This monumental assemblage of structures is the latest in a series of industrial buildings that have stood at this critical spot on the falls since the eighteenth century. Four towering adjacent smokestacks make this structure a highly dramatic monument to waterpower and provide a visual highlight of the riverfront's ongoing development. The rectangular hydroelectric plant is built of concrete and brick faced with stucco. While the strong Doric entablature and continuous paired windows give the structure a Greek Revival appearance, the interest here is not just architectural, but also hydraulic, as gushing water from the Haxall Millrace (at the eastern end of the complex) plunges some fifty feet into the rushing James below. The former Union Envelope Company Building (1901) faces the millrace and adds immeasurably to this assemblage of faded industrial buildings. The solid, four-story brick Italianate confection, with a central stair tower that projects above the roofline, is flanked by two seven-bay wings.
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Virginia Electric and Power Company Hydroelectric Plant
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