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Sewalls Falls Recreation Area in north Concord is a lovely spot along the Merrimack River that includes some big, decaying industrial buildings, old cement walls and weird piles of rock in the river. It’s all the result of the area’s history as a pre-World War I hydropower plant that went out of business in the 1960s.

For people who like technology history, there’s an extra fillip: It was one of the very first, perhaps the first, commercial applications of three-phase AC power. Take that, Edison! (The actual rank depends on your definition of a power plant and/or a generator; apparently this is a contentious issue.)

You want to learn more? Then read my story from Sunday’s Monitor: Right here.

I wrote a sidebar (here it is) about the Italian laborers who dug the power canal by hand. 50,000 cubic yards of dirt dug and removed by shovel and wheelbarrow.  Egad!

Also, I talked about the article with Features Editor Sarah Pearson for our low-budget podcast: http://granitegeek.concordmonitor.com/podcast/

 

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