Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Promise of Electricity
This view of the lower level of the Hydroelectric plant shows the massive pipes that channeled the river's flow to three electric generators. Water entered the plant through the flume at the back of the room and flowed through the large gate valves at each generator before leaving the hydroelectric plant, at the bottom right of the photograph.
The building in front of you is the former Sioux Falls Light & Power hydroelectric plant. More recently, it was called the Northern States Power, or NSP, building. The plant began generating electricity for Sioux Falls in 1908.
This hydroelectric plant replaced earlier power plants, which were unable to meet the city's increasing demand for electricity. In addition to providing electricity for street lights, the hydroelectric plant generated power for the city's streetcars.
Water for the plant was stored in the old Queen Bee Mill pond. The level of water in the pond was raised by building a longer, taller dam. This was necessary to provide the "head" or pressure necessary to run the hydroelectric plant's turbines.
Demand for electricity out grew the hydroelectric plant's ability to generate enough power using water. Five years after it was built, the plant was enlarged and a new source of energy - coal fired steam generators- became the main
The hydroelectric plant used the dam and headrace that were built for the Queen Bee Mill. Both the hydroelectric plant left) and the mill (right) are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Northern States Power donated the hydroelectric plant property to the city in 1974.
The surge tower served as a giant shock absorber, allowing the generators to be shut down in a moment's notice.
The flume carried water from the mill pond, through the surge tower, to the turbines.
Location. 43° 33.459′ N, 96° 43.311′ W. Marker is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on North Weber Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is located in Falls Park. Marker is in this post office area: Sioux Falls SD 57104, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monarch of the Plains (a few steps from this marker); Falls Park Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); In the Name of Progress (within shouting distance of this marker); Artisans at the Falls (within shouting distance of this marker); Legacy of Ice and Rock Hazel O'Connor (about 400 feet away); Prison Quarry (about 500 feet away); Hive of the Queen City (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sioux Falls.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 14, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 98 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 14, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.