Nov. 25, 1997: For the first time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission orders the dismantling of a working hydroelectric facility – in this case, the Edwards Dam in Augusta – over the objection of its owner.

FERC denies the Edwards Manufacturing Co.’s application for a renewal of its license to operate the dam.

The commissioners also tell the company to work with the federal Interior and Commerce departments in determining how to carry out the order, which is meant to restore unimpeded access to the lower Kennebec River and its tributaries by migrating fish.

Proponents of the decision include the state and a coalition consisting of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, American Rivers, Trout Unlimited and the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

The dam’s owners and the city of Augusta promise they will appeal the FERC decision, but the Edwards Dam is demolished in 1999.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at:

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