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Powering Ann Arbor: The Huron River Dams

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 10:42am by Debbie G.

Ann Arbor may be known as "Tree Town" but it was the Huron River and it's potential for industry and commerce that brought settlers to the area. Grace Shackman's Then & Now article The Broadway Bridge Parks provides a succinct history of dam-building on the Huron beginning with Anson Brown's in 1830. Old News has assembled articles on the dams including the tragic tale of a 1913 accident at Barton Dam and the lone survivor.

Architect Gardner S. Williams designed nine dams along the Huron River including Barton in 1912, Argo in 1913 and Geddes in 1919. The dams were on-again, off-again sources of hydroelectric power for the city. Read Shackman's article on the old Municipal Beach at Argo Park, the precursor to the great recreational facilities now available at Argo Park.

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