June 8, 2010 - tidal power in history: Winnegance to Passamaquoddy

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I was fortunate to use wind power yesterday afternoon: I went sailing with a colleague on his Hunter 41. While on my way to the dock in Falmouth, I stopped by the site of a historic tide mill:
From Energy Policy Update
This isn't the best photo, but beyond the picnic table, you can see a stone pier extending across the mouth of Mill Creek. It seems information on the history of this mill site is limited, but it is suggested that it milled grain, and then lumber. The Town of Falmouth maintains a short but nice trail here, although parking is very limited.

In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Federal Writers' Project, a program under the WPA designed to put writers to work while promoting economic development through tourism and industry. The project published 48 state guides to America (plus Alaska, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.) known as the American Guide Series. Each state in this series compiled its own detailed histories and descriptions of every city and town, along with narratives of interesting automobile tours.

Yesterday, I looked at the history of tidal power development at Winnegance, near Bath and Phippsburg, Maine. The 1937 Maine Writers' Project Guide describes the one remaining tide mill at Winnegance:

At 3 m. is the junction with a dirt road. Left on this road to a Tide Mill, 0.4 m., which until 1935 was used for cutting lumber. This old structure is a primitive forerunner of the mills and factories planned as part of the Passamquoddy Power Project.

So we can see that by 1937, policymakers including the federal government were reconsidering Maine's tidal power resources. Winnegance's tide mills were just on their way out, but the Passamaquoddy Power Project was just on the eastern horizon. Tomorrow I'll look at the 500 MW PPP in more depth.

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