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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Power of the Potomac

 
 
Power of the Potomac Marker image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin
1. Power of the Potomac Marker
Inscription. The Potomac River races east past you with enough mountain-carving power to punch through the entire Blue Ridge to your right. Such energy easily powered the entire national armory from the early 1800s until 1861. Diverted by a dam upstream, river water flowed through the armory canal, dropping 22 feet over 1.5 miles. This falling water coursed through headraces (entry points) and followed underground tunnels, turning water wheels and turbines as it flowed through pipes in the armory factories. Finally the water exited the armory grounds through the tailraces (exit points) to rejoin the Potomac River.

Water flowed into the armory buildings like the Stock House (above) through a series of tunnels and pipes, turning gears and powering machinery on the factory floors.
 
Erected by Harpers Ferry National Historic Site - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 19.455′ N, 77° 43.805′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Potomac Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Found Underground (a few steps from
Power of the Potomac Marker image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 1, 2009
2. Power of the Potomac Marker
this marker); Racing West (a few steps from this marker); By the aid of these machines... (within shouting distance of this marker); My Favorite Boat (within shouting distance of this marker); Mere Machines of Labor (within shouting distance of this marker); Home of Joseph Perkins (within shouting distance of this marker); Six Acres That Changed the World (within shouting distance of this marker); A Perfect Heap of Ruins (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Railroad bridge over the Potomac River behind the marker. image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 1, 2009
3. Railroad bridge over the Potomac River behind the marker.
Power Station at the Upstream End image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 17, 2009
4. Power Station at the Upstream End
At the upstream end of the headrace stands an old power station building. In this building, turbines converted water energy into electrical energy. This structure dates to 1925.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 4, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 620 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 4, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on July 6, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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