Having missed the Spring snow melt for more years than I would like to acknowledge, a quick and unplanned trip brought me to witness this grandeur at Victoria Dam created by the west branch of Ontonagon River: a bone chilling mist so heavy that it felt like rain, and a flow so roaring that it could deafen one's hearing.
Flipping through history books...
In 1904, Charles Taylor, a Canadian inventor, visited the site in order to build a hydraulic air compressor that would harness the water in the west branch of Ontonagon River. Once operational, the Taylor Air Compressor was able provided the Victoria Mine -- a series of copper mines in operation since 1849 -- with an inexpensive power source which uniquely equipped the mine with the ability to extract the low grade ore. The cheap power provided by the Taylor Air Compressor in fact allowed the Victoria Mine to remain open longer than most of its competitors.
After the mine closed in 1921 following the end of World War I (and severe drop in the price of copper), the Copper District Power Company purchased the lands with the intent of building a hydro-electric plant on the Ontonagon River. The new dam, built between 1929-31, created a five mile long artificial lake called the Victoria Flowage
Operated by the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) since 1947, the company now owns three dams upstream of the Victoria Dam in order to harness enough water to supply power for the area. Taylor Hydraulic Air Compressor still lays submerged and is no longer in use.
In a 10 mile neighborhood ...
- O Kun De Kun Falls
- Hay Stack