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Harnessing the Power of Water

In the early days of the twentieth century, half a dozen dams were built along the Chattahoochee River for power generation. Georgia Power Co. built a dam at Morgan Falls in 1904 for electricity to run its streetcars. Downstream near LaGrange and Columbus, several dams were built to supply electricity to west Georgia’s growing textile mill industry.

Georgia Power built eight more dams between 1914 and 1927, mostly in the north Georgia mountains to create a reliable supply of electricity for Atlanta. Then the Great Depression hit, followed by World War II, and no power-generating dams were built in Georgia for over two decades.

Following the war, however, dam construction resumed, and Caterpillar equipment was there to move the dirt. From 1948 to 1962, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built six major dams and lakes for flood control, power generation, downstream navigation, and water supply: Allatoona, Lanier, Clarks Hill, Hartwell, George, and Seminole. Georgia Power built two more dams in the 1950s, Sinclair and Oliver. Most of the dams were built near or above the fall line, which runs from Columbus to Macon to Milledgeville to Augusta. Below the fall line Georgia’s coastal plain is relatively flat and less conducive to large man-made lakes. A sampling of dam projects for which Yancey Bros. Co. customers participated follows.

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