Brief History of Power Plant
December 23, 1901 Special election held to bond city for $22,000 for construction of Light and Power Plant.
August 6, 1902 Contracts accepted to install water pump and intake in Paint River.
July 1, 1903 Plant construction completed. This original plant was half the size of the existing building and encompassed where the #3 Generator and the high lift pumps exist today. It is speculated that this facility contained either 1 or 2 vertical turbines which was coupled by a horizontal shaft and drove 1 or two 2 pumps by a series of belts.
August 3, 1907 Contract awarded to build addition to plant building. This addition along with the original structure make up the powerhouse as it is seen today. The addition encompasses that part of the building which presently contains the #1 and #2 generators.
The following information is sketchy and possibly inaccurate: In the 1907 addition, it appears that two vertical turbines were installed which drove a horizontal shaft. This shaft was coupled to the existing horizontal shaft (which had been installed in 1903 and located where the #3 generator sits today). It also appears that a pair of horizontal generators may have been installed in this new addition as well – a new 300 Kw generator and a 150 Kw dynamo. These units would have been driven by belts off the horizontal shaft in the new addition. However, it is uncertain what these generators fed or if they were ever functional. In any case it appears that by 1914 they were no longer there.
July 1914 Generator #1 and the MG set are installed – estimated $9,500. The generator bus switchgear was probably installed at this time, as well as the distribution bus switchgear. The horizontal shaft in the 1907 addition would have been removed prior to this date as well as the 325 Kw horizontal generator and the 150 Kw dynamo. The horizontal shaft would have remained intact in the original (1903) building driving the belt driven water pump(s).
June 1924 Generator #2 is installed – $13,721.62. Two more units were probably added to the generating bus switchgear at this time.
August 1925 An electrical water pump (High Lift Pump #1) was added in 1925 for $2,765.69. This replaced the existing belt driven pump(s) in the original building. It also means that the turbine(s) in the #3 and #4 bays and the existing horizontal line shaft in the original building were probably utilized for the last time. Its capacity was 1000 gallons per minute. This pump was removed in 2004.
September 1927 Search for new water supply started.
November 1929 Another electrical water pump was installed for $2,038 with a capacity of 500 gallons per minute. This was later replaced in 1973 with a 1000 gpm pump (high lift pump #3) at a cost of approximately $10,000.
January 1930 New wells completed.
December 1931 New concrete dam installed containing the rollway and tainter gates - $32,697.43.
August 1945 High lift water pump #2 was installed - $2,610.43.
July 53 to Mar 1954 Generator #3 installed - $146,249.12.
A pair of 100 KVA voltage regulators were probably added at this time at this time as well - physically located next to the #3 generator and electrically connected between the Generation Bus and the Distribution Bus. The regulators were removed in 2001. Note that the original turbine(s) in that area were cut up prior to the #3 generator installation and hauled out in pieces in the early 1950s.
July 1984 New tie line switchgear installed.
Summer 1996 The spillway is resurfaced as well as some of the piers.
Spring 2005 New equipment is installed and the plant controls are completely automated – eliminating the need for 3 of the 4 operators. Total cost approximately $685,000.
Summer 2005 Outside the piers, division wall and catwalk are all resurfaced and seals are placed on all 4 tainter gates. Inside a new concrete floor and hoist systems is installed. Total cost approximately $175,000.
This concludes the brief history of the plant. It was the intent of this section to give the reader an overview of what had been the major components of the plant, when they were installed and for how much. However, since the early 1950’s an operator’s log exists, which can be consulted to find out more about details regarding the maintenance, upkeep and changes at the power plant.