The plant began operation only twenty-six days after Thomas Edison's first steam plant began operating on Pearl Street in New York (NL 46). On September 30, 1882, an Edison "K" type dynamo produced electricity from a water-powered turbine to light three buildings (two paper mills and the H.J. Rogers home), at rate of about 12 1/2 kilowatts. It is the first Edison hydroelectric central station to serve a system of private and commercial customers in North America. The story of its development provides keen insight into the nation's first experiences with the electric light.
The Portland Head Light was the first lighthouse to be constructed in Maine and the first one completed and put into service by the Federal government under the Lighthouse Act of 1789, which moved to place all lighthouses under federal control. While work had begun on the lighthouse in 1787 by the State of Massachusetts which, at that time, had jurisdiction over Maine, it was completed by the Federal government. When this lighthouse was being built, Portland was the sixth largest port in the country, the closest port to Europe and had significant trade with the Caribbean.
"I propose this evening to speak to you on a new kind of radiation or light emission from atoms and molecules." With these prophetic words, Professor C. V. Raman of Calcutta University began his lecture to the South Indian Science Association in Bangalore on March 16, 1928. Raman proceeded to describe a discovery that resulted from a deceptively simple experiment. Conducted far from the great centers of scientific research in the Western world, the results would capture the attention of scientists around the world and bring many accolades, including the Nobel Prize, to their discoverer.