Historic Markers Across Georgia

The Dam (1882) & Powerhouses (1899)

Marker ID:  
Location: Bay Ave north of 11th St, Columbus, GA
County: Muscogee
Coordinates: N 32° 28.025    W 084° 59.762
  32.46708333    -84.99603333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The Dam (1882) & Powerhouses (1899)

The Chattahoochee thunders across the fall line, dropping 125 feet in two and one half miles and producing 99,000 horsepower of energy, the largest potential waterpower site in the South until 1900. Local entrepeneurs built four textile mills, a gristmill, and a sawmill along the river between 12th and 14th Streets in the 1840s & 1850s. Union troops burned these factories in 1865. By 1876, William Young’s Eagle & Phenix Mills (the large buildings at the dam) dominated the city’s economy and ranked as the South’s largest textile mill. Today, the Eagle & Phenix powerhouses with their original turbines (1899) and generators (1908-1920) located just upstream of the River Club are functioning hydropower “museums” and are a National Historic Landmark.

River water usually enters this turbine (1899) in the upper powerhouse. Water enters the turbine at the vents on the side, and the weight of the water as it falls through the turbine moves propeller-like vanes connected to the shaft that rotates the generator. (Historic American Engineering Records)

View of the Columbus riverfront looking north from the Dillingham Bridge, circa 1857, by an unknown artist.

Eagle and Phenix Mills No. 1 & No. 2, circa 1872

Eagle and Phenix Mills, 1943, before air conditioning

Electrical generators (1907 & 1914) in the upper powerhouse.

Pictures of this marker can be view on HMDB.org