Mills and Water Power of Oswego
The Oswego River forming the northern outlet to the remarkable Lakes in the great basin of Central New York, whose waters flow into Lake Ontario at the City of Oswego, possesses manufacturing advantages but little understood by the public. In connection however, with those other advantages, which are rapidly making Oswego the most important commercial point on the Lakes, the vast water power of the Oswego river is fast being developed.
The Oswego Canal connecting with the Erie Canal at Syracuse, is mainly formed by the slack water navigation of the Oswego river, by the erection of dams, in many places, at short intervals, affording the most extensive and available water power for manufacturing purposes in the world. In the distance of twelve miles from its outlet in the Oswego harbor, the river has a fall of 110 feet, affording a water power, of which, not one tenth part is yet occupied.
Of this fall, thirty-four feet are within the limits of the city, and the Elevators on the Harbor, the immense Starch Factory, a Cotton Factory, and most of the Oswego Flouring Mills with one hundred run of stones and the extreme capacity of making 10,000 bbls. of flour per day, are located below the first or lower dam, from which is drawn the water power that moves the vast amount of machinery attached.
The Mills in this locality forming the heart to the business of the City, can ordinarily and easily manufacture a million barrels of flour in the season of navigation, the wheat being elevated from vessels, and the flour delivered into vessels and canal boats with the greatest facility, and without the labor and expense attending ordinary transhipments.
In addition to the water power of the City referred to, is the second, or what is called the high dam, situated upon the south bounds of the city, about one mile above the first or lower State dam, forming a water power with a head of sixteen feet, equal in extent to that offered by the latter dam. The water power of the high dam is being improved by William Lewis, Esq., who owns land upon the west bank of the river to the extent of 150 acres within the limits of the city, and extending on the river some distance above and 2,500 feet below the dam. At the west end of the dam, Mr. Lewis has erected the "Pearl Mills," with five run of stones, which have been in successful operation for two or three years.
He has built a lock at the end of the dam and commenced a canal, so that loaded boats pass under his mill, from which the wheat is elevated, and into which flour is loaded with a facility unsurpassed by any of the Oswego mills. The canal is being extended so as to render available for million purposes the whole distance of 2,500 feet, affording sufficient room and water power for nineteen of the largest class mills. The effect of the improvement already made by Mr. Lewis, is to be seen in the numerous residences springing up in the immediate neighborhood, on the line of the river road, and now forming the southern suburb of our growing city. The location is commanding and delightful, the property and improvements of Mr. Lewis desirable, and destined to be among the most valuable and productive in the city.