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Power Plant and Dam No. 4
""Power Plant and Dam No. 4 on the Potomac.jpg
Power Plant and Dam No. 4, September 1980
""Power Plant and Dam No. 4 is located in West Virginia
Power Plant and Dam No. 4
""Power Plant and Dam No. 4 is located in the US
Power Plant and Dam No. 4
Location On the Potomac River north of County Route 5 at Scrabble, near "Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Coordinates 39°29′42″N 77°49′34″W / 39.49500°N 77.82611°W / 39.49500; -77.82611"Coordinates: 39°29′42″N 77°49′34″W / 39.49500°N 77.82611°W / 39.49500; -77.82611
Area 6 acres (2.4 ha)
Built 1910
"MPS Berkeley County MRA
NRHP reference #


Added to NRHP December 10, 1980

Power Plant and Dam No. 4 is a historic "hydroelectric power generation station on the "Potomac River, located near "Shepherdstown on the county line between "Berkeley and "Jefferson County, West Virginia. The power plant is a tall one-story, limestone building on a high stone foundation. It is five bays long and has a gable roof. Dam 4 uses horizontal shaft turbines connected by rope drives to horizontal shaft generators. This plant is probably the last commercially operated rope-driven hydroelectric plant in the United States.[2] The building is built into a hillside, so the main floor is the top floor. The power plant was originally built by the Martinsburg Electric Company.[3]

It was listed on the "National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[1]

In 2013, the power plant was sold by "FirstEnergy to Harbor Hydro Holdings LLC.[4]


Building the Dam[edit]

A view of Big Slackwater, made by Dam No. 4. Towpath of the C & O Canal continues on the right

The dam was originally built for the "Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. In June 7, 1832, the contract was awarded to Joseph Hollman, and the work was completed in June 1835, at a cost of $50.803.15[5] To avoid construction costs, the canal entered the slackwater above the dam, and continued in the slackwater for about 3 miles. This area was dubbed "Big Slackwater" by the canallers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". "National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs On-line:Dam No. 4 Hydroelectric Plant, Potomac River, Martinsburg, Berkeley County, WV". 
  3. ^ Don C. Wood (n.d.). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Power Plant and Dam No. 4" (PDF). State of West Virginia, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  4. ^ McVey, John (2013-11-02). "FirstEnergy hydroelectric stations sold". "The Journal. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  5. ^ Unrau, p. 242

External links[edit]

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