In 1898 one of Forsyth County’s greatest industrialist, Henry Elias Fries, completed the hydroelectric plant. The power plant transmitted electricity 13 ¼ miles to Salem to power textile & fertilizer mills, as well as railway and street lighting. This long distance transmission was a feat at the time.
This plant was important to industry in the South, the ability to transmit electricity over long distances, as opposed to manufacturing plants being required to be alongside rivers, kept fledgling textiles and furniture makers in the South rather than returning to the North.
Idols generated power until 1998, until there was a fire.
Now the historic plant is in danger of destruction. See the article link to the Winston-Salem Journal. It discusses recent efforts to save the structure and part of our region’s history.