Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Connecticut River: The Comerford Development at Fifteen Mile Falls

As seen at scenic pullover on I-91 northbound, Barnet, Vermont
The Connecticut River, starting at the International Boundary, flows 380 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. In its course the river falls 1640 feet. In 1928, the New England Power Association started a two-year project to build one of the largest hydroelectric developments in the country. The dam is located in the towns of Monroe, NH and Barnet, VT and is 275 miles above the river's mouth. When dedicated on September 30, 1930 President Herbert Hoover pressed a button at the White House to start the first of four generating units.

This marker commemorates 75 years of continual operation of this project and is dedicated to the builders, operators, and neighbors of this first Fifteen Mile Falls Development.
(continued on other side)
Vermont Division for Historic Preservation -- 2006

(continued from other side)
The dam has earth embankments, a concrete gravity spillway and intake section, steel penstocks, and powerhouse. The reservoir has a surface area of 1093 acres at elevation of 650 feet above sea level and extends seven miles upstream. The dam is 2,253 feet long with a maximum height of 170 feet. The dam can pass flows through hydraulic operated sluice gates, flash boards, and stanchion bays as well as the turbines. The discharge capacity at full pond would be 99,000 cubic feet of water per second.

The powerhouse contains four turbines, at a combined rating of 216,800 horse power and the 162,300 kilowatts is enough to power 162,300 homes. At the present time hydroelectricity accounts for five percent of New England's power needs.


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