Boundary Falls Dam
Boundary Falls Dam
Operator: Greenwood Water, Power & Light Company
Type: Run of the river
Boundary Falls is located on Boundary Creek, about 3 miles south of the City of Greenwood it was the site of one of the first power dams in the Boundary region. At the turn of the 20th Century, the town of Boundary Falls had a population of several hundred and a full supply of hotels, stores, a post office and school and a hydro power plant to supply the Dominion Copper Company Smelter. Today, Boundary Falls consists of a small cluster of buildings along the side of the highway.
Construction on the dam began in 1898, to provide power to the towns of Boundary Falls, Greenwood and some nearby mines.
The dam was built of concrete and wood 40 feet (12 metres) long and 60 feet (18 metres) high. It was constructed upstream from Boundary Falls and the water was carried to the powerhouse by a steel riveted pipe 1300 feet long creating a hydraulic head of 130 feet. The water flume was blasted out of the side of the cliff surrounding the Falls on the east side of the creek (with a walkway beside it for inspection purposes) and then connected to the turbines within the powerhouse.
The roar of the water coming through the flume was immense. The power plant was constructed of cement blocks with high ceilings were the office, the generator, turbine and a cot for use by the night shift.
In 1919 the power plant was being phased out as it had problems with low water levels in the winter and was eventually shut down in the summer of 1920 when water levels were too low to turn the turbines. West Kootenay Power and Light began to supply power to the City of Greenwood after that as well as the other customers this small dam had serviced for almost 20 years.
The foundations of the dam and some of the walkway infrastructure clinging to the side of the cliff are all that remain of this pioneer dam.