Near Avalon in Baltimore County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Powering the Patapsco Valley's Industries
Waterpower made the Patapsco Valley's industrial development possible. Mills and factories harnessed the river's waterpower by damming the river and channeling the water into a canal or "millrace." The millrace created a steady water flow that poured over a waterwheel or into a turbine. In a mill, the water whee turned a gear shaft that operated machinery.
At Avalon, waterpower was used to lift and lower a hammer that pounded pig iron into bars for nails and other implements. Waterpower also opened and closed a bellows in Dorsey's Forge. The bellows fanned air into the iron forge's fire, making it hotter.
More advanced facilities employed a millrace to provide water for a stationary steam engine.
Close proximity to the river left mills and factories exposed to seasonal floods. With the advent of electric power in the late 1800s, many companies found
Erected by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 39° 13.675′ N, 76° 43.3′ W. Marker is near Avalon, Maryland, in Baltimore County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Washington Boulevard (U.S. 1) and South Street. Marker is within the Patapsco Valley State Park - Avalon area, on the northern side of the Patapsco River, just under 1 mile from the park gate building, and about 50 feet from the parking lot on path to the Avalon Visitor Center. Entrance to PVSP is about 300 feet north of the US 1 - South Street intersection. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Halethorpe MD 21227, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Place For Progress (a few steps from this marker); Iron Builds America (a few steps from this marker); Forging Freedom and Nails (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Elkridge Landing (about 300 feet away); Drinking Water for the PublicThe C.C.C. Builds Our Park (about 400 feet away); The Baltimore County Water and Electric Company (about 500 feet away); Patapsco Valley State Park (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Avalon.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 919 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 5, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. 3. submitted on January 5, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.