Webber Dam


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Webber Dam

Webber Dam

With a capacity of 3,225 kilowatts, Webber Dam began generating electricity on the Grand River in 1907, with its output primarily serving the city of Grand Rapids. The Webber tail waters attract salmon, steelhead and bass. A portage and boat launch are near the dam. The dam is owned by Consumers Energy and is one of 13 hydroelectric utility maintains in Michigan. It is 32 feet high and 1,200 feet long, and is the tallest dam on the Grand River. Behind it lies a 7-mile-long, 660-acre reservoir.

Webber Dam

Webber Dam

The Commonwealth Power Company, a forerunner of the Consumers Power Company, purchased the land and rights to erect a dam here from H.R. Wager of Ionia in April 1906. The dam and generating station, named after a Portland banker who conducted some of the real estate transactions, went into service on March 12, 1907- It is an earth embankment dam with a concrete core wall, and is 28 feet high, giving the generating station an effective head of 26 feet. The 40,000 volt transmission line from Webber Dam to Lansing featured three-legged steel towers utilizing pin-type insulators. This was the first use of steel transmission towers in Michigan. The original equipment still extant includes a Leffel turbine which drives a General Electric generator rated at 2,300 KW, 7,200 volts and operates at 164 R.P.M. Additional equipment, all installed in 1949, includes two Leffel turbines driving two EMC generators rated at 1,000 KW each, 2,500 volts, and operating at 200 R.P.M. The powerhouse is a T-Shaped brick building resting on a concrete foundation, with gabled roofs. One segment is approximately 20 feet wide and 60 feet long, while the other section is 30 feet wide and 40 feet long. Proceeding from the powerhouse to the north shore of the Grand River, there is a concrete spillway, approximately 60 feet long, and five steel radial or tainter gates, each 20 feet wide, resting in a concrete framework.