Wilson Dam & Hydroelectric Plant, Spanning Tennessee River at Wilson Dam Road (Route 133), Muscle Shoals, Colbert County, AL
Significance: In 1918, by the directive of the U.S. War Department, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction on Wilson Dam, a large hydroelectric project that was to supply power to U.S. Nitrate Plant No. 2 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. With the ending of the war in the same year, Wilson Dam lingered in an uncompleted state until government appropriations saw it through to its completion in 1926. Begun at the end of a period of intense innovation and later standardization in hydroelectric technology, Wilson Dam incorporated state-of-the-art equipment for the generation and transmission of electrical power. When taken over the by newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933, Wilson Dam became the first hydroelectric facility in that agency's power system, and as a result, it is now also the oldest. Reflecting the high level of operating efficiency reached during the formative period of hydroelectric dam-building, Wilson has retained much of its original equipment, including vintage generators, turbines and various electrical components, despite ensuing construction of more modern facilities that now comprise the extensive TVA system.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N164
Survey number: HAER AL-47
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000147