Clean Currents 2023

Americana Tour at Hamilton Hydro

Host: City of Hamilton, Ohio
Maximum Capacity: 50 people

If you are a history buff, love exploring the ingenuity of hydro, or work in small hydro, this tour is for you.

This tour presents a unique opportunity to experience the current and historical importance of hydropower to the City of Hamilton, Ohio (about 45 minutes from Cincinnati – travel time incorporated into tour start and end times).

The 2-MW Hamilton Hydroelectric Facility is located on the Ford Canal which is part of the Great Miami River Waterway. The facility has been owned by the City of Hamilton since 1963 and generates enough energy to supply more than 400 local homes annually.

In 1918, Henry Ford and Son Inc. purchased the Hamilton & Rossville Hydraulic Co. for approximately $200,000. The New York Times reported Ford’s plans to “spend millions of dollars developing the water power of the United States,” including the water-powered tractor plant which Ford Motor Co. would open in Hamilton in 1920. The plant was located along the newly constructed Ford Canal and electricity was supplied to the plant by hydroelectric power generated from the canal.

Ford and Son Co. owned the hydroelectric facility on the canal until Ford’s local plant was closed and sold to Bendix Aviation Corp. in 1951. In 1963, the manufacturing plant was purchased by Ward Manufacturing co., and the adjacent hydroelectric facility was acquired by the City of Hamilton to supplement the City’s electric generation assets.

On site, tour participants will be split into four groups in order to experience four “stations” covering a wide range of topics, such as:

— The story of Hamilton Hydraulic’s canal, constructed in the 1840s
— The Henry Ford connection, covering the famed entrepreneur’s fascination with hydroelectric power and relationship to Hamilton’s hydropower history
— Native settlements and history, exploring archaeological digs and early cultures
— Current hydroelectric operations, which gives attendees a look inside the Hamilton Hydroelectric Plant – a 2-MW facility located on the Ohio River

After the tour concludes, participants will be served light refreshments and will be able to network, ask questions to subject matter experts, and, potentially, view artifacts from Hamilton’s past.

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