5 1/4 Miles West of Lowndesville, SC
Gregg Shoals, Savannah River
First Operation: May 13th, 1907
Last Operation: September, 1954
Savannah River Power Company: 1906-March 1912
Georgia Power Company: March 1912-1954
Leased to the Anderson Water, Light & Power Company: 1913-
Leased by the Southern Public Utilities Company:
Leased by the Duke Power Company: -June 1954
Beginning in 1904, three considerable shoals on the Savannah River, Trotter's, Gregg, and Cherokee Shoals, were proposed sites of hydroelectric dams for local cotton mills in the immediate area. The Savannah River Power Company, established in January of 1906, planned to construct a dam at Gregg Shoals. Dr. Samuel M. Orr of the Orr Cotton Mills in Anderson, SC, who had previous experience with the Portman Shoals plant, became president of the Savannah River Power Company. The installation would transmit 3,000-4,000 HP to the cities of Anderson and Greenwood with future expansions to the system through the construction of Trotter's Shoals and Cherokee Shoals. Towns in the vicinity of the Savannah River in South Carolina had not been introduced to major electrical installations until Gregg Shoals. The many cotton mills in the area were in great demand of electrical power as they had previously used water wheels and steam boilers to drive the mills. Though the plan for three plants of equal capacity and a large transmission system was sought out, the funding for the Savannah River Power Company's projects shortly fell through when the arms of the Southern Power Company's system and Georgia Railway & Power Company lines extended into the area in the early 1910s. It is seen that the goal of the Savannah River Power Company was a failed attempt at creating an enormous, ever-expanding system as that of the Southern Power Company and Georgia Railway & Power Company.
Construction began in 1906 on construction of a low-head dam under the head engineer, Jose E. Sirrine, who had previously been a director of the Lockwood, Greene & Company. Mr. Sirrine chose to use a new low-head hydroelectric design, meaning the main water channel to flow freely over the top of a low dam. The free-flowing water over the dam creates a considerably smaller reservoir behind it. The project was halted when approval of the dam was not passed by the War Department, declaring the Savannah River a navigational river and home to salmon. Several controversies came about the dams construction. A large majority of the locals wanted its completion for electricity, while others claimed farmland, salmon population, and river navigation was at risk with the dam at Gregg Shoals. The War Department contemplated the addition of a lock and fish ladder to be installed to overcome these problems but did not pass. Continuation of the completion of the dam begun in August, 1907 after the decision was made that the government did not require a lock to be installed as the power company stated the costs would have broke the project. It was declared if a lock was to be necessary at a later date that the Savannah River Power Company would have to build it.
The dam was of cement construction and a large cement slice gate structure was built at its center. Five slice gates were installed in this cement building, later becoming the most apparent feature of Gregg Shoals. Located on the South Carolina bank of the Savannah River, the powerhouse was a brick building with stone foundation and wood roof. The powerhouse contained four sets of S. Morgan Smith turbines and Westinghouse generators. The son of famous Stephen M. Smith of the S. Morgan Smith Company, C. Elmer Smith, was a contractor at Gregg Shoals and helped install the five new turbines. The S. Morgan Smith turbines were in direct connection with Westinghouse 2,300 volt, 3-phase, 60-cycle generators.
Industries & Towns Provided with Electricity (1907)
Lowndesville, SC - Town of Lowndesville.
Abbeville, SC - Town of Abbeville and the Abbeville Cotton Mill.
Greenwood, SC - Town of Greenwood and industries (to be listed).
Iva, SC (Tap) - Town of Iva and the Jackson Mills (Cotton).
Starr, SC - Town of Starr.
Gluck Mills, SC - Town of Gluck Mills and the Gluck Mills (Cotton).
Anderson, SC - Town of Anderson and industries (to be listed).
Calhoun Falls Line
Elberton Line (Georgia Railway & Power Company)