Nantahala Power and Light's Dillsboro Dam

Now this was a pleasant surprise. On the first afternoon of our Nantahala P&L quest, we had set off to see the Porter's Bend Dam, AKA Franklin Dam, which was right there in Franklin. We missed the road we were looking for, and before we knew it we were in Dillsboro (its only 20 miles or so from Franklin). We had planned to go by there to see the "site" of the dam... according to a report we had read, this dam was demolished in 2005. Apparently, after the report was published, someone changed their mind! Best we can tell, Duke has offered to give up this dam, but a lot of locals want to keep it. We got most of our information from the final FERC license application, dated 2003, but other information mentioned the destruction of the dam, and the fact that apparently the power house was damaged in a 2004 flood (remnants of hurricanes Frances and Ivan, which wreaked havoc in the area) and was not repaired. So the plant is evidently out of production, but the dam is obviously still present!

The plant was built by a local businessman, C J Harris, in 1913 to supply power to his factory. Later he formed the Dillsboro and Sylva Electric Company and added a few commercial customers. NP&L purchased the plant in 1957, and rehabilitated it, placing it back in service in 1958. The plant was licensed by the FERC (#2602) in 1980.
The dam is concrete, about 310 feet long and 12 feet high. There is a 2 gate controlled spillway, and the center 197 feet of the dam is an uncontrolled spillway. The powerhouse has two turbine/generator assemblies, one rated at 219 kVa and one at 62.5 kVa, both at 0.8 power factor. Crunch the numbers, and the capacity comes out as 225 Kilowatts, not quite a quarter of a Megawatt. The "transformer/switchyard" is on a power pole adjacent to the powerhouse. Hydraulic capacity is given as 284 cfs. The reservoir covers 15 acres at full pond (1972 feet MSL). The drainage area is 290 square miles, and average inflow is 779 cfs.

Since the future of this facility is uncertain, if you want to see it... better do it soon! Personally, I think the powerhouse would be a perfect place for an NP&L Museum, if anyone is listening...