Portman Shoals 1897

By Jeffrey Kraemer; posted April 28, 2012

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In 1897, engineer William Whitner's Portman Shoals Hydroelectric Plant started producing electricity transmitted to Anderson, SC. The transmission line was 10 miles and provided electricity to the Anderson, SC, the Anderson Traction Company and the Anderson Cotton Mills. Before the Portman Shoals plant, in the 1890s, Whiner designed an expensive electric light station in Anderson. The city didn't want to spend money on the new hydroelectric technology, so Whitner constructed a small plant on the Rocky River 6 miles away, to test power transmission. When the idea worked, he worked on the Portman Shoals plant between 1895-1897.

Today the power plant is under Lake Hartwell, which flooded the area in the 1950s for a larger hydroelectric dam. Portman Shoals was the longest transmission line in the Southern US at the time. Anderson, SC is known as "The Electric City" for the electric street lights that were along main street in the late 1890s.

Insulators used on the 10 mile transmission line were two Impeirals types. [id=340211336] [id=340211642]

Postcards image from: http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=10696

The Hydroelectric Power Plants of South Carolina Collection:

High Shoals 1894 [id=332186800]

Pelzer Lower Dam 1895 [id=360186922]

Portman Shoals 1897 [you are here]

Berry Shoals 1903 [id=330110326]

Holiday Shoals 1905 [id=332438399]

Ware Shoals 1906 [id=347219612]

Saluda Dam 1907 [id=268330246]

Gaston Shoals 1908 [id=346266588]

Rocky Creek 1908 [id=429285050]

Boyd's Mill Pond 1909 [id=429197935]

Ninety-Nine Islands 1909 [id=358895213]

Fork Shoals -1910 [id=366408583]

Tumblin' Shoals 1912 [id=366398406]

Coneross 1912 [id=361466115]