Visitors coming into/leaving the City of Martinsville on U.S. Route 220 South just outside the city limits can't help but notice a dam when crossing the Smith River.
This landmark is a hydroelectric dam which provides energy needs for the City of Martinsville. The dam was constructed in the 1920s and was in operation by 1924. Prior to this dam, the site was the location of a mill dam. Very few communities built hydroelectric plants during this period - most were private.
For industrial and technology buffs, the dam is stone gravity structure, 575 ft long, 32 ft high, and has a 32 ft head. A concrete cap and steel tainter gates control the flow and distribution of water flow. An adjoining concrete and brick powerhouse contains two vertical generating units with capacity of 1300 KW.
The dam and powerhouse closed to the public.
Last Updated: 1/6/2012 2:33 PM