History of Pinnacles

Building the Plant
In 1885, the municipally owned gas works of the City of Danville was inadequate to supply light to the City for another year and a committee was appointed by the President of the City Council to investigate the various means of street lighting. After a thorough investigation made by the committee, it was recommended that Danville use electricity for lighting the streets and that the City own and operate the light plant.
Accordingly the plant was built and on January 15, 1886 Danville possessed the first municipally owned and operated electric light plant in the United States. It consisted of two 30-arc electric generators, 10 miles of street lighting circuits, and 59 1,200-candle power arc lights.

Fire in 1886
The plant and all the machinery burned during a disastrous fire on September 10, 1886. The plant was rebuilt in 1886. However, to meet the growing demand for service, two 45-arc generators were installed, also 15-arc lights and four incandescent lamps were installed on the street lighting circuits and rented to the citizens.

Moving the Plant in 1893
From 1886 to 1893 no changes were made at the plant. However, on August 1, 1893, City Council contracted with the Council of North Danville (Neapolis) to move the North Danville 30 arc generator to the Danville plant and to operate it at an annual charge of $900. In 1895 a new 50-arc generator was added and the total street lights numbered 90 at that time. In 1896 North Danville was annexed to the City and the number of arc lights was increased to 119 on the streets with 15-arc lights and 50 incandescent lamps rented to citizens.

Purchasing Crews and Westbrook in 1899
In 1899, the City purchased the Crews and Westbrook Water Power Lot and installed a 200-horsepower wheel which was leased out during the day and used on the street light system at night. By 1902, the load had increased beyond the capacity of the water power plant and a steam plant of 300-horsepower was built to supplement the water power. Step by step, the plant was enlarged until the capacity of the plant 650-kilowatts in 1910. The increasing demand and the necessity for reliable service was so great that in 1911, the City voted to issue bonds for a modern steam station. Construction was started in 1912 and the plant was put in service in 1913.

Developing the Pinnacles Hydro-Electric Complex
In 1934, the demand for service exceeded the reliable capacity of the plant. In that year, the Citizen's Power Committee, a committee appointed by the City Council, made an exhaustive study to locate a suitable source of power for the City.

As a result, the Pinnacles Hydro-Electric Development was initiated. The City entered into a contract on October 15, 1935 with Charles T. Main Consulting Engineers of Boston, Massachusetts for the design of the development. Thereafter, the City entered into contracts for the construction of the power house, Townes Dam, Talbott Dam, transmission line, and other component parts of the development.

By June 5, 1938, the power plant was placed in operation and power was supplied to Danville over the transmission line. After minor adjustments the power plant was placed in commercial operation on August 10, 1938.