Located on the Huron River in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and attached to Peninsular Park, the Peninsular Paper Dam was originally constructed in 1867. It once generated power and mechanical energy for the Peninsular Paper Mill.
The mill, the hydroelectric generators, and all the supporting infrastructure have long been removed. Multiple private and public entities have found that rebuilding the dam and nearby infrastructure to support modern hydropower generation is not a realistic option, since the revenue generated wouldn’t cover the costs to maintain the dam.
Now owned by the City of Ypsilanti, the dam no longer serves any practical function. It is a high hazard dam, meaning that failure of the dam would likely result in severe property damage and potential loss of life.
The dam does not meet current state safety standards and the City of Ypsilanti is legally required to fix or remove it.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) considers removing Pen Dam a priority for improving river health, fish habitat, and recreation. MDNR first recommended removal of Pen Dam in 1995.