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History of the Embrey Dam

1854--Wood-and-stone crib dam is completed by Fredericksburg Water Power Co. Stone lock on southern end controls water flow into city canal and allows passage for occasional canal boat.
1910--Fredericksburg Water Power Co. finishes construction of new concrete dam to generate electricity. The 770-foot-long, 22-foot-high structure, named after power-company official Alvin T. Embrey, spans the Rappahannock River about 2.4 miles upstream from Fredericksburg's downtown.

1910--Frank Gould buys Fredericksburg Water Co. and establishes Spotsylvania Power Co. Electricity is produced at a powerhouse where the canal reenters the river.

1926--Virginia Electric and Power Co. acquires power plant and dam, operates power plant until shutting it down in early 1960s.

1968--City acquires the dam from Virginia Electric and Power Co.

1980-1990--City studies various plans for new electric-generating plant at Embrey Dam. Plans go nowhere.

1998--Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries study recommends dam removal to aid passage of migrating fish. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommendation says fish passage and restoration of Rappahannock River are in public interest, opening up the project to federal funding.

1999--Water Resources Development Act authorizes $10 million for removal of dam.

2000--Corps of Engineers completes feasibility study for dam removal.

2001--Corps receives $500,000 in federal funds for planning, engineering and design to remove dam.

2002--Corps permits issued for removal project.

February 2003--Fredericksburg agrees to purchase 48 acres of land from the Silver Cos. on which to place dredged silt.

March 2003--Bids received for removal of 250,000 cubic yards of sediment behind dam.

February 2004--Dredging to be completed, demolition of 200-foot section of dam to take place. Historical survey of crib dam to begin.

December 2006--Demolition and removal of concrete from Embrey Dam and of crib dam expected to be completed.

Source: Historic Resources Along the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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