In 1915, the Aluminum Company of America purchased an unfinished aluminum smelting complex in central North Carolina from a failing French firm. Two years later, the company had completed the plant and begun to produce aluminum. Power for the operation was supplied by a hydroelectric station the new owners built at a location on the nearby Yadkin River known as The Narrows. The impoundment was first referred to as the Narrows Reservoir, locally known as Badin Lake, after the company town established by the French investors. Because of the prevalence of unique French architecture, Badin, N.C., is today listed on the National Historic Register.
The Narrows Dam and hydroelectric station was the second built by the Aluminum Company of America. The Aluminum Company of America assumed the popular name Alcoa as its corporate name in 1929.
Production at Badin Works increased steadily as demand for aluminum grew. To meet the growing power needs of the operation, the company added a second dam on the Yadkin River in 1919 at a natural drop in the river known as The Falls.
The Falls dam and 204-acre impoundment were followed by the construction of the High Rock hydroelectric station in 1927. The 15,000-acre reservoir was the largest on the Yadkin at the time, and is the most upstream of all the hydroelectric complexes on the Yadkin - Pee Dee River system.
The last of Alcoa’s four hydroelectric stations built to serve the Badin Works plant was constructed in 1962. It is known as the Tuckertown Development. The 2,500-acre reservoir feeds what is called a “run of the river” hydroelectric complex, a low dam with little room for water storage capacity in the reservoir.
The four hydroelectric developments serving the Badin Works plant were operated independently of Alcoa’s other hydroelectric projects and energy-related activities until they recently were consolidated under the umbrella of Alcoa Power Generating Inc. Alcoa Power Generating currently manages generation and transmission of power within two divisions: Long Sault, in Upstate New York; and Yadkin, in Badin, N.C.