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Jump Back in Time Gilded Age (1878-1889)
 
Carpenter at work on Douglas Dam in Tennessee
Carpenter at work on Douglas Dam in Tennessee; dams helped hydroelectric plants get more power out of the flowing water

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The World's First Hydroelectric Power Plant Began Operation
September 30, 1882

Unlike Edison's New York plant which used steam power to drive its generators, the Appleton plant used the natural energy of the Fox River. When the plant opened, it produced enough electricity to light Rogers's home, the plant itself, and a nearby building. Hydroelectric power plants of today generate a lot more electricity. By the early 20th century, these plants produced a significant portion of the country's electric energy. The cheap electricity provided by the plants spurred industrial growth in many regions of the country. To get even more power out of the flowing water, the government started building dams.
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