The water pouring over Dam #4 upstream from Taylors Landing is truly powerful. The roar of the water fills the air and even sends a vibration through the ground.
The seven dams on the Potomac River were originally built to divert water into the canal. Dam #4 provided water for 22 miles of the canal, from Milepost 84.6 downstream to Milepost 62.3, just above Harpers Ferry. The water was regulated at the guard lock at Dam #4 to maintain a consistent level of water traveling at two miles per hour down the canal prism.
For the past hundred years, Dam #4 has also been capturing the water's power at a facility on the West Virginia side of the river. This hydro-electric gravity dam, built in 1913 and modified in 1994, is 20 feet tall and approximately 800 feet across. It uses a drive belt to transfer power from the river to the turbines. They, in turn, provide electric power to people in Washington County. True water power!
Photo by: PATC GPS Rangers