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Alexander Generating Station Albums

  • CA ON00419 AGS
  • Collection
  • 1926-1931

The collection consists of six photograph albums containing over 1800 black and white photographs and more than 20 panoramas that document the construction of the Alexander Falls hydroelectric dam on the Nipigon River north of present-day Thunder Bay. Alexander Falls and the larger Cameron Falls generating station farther up the Nipigon River provided power for growing industrial activities in the twin cities of Port Arthur and Fort William. The dam was built between 1926 and 1931. In the first year construction of the railway line, works yards and coffer dam was begun. 1927 and 1928 saw work on the diversion channel, rockfill for the main dam and building of the sluiceway. Construction of the powerhouse took place in 1929-1930, including concrete work under difficulty winter conditions where heated concrete forms were required. In 1930 installation of the generators began, with the first one coming on line in October. The third and final generator was switched over in March 1931. When completed Alexander Falls had a capacity of 54,000 hp (approx. 40 MW) and was connected to Port Arthur and Fort William by a 113 km (70 mile) transmission line. The photographs in the first five albums are arranged in chronological order, giving a clear sequential indication of the progress of the work. Photographs from these albums have mostly been annotated with an informative title and date. The photographs in the sixth album seem to show equipment and may have been used as an inventory for insurance purposes.

Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario