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Cooke Hydroelectric Plant

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1911–1912. Au Sable River, approximately 6 miles east of MI 65 on Bissonette Rd., then 3.25 miles northeast on Cooke Dam Rd.

This was the first of six hydroelectric plants constructed on the Au Sable River by the Consumers Power Company between 1911 and 1923. Three horizontal Allis-Chalmers turbines and three General Electric generators installed here produced the power that was transmitted at the then-unprecedented level of 140,000 volts to Bay City, Saginaw, and Flint. J. B. Foote of Consumers Power Company innovated the use of tapered steel towers and cap and pin insulators, which became standard for most of the electrical industry. The dam is earth-filled with a concrete core wall, and it creates a head of forty-one feet. The powerhouse is a gable-roofed rectangular brick building. The concrete spillway contains three tainter gates that can discharge 15,800 cubic feet per second.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert



Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Cooke Hydroelectric Plant", [Oscoda, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 464-464.

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