Armory Canal

  • 1801-1861 – With the completion of the Armory Dam across the Potomac River, water begins flowing through the Armory Canal in May 1801. The canal furnished water to power to five water wheels that drove forging, boring, grinding, and polishing machines at the Harpers Ferry Armory. In 1850, three Boyden turbines replaced a few of the Armory’s aging wooden water wheels. The canal ceased operation when the Civil War erupted in April 1861.
  • 1890-1925 – The Harpers Ferry Paper Company refurbished the old Armory Canal to power disc barkers, wood pulp grinders, shaking screens, and wet press machines to manufacture ground wood pulp, a raw material for paper. Ten new hydraulic turbines developed 2,604 horsepower.
  • 1925-1991 – The Armory Canal conveyed water to the Potomac Power Plant, driving two GE generators that furnished electricity to the local community. The plant ceased operation in January 1991, and the Armory Canal was abandoned.