Comprised of 11 hydroelectric turbines, the plant is capable of producing 7 MW of environmentally friendly energy. This picture is taken from the north side of the plant on the south side of the Kaw (Kansas) River.
The Bowersock Mills & Power Company is the only operating hydroelectric plant in Kansas. We welcome the public to visit and tour the plant. Visiting Bowersock is a great way to learn about Kansas history and demystify the production of electricity. Learning more about this over 140 year old project can help you understand electricity and the history of its production – but perhaps more importantly, it can help you think about the future of energy – something we all need to consider.
Bowersock’s Obermeyer System: A part of the flow control system of the Bowersock Dam. The baffles can be raised or lowered to control the amount of water that flows over the dam and is diverted to the power plant.In business since 1874, Bowersock currently provides the City of Lawrence with much needed river flow control for the public water intakes. Additionally, the water that passes through the plant produces up to 2.35 Megawatts of renewable non-polluting electrical power – enough to power nearly 1800 homes! Bowersock is proud to be certified as a Low Impact Hydropower Facility. Achieving Low-Impact status is difficult, and as of Spring 2015, there were only 118 hydroelectric power plants in the nation that had achieved this certification. The public can support Bowersock’s green energy production by purchasing renewable energy. The links to the left will give you an overview of our plant and tell you more about hydroelectric power.
- During the past 130+ years, the mill has ground grain into flour, produced the first ready-make gingerbread cake mix, hosted a radio station, been a paper mill, made barbed wire, and produced power – both electrical and mechanical.
- Before electrical power was widely available, leather belts were connected to the waterwheels at Bowersock and ran either on tall poles or through tunnels to their respective businesses. The famous Eldridge Hotel on 7th and Massachusetts is said to retain its generators in the basement, where the belts used to be attached.
- The Springhill Suites, Abe & Jakes, and City Hall are all built in or on top of former Bowersock properties. As the focus of the mill’s business changed, the extra space was leased or sold outright, and new businesses emerged.