Vulcan Street Plant

© Photographed November 14, 2014
Erected 1977 by American Society of Civil Engineers,
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and 
Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers
Dedicated September 15, 1977
Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin
44.257973,-88.397344

NATIONAL HISTORIC ENGINEERING LANDMARK
VULCAN STREET PLANT
Designated 1977

The Vulcan Street Plant is located on the east bank of the Fox River, at the intersection of South Vulcan Street and North Island Street, Appleton, Wisconsin 54915.

The plant began operation only twenty-six days after Thomas Edison's first steam plant began operating on Pearl Street in New York (NL 46). On September 30, 1882, an Edison "K" type dynamo produced electricity from a water-powered turbine to light three buildings (two paper mills and the H.J. Rogers home), at rate of about 12 1/2 kilowatts. It is the first Edison hydroelectric central station to serve a system of private and commercial customers in North America. The story of its development provides keen insight into the nation's first experiences with the electric light.
The following pages on the history of the Vulcan Street Plant have been taken from a Wisconsin Michigan Power Company Souvenir Booklet commemorating the 50th anniversary of the plant in 1932. Contemporary records showed that it was the world’s first hydro-electric central station, and began operating only 26 days after Thomas Edison’s first steam plant began operating on Pearl Street in New York, September 4, 1882.

Since then, records have been found which indicate that the Vulcan Street Plant may not be the world’s first hydro-electric central station, and may not be, in fact, the first hydro-electric central station in the United States. But it is the first Edison hydro-electric central station to serve a system of private and commercial customers in North America. The story of its development provides keen insight into the nation’s first experiences with the electric light.
The foregoing content used with gracious permission of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
The marker is at the top of the stairs, to the left of the entrance.



View of the Fox River from the marker location.



 The Vulcan Street Central Station is adjacent to Neenah Paper.

The marker is located at the end of this street (South Vulcan Street).

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