Thursday, July 3, 2014

Marseilles North Millrace

The red line in the satellite picture shows the location of the north mill raceway in Marseilles, IL. The only remaining structure that used water from the headrace is the red roofed hydro power plant at the left end. The plant quit operating in 1989. I circled a yellow pile of dirt that was added later. Evidently someone wanted to make sure the plant will not easily use water again. A web search displays a lot of links concerning lawsuits. I can't force myself to read about lawsuits.


The blue line indicates what is left of the tailrace. In 1911, when the hydro plant was planned, we see that the big building did not exist and that the tailrace went almost to Main Street.

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I count 10 plants in addition to the hydro plant between the north headrace and either the tailrace or the river. They are all gone now.

The following pictures are in the order that the water would flow through the millrace.

When the Army Corps of Engineers built the Marseille Dam, they also built a new control structure at the entrance of the millrace.

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The sand and gravel in the foreground is the top of a 4-foot dike that the Corps added on top of the old levee after the 2013 flood. The building in the background is the abandoned 8-story Nabisco carton factory. We will see more of that building as we follow the millrace through town.

I got closeups of the control gates because they are the first time I have seen counterweights used with Tainter gates.


Note that the lever that holds the gate extends past the pivot point...


...to hold up counter weights on the back side.


Our next access point is the Main Street bridge over the headrace.
Upstream and...

...downstream we see the old Nabisco plant that I had mentioned.


The trees in the millrace are blocking a view of a bridge across the millrace that provided rail access to the building. This is the last of about 4 bridges that used to cross the millrace between here and the hydro plant.

Below I cut the top of the building off because I was making sure I got all of the wall along the headrace to verify that this 1921 building did not use any water power. The end of the tailrace was filled in to make room for this building.


Buildings and trees block views of the raceway until we get to the hydro plant.


From the above view, if I turn to my right I look upstream.



I stepped back from the forebay to get an angle that would let me see past the tree overgrowth on the right because I noticed some water control gate ruins.


Zooming in shows they are in pretty bad shape. But this is an indication that the building that sat between here and...
 

...the river used water power.


The forerunner for Certain-Teed was General Roofing Manufacturing which was founded in 1904. In the 1800s, plants that used water power would have shafts going across the top of the manufacturing floor with leather belts connecting a shaft to each of the machines. Did plants in the early 1900s still use water power? Some of them must because the hydro power plant was using "surplus" water flow.

http://www.marseillesil.net/PhotoHistory.html


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