Five Facts You Didn’t Know About the Lake Zumbro Dam
It's been providing power-- as well as a lovely lake-- here in southeast Minnesota for over a century now. But how much do you know about the Lake Zumbro Dam?
The Lake Zumbro Dam is an impressive engineering feat, one that's celebrating its 101st year in service this year. Thanks to the gang over at Rochester Public Utilities and Plugged In magazine, I found out more about this historic dam that's been providing power to southeast Minnesota since 1919!
I'm always amazed at the ingenuity involved and all the work it must have taken back then to plan and build an impressive structure like the Lake Zumbro Dam. I mean, think about what life was like in 1919: Everything was designed and engineered by hand-- there weren't any computer-assisted design programs or power tools around to help out. Heck, even a simple electronic calculator hadn't been invented yet. And yet, they designed and built an impressive structure that's still in use over 100 years later. Impressive!
RPU celebrated the LZD, as they say (okay, I actually don't know if they say that) on its 100th anniversary last year, and published a list of interesting things about the massive structure. So, in honor of its 101st anniversary here in 2020, here are Five Facts You Didn't Know About the Lake Zumbro Dam, courtesy of RPU:
- The Lake Zumbro Dam is 55 feet high and 900 feet long with the spillway spanning 440 feet.
- Construction began in 1917 by renowned engineer Hugh L. Cooper, but the powerhouse wasn't put into service until November 7, 1919.
- The Lake Zumbro Dam was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 for its feats in engineering.
- Approximately 600 cubic feet of water passes through both turbines each second when they are operating at 100%.
- Electrical generation averages 12,500-megawatt-hours per year; that’s enough electricity to power 1,500 homes.
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