Hydroelectric Beginnings

May 5

Lake Jefferson has delighted residents and visitors for decades as aplace of recreation and natural beauty. Most people don’t know,however, that the lake and its dam were originally constructed in the1920s with the intent of producing hydroelectricity. The dam wasdesigned in 1922 by Joseph B. Rider of New York City for the ClarkeWater and Power Company but was only partially completed. In 1927, thecompany Lake Jefferson Inc. took over construction, and the project wasredesigned by Nial Sherwood of Liberty, NY. The dam was completed, butthe original hydroelectric project was abandoned in favor of generationusing coal, at the site. Guests at the Lake Jefferson Hotel became themain users of the lake. Then, 57 years later, Malcolm Brown, a formerphilosophy professor-turned-sustainable energy activist, revisited thelake’s potential for producing green electricity.


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