There are plans to relocate the replica to a new home in Vulcan Heritage Park, which is situated right across from the original Vulcan Plant.
 
Also see . . .
1. World's First Hydroelectric Central Station. Original marker at this location. (Submitted on July 16, 2009.) 

2. Vulcan Street Power Plant. “On September 30, 1882, an Edison ‘K’ type dynamo produced electricity from a water-powered turbine to light
Replica of the Vulcan Street Hydro-Electric Plant image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 4, 2009
3. Replica of the Vulcan Street Hydro-Electric Plant
three buildings (two paper mills and the H.J. Rogers home), at rate of about 12½ kilowatts. It is the first Edison hydroelectric central station to serve a system of private and commercial customers in North America. The story of its development provides keen insight into the nation’s first experiences with the electric light.” (Submitted on July 16, 2009.) 
 
Additional keywords. Vulcan Street Plant; Mechanical Engineering Landmark #29
 
Plaques on Building image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 4, 2009
4. Plaques on Building
Top plaque: National Historic Engineering Landmark, Vulcan Street Plant designated 1977 by American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers.

Bottom plaque: Near this site the World’s First Hydro-Electric Central Station was erected in 1882. Marked by Appleton Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution June 14, 1955.
Water Power Turbine, 1911–1961 image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 4, 2009
5. Water Power Turbine, 1911–1961
This 20-inch right-hand Sampson type turbine was built by the James Leffel & Com. at Springfield, Ohio, in 1911 and was installed that year in the Appleton Hay Tool Company plant at what is now 930 East John Street. The plant was taken over by the Advance Car Mover Co. and later the Badger Plug Co. during which time the turbine gave continuous service until April 1961. The shaft and turbine running—shown here in yellow—rotated on lignumvitae wood bearings. Developed 18.3 horsepower at 200 RPM under 8 feet of head and 24.0 cubic feet of water flow per second.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2009, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,050 times since then and 41 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week November 17, 2019. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 16, 2009, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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Aug. 14, 2020