Historic American Engineering Record: Grand Canal and Crosscut Hydro Plant, North Side of Salt River, Tempe and Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona
Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. AZ-17 presents a written historical summary and relevant historical documentation about the construction and use of Grand Canal, which delivers water to users on the north side of the Salt River for agricultural, industrial, and municipal uses. Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. AZ-30 provides similar documentation about the construction and operation of the Crosscut Hydroelectric Plant, which sits at the head of Grand Canal and relies on canal water flow to generate power. The reports contain narrative descriptions, photographs, drawings, and maps.
Built between 1878 and 1879, the Grand Canal unified and improved the Salt River irrigation system on the north side of the river. The canal was widened during 1907 and 1909. The upper ended was extended in 1911 and 1912, re-routed in 1916, and then realigned in 1989. The canal's development, enlargement, and expansion fueled agricultural and eventual urban growth in central Phoenix and Glendale. Today, it is the oldest canal still in operation within the northside irrigation system.
The Grand Canal also serves the Crosscut Hydro Plant, a significant Salt River Project (SRP) power generation facility. The plant was the largest and most important low-head hydroelectric plant constructed on a SRP canal system. It was also the center of the SRP electrical distribution system for many years.
Built at the head of the Grand Canal, the Crosscut Hyrdro Plant was constructed between 1913 and 1914. The plant was converted to a 60-cycle facility and a de-silting basin was added in 1938. In the mid-1950's, the three 25 cycle diesel generators that were still in operation at the plant were decommissioned and removed. In 1976, the 60 cycle unit was renovated and restored to use.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- USDI Bureau of Reclamation, PXAO, Historic American Engineering Records (HAER), Salt River Project, Canals and Power Generation Facilities North of the Salt River
Cite this Record
Historic American Engineering Record: Grand Canal and Crosscut Hydro Plant, North Side of Salt River, Tempe and Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. Fred Andersen, Carol Noland. 1990 ( tDAR id: 393162) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8BV7HRR
Calendar Date: 1937 to 1938 (conversion of Crosscut Hydro Plant to 60-cycle power generation and addition of de-silting basin)
Calendar Date: 1907 to 1916 (enlargement, extension, and partial realignment of Grand Canal)
Calendar Date: 1913 to 1914 (initial construction of the Crosscut Hydro Plant)
Calendar Date: 1939 to 1976 (operation and use history of the Crosscut Hydro Plant)
Calendar Date: 1878 to 1879 (initial construction of Grand Canal)
Calendar Date: 1917 to 1989 (operation and use history of Grand Canal)
Calendar Date: 1988 to 1989 (realignment of the upper end of Grand Canal)
Calendar Date: 1915 to 1938 (operation of Crosscut Hydro Plant to deliver power to SRP customers)
min long: -112.291; min lat: 33.434 ; max long: -111.943; max lat: 33.524 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Contact(s): Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office
Sponsor(s): USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office
Prepared By(s): Salt River Project Archives
Submitted To(s): National Park Service, Western Region
Historic American Engineering Record No.(s): AZ-30; AZ-17
Redaction Note: Sensitive information has been removed from the publicly accessible digital copy of this report. The following section and/or figures have been redacted: Appendix I (Figures AZ-17-33 to AZ-17-36 and AZ-17-53 to AZ-17-70). Please contact the archaeologist at the USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office to obtain a complete digital copy of the report.
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