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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lockport in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Electric Building

 
 
Electric Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 2, 2014
1. Electric Building Marker
Captions: Hydraulic raceway behind Electric Building, circa 1907 (top, left); Canal Discharge Conduit at foot of locks, October 1911 (bottom, center).
Inscription. Originally built in 1826 for visionary businessman Lyman A. Spalding, the smaller three-story stone building built on this site became the Norman & Evans Iron Foundry. After the building burned in 1840, it was rebuilt several times and enlarged to an impressive seven story “Electric Building" by Charles E. Dickinson, making it one of the tallest buildings in Lockport at the time. A hydraulic race from the Canal passed through the seventh story of this towering old stone building. The Electric Building was one of America’s most unique industrial structures, with features designed by Birdsill Holly and his friend/fellow inventor Thomas A. Edison, and was a tribute to their ingenuity. The water power derived from the hydraulic raceway on the south side of the canal at the Niagara Escarpment powered all of Lockport’s street lights (free of charge to the citizens of Lockport at the time). You are now standing on what was the sixth story of the Electric Building.

Note the huge pipe, which in a way resembles a railroad engine, projecting out into the “natural basin” of the canal. This is the canal discharge conduit. As the water level of Lock 34 is lowered, the water escaping from the lock chamber is released through the conduit. On occasion, water shoots like a geyser high into the air from this device.

Sidebar
Electric Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 2, 2014
2. Electric Building Marker
on the right

“Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
Thomas Alva Edison (1853-1934),
best remembered for inventing the incandescent electric light bulb, phonograph, and improvements to the telegraph, telephone and motion pictures, held patents on a record 1,093 inventions. That is the most U.S. patents issued to a single person.
 
Erected by New York State Canals. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
 
Location. 43° 10.249′ N, 78° 41.516′ W. Marker is in Lockport, New York, in Niagara County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Pine Street and Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lockport NY 14094, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Lockport City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Lock Construction (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Locks West (about 300 feet away); The Great American Canal (about 300 feet away); Life on the Barges
What remains of the Electric Building can be seen behind the brick building in the foreground image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 2, 2014
3. What remains of the Electric Building can be seen behind the brick building in the foreground
(about 300 feet away); Upper Locks View (about 300 feet away); Barge Tie Ups & lock view looking west (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lockport.
 
More about this marker. This marker is found on the patio behind the Old City Hall.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 8, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 8, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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