Exploring a Huge Abandoned Art Deco Power Plant

Exploring a Huge Abandoned Art Deco Power Plant

In this episode we’re exploring an abandoned coal-fired power plant that dates back to the 1940’s. The plant is built in an Art Deco style, with many impressive details and design features that can’t be found in modern power stations. In recent years, the aging facility was unable to meet new environmental standards and was shut down for good. Now, we’re venturing inside to discover the industrial beauty of the past. Asbestos free. That’s what we like to see. I’m sure there is asbestos somewhere in here still, but it’s good to know it’s not everything in here. This is not asbestos free. This probably goes out to the main turbine hall. Let’s check that out. Holy cow though, this is huge! Six generators. They’re all minty green. It’s like a massive version of the peppermint power plant that we saw. It looks like it’s of the same era too. With the color palette, and all the tiling… the symmetry.
-They were starting to be scrapped or something. These are climbing harnesses here I think. Guardian fall protection. To climb on top of the unit maybe? Yea so I don’t think any scrapping was going on here, maybe like professional people from the power company. Wow these are so dusty. Wish I had like a rag or something. This would look really nice if you dusted it all off. They were General Electric turbines. Number two. The turbine hall is the most important room of any coal power plant. Here hot steam at temperatures of over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit would arrive from the boilers and flow into the turbines. The high pressure steam then spins a massive set of blades at extremely high speed. This rotational energy is then turned into electrical energy by a generator located at the end of each unit. The actual turbine blades are still inside. A lot of times they’re just scrapped out and salvatged. Each of the six turbines at this plant were capable of producing 70 megawatts, enough to power nearly 50,000 homes. Looks like there’s a control room or something up there. Even the side pieces of equipment are painted green. Off to the side of each turbine was another generator. I’m assuming these served some supplemental or emergency use since their rated capacity is only 200 kilowatts. 2011, do not operate. There’s some dumb ass graffiti in here. A lot of vandalism, which always sucks but… this place is still really cool. Oh yea, this is a control room. A lot of lock-out tags on everything. It’s funny you got all these old looking dials, and right here just a modern thermostat. This is very 50’s right here. Carbon monoxide monitoring. Look there’s more tourist brochures in here. Did the employees just read tourist brochures in here all day fantasizing about wanting to be on vacation? Twin Peaks right there. Wow the lighting is so much dimmer in here now. Definitely got some dark clouds over us. Ooh this looks like another control room. It is. This one’s more beige. Oh wow. These were for each generator. So that’s 1… 2… 3… 4, 5, and 6. Look there’s still writing on the whiteboard left. And obviously some of this was added, but that was probably there before. That’s a huge crane. There’s lights on the crane. It could go the whole length of the building.
-Yea. This turbine has been ripped apart though. Damn that rain is coming down now! The platforms that the turbines are on are actually isolated from the rest of the floor to mitigate vibration. These are some big bolts. Hand for scale. The whole place is flooding from this rain storm. Oh, I think they got a leak. Look at all these tools… and parts… There’s meters here that look like they would have been part of a control panel. That’s like the same green as the generator. It’s like a wisk. We’re gonna learn how to run this place.
-Is that what this is? Instruction manual for the GE… generator. Just for turbine number… They’re different? Units 3 and 4, can’t show the front though. It has the exact name of the power plant. It’s like just for this plant.
-So they were probably custom built. These instructions do not purport to cover all details. You just gotta know.
-Even this does not cover everything. Wow. The diagrams are cool. Installation… How to install one of these? We saw those in the control room.
-Yea. Rack installation. There’s a bunch of boards. A lot about these little panels.
-Yea. Literally the whole thing’s about those panels. All this info just for those… It’s still these panels still. So this must be a book just on those.
-Yea. Wow. -I don’t know let’s see. Look, even on these it’s just that.
-Yea. It’s just the control panel thing. Just one small section of the control panel. Wiring diagrams… Wow. This is like the offices. There’s a stretcher. Oh.
-Danger – Asbestos removal. Let’s not open that door.
-No. But look these ones have the same thing and we were in there already. No that’s a different danger sign.
-Okay. That just says danger, this danger literally says asbestos removal. But it’s probably similar. I bet the ceiling tiles were asbestos and that’s why they took them out. Yea probably but see these doors say warning, asbestos materials, so like respirators on past these doors. The control mechanics supervisor. It looks like there’s a lot of stuff left in here. There’s a computer.
-A fairly recent one too so… I mean we saw the calendar which said 2005- 15, so that wasn’t too long ago. Touchview graphics, Smith meter… Battery maintenance. Look at all of these… schematics and papers hung up. These are some big ones right here. God the name is on everything, that’s gonna make it so hard to edit this. You can learn how to build one of these if you really went through everything. That’s a nice stairwell. This is cool, that’s a wind indicator. Probably linked to a weather vane somewhere up on the roof. There’s shit on the floor… It got a little funky smelling up here. Oh, this is a cool logo! You’re walking in asbestos.
This whole- Yea. This whole elevator door is really cool. This is the upper floor control room. This looks pretty cool. I hope the front of it has actual controls. It does. Oh there’s a bunch of blanks right here though. You can walk through these also. Looks like they put a lot of computers in to replace the old mechanical controls. This is really cool. You can see… it must have started up around 5 AM cause it’s at zero megawatts. And then by 7:30 about it was at 150 megawatts. That’s pretty cool. Red. Green. It was a circuit breaker. They even put detail on that there. Everything had to have some sort of design to it, rather than just being completely utilitarian. This log sheet is from 1996, 97… 2002. This probably wasn’t operated that often. And this control room might not have been used for awhile. I’m gonna take a walk through the control panel. Holy shit. I’m not sure if this glass was frosted or if it’s just really dirty and hazy. I think it’s just dirty. Oh yea, hazy actually. Wow. Yea this power plant was not just built, it was designed with aesthetics in mind which is not something you would see in a brand new power plant. From this higher vantage point, the beautiful design of the power plant was even more apparent. Symmetry and repetition can be found throughout the turbine hall as if the architects and engineers managed to work in perfect harmony. It’s a true mid-century gem of the streamline Art Deco movement and it’s a shame to see that nothing has been done to preserve it. These must have scrolled so slowly because all that time is just 1 hour. I don’t know if modern power plants still keep paper logs just for redundancy. All this stuff can just be consolidated into a computer so easily. Um, this staircase goes higher because it connects to the main hall. The boiler house is the next area of the plant we’ll be exploring. This is a diagram of one of the plant’s six boilers. Note the person for scale. In each boiler, coal is burned to turn water into steam. The steam is then heated even further and routed to the turbines. Compared to the bright and open space of the turbine hall, the dark and dirty boiler house is a stark contrast. This is just white dusty powder and it looks like it could be asbestos… I mean I would think it would be, if it wasn’t for asbestos free stamped everywhere. It shows you really have no idea what is and what isn’t. Unless it’s stamped on it. Is this one of those hearing booths for calling? Yup. Hear here. Wow. Pretty quiet in here. Oh a hear-here. Yea.
-We’ve seen these before. These are in every power plant. But that font though. Oh yea, this thing’s original. Been here since the 50’s.
-And this font too. The phone was replaced, but… other than that. You can hear the wind in this vent here. It kinda stopped when I started filming. Now this looks like an asbestos cesspool. It looks like it is too, there’s dangerous shit right here. And that, is dripping all the way down there. Oof. I almost slipped on my ass. The panels were thrown down here. Oh god I gotta take this mask off it’s crushing my face. They’re not meant to be comfortable.
-No. I’m gonna have such a mark on my nose after this. This looks cool right here. Oh there’s a turbine down here, exposed. The blades I mean. This is from the one that was taken apart. The one right above us. This one’s not being used any time soon though.
-It’s screwed up. I mean this is the most valuable part of the turbine cause the engineering that goes into making these all precise.
-Yea, but not when it looks like that. Hell no. The rest of it looks alright though, but not really. Here it’s pretty bad. This is like a stand designed just to hold this. It is. Would’ve been pretty long.
-Yea. This is from the one that was directly up here that was all stripped down.
-Yea that’s the only one that’s missing it. Yea. This is where they’d fix and repair parts. That’s a big drill press, that could move on multiple axes. That’s a full on mill. But will it work? Too rusted? Yea look at the shaft over here, it’s so rusty. Oh that’s working. I’m rusty. I mean, there’s a motor type electrical thing back there so it probably could have been motorized also.
-That’s disgusting, I should not have touched that. Really? Yea that’s like disgusting. Mark Stanley, 1978. Ex-painter. If that was the best job he could do I can see why he’s an ex-painter. I’ve seen graffiti scrawled out neater than that. The wind in here sounds crazy. They got one of those Chamber of Secrets sinks. This looks like it was the main entrance. That’s a big quote on the wall. View not this mighty work with thoughts of power nor brick and steel and copper strands but with the inner eye of fancy. Recall the vision that dared it’s inception, the learning and mastery that framed it’s being, the perfection of it’s art and the direction of it’s myriad uses, in fulfillment of the words of the sage philosopher. To know what to do is wisdom. To know how to do it is skill. To do the thing as it should be done, is service. This power plant truly is one of the last of it’s kind. After the 1950’s, power plants began to be constructed in a wholly utilitarian manner. With increasing market competition and higher environmental standards to adhere to, aesthetics have become a topic of least concern for power companies. Sure, it’s logical to say that the appearance of power plants doesn’t matter since they’ll only be seen by the handful of people that work there. But, you can’t help but look at this building and appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that went into structures of the past. The designers and builders of this power plant weren’t just chasing a bottom line, they were creating something to be proud of.

100 thoughts to “Exploring a Huge Abandoned Art Deco Power Plant”

  1. Do you guys ever take a souvenir even if it’s something very little… besides your amazing video and pictures?

  2. One of my favorite things about urbex is
    Seeing something that personalizes the people that use to work or inhabit the places you visit.
    I wish you would slow and read some things that are written but not the idiotic graffiti by the people that worked there . Get a feel of what it must have been like.
    Even the frustration of the final days of employment.
    Did they stay professional until the end ? Did they know they would be jobless?

    Thank you for your beautiful videos

  3. Thoes smaller turbines were probably used to power the plant itself. Upon visit the Hoover Dam tour x3 different times, they had a similar set up. Two different types of power generation obviously but the fundamentals are the same, instead of steam used to spin the turbines, water is used.

  4. I live close to this power plant. always wondered what it looked like inside. So sad, it's only been shut down about six or so years ago

  5. If they want to preserve it, they'll fix it, fire it back up, and use it for its intended purpose, and stop listening to the left-wing politicians who want to complain about how "dirty" coal is. It heats peoples homes and keeps the lights on, while providing jobs. That's all that matters!!!

  6. That manual is for the Bently Nevada 3300 racks in the control room. I think i saw 6. Its a company in Nevada that is still in business. Those racks monitor all the critical machines for vibration, temperature, postilion, etc…That way if something is getting wore out they can plan for maintenance. Also shuts down machines if they are about to fail. A very important system in a lot of power gen plants around the world.

  7. This powerplant is like your videos, an art to make an effort for the eye, more than the power it made! But you have a great power in making videos for the eye!

  8. Loved your closing comments on this one! I absolutely agree, I miss the days when we certainly cared about the function and utility of what we designed and built, but we wanted to have some pride in the entire outcome including appearance! Then the bean counters started taking control, and it has become nothing but $$$'s on a spreadsheet…sad. This was also from a time where the executives in companies made maybe 4-6 times what the workers made, not more like 40-60 times. Can't worry about looks when those exec's have to have their mega salaries and insane perks and benefits.

  9. You know, it's sad that modern industrial buildings aren't designed with looks in mind, but at least we moved away from that ugly pastel green.

  10. Though you say abandoned, given the condition I wonder if it's more mothballed than completely abandoned. Mothballing is done if the power company feels that either a plant can be brought up to standards at a later date, or rebuilt using different combustion fuel.

  11. Dude you guys find some of the coolest places I've ever seen I love exploring abandoned stuff but you guys go to the next level keep it up

  12. 24:03 "They've got one of those chamber of secrets things" You mean a sink? You step on the ring part at the bottom and water comes out above the basin. Soap dispenser is at the top.

  13. Probably should have blurred the entire logo on the elevator doors. Pretty easy to figure it out based on the logo.

  14. The first person to tell me where this is at I will personally pay you via Venmo or whatever other cash app that has a secure transaction!

  15. I already know where this plant is. Its in the upper midwest. Sad its being vandalized already. Lots of history there. Keep up the good content and documenting these places. Wish the owners of some of these buildings let you go in and document with permission.

  16. I work at the Schnectady Ge plant where they make and refurbish new an old turbines and generators. It's cool to see how they are all put together. The newest generators weigh up to over 500 tons now.

  17. Just think that place was full of extremely intelligent engineers that came to work everyday and filled the parking lot with all the cool old cars from the 50''s and 60's. That would be cool if someone out there had actual pictures of the plant when it was running. Great video guys !

  18. As they say, coal is old and dirty, ponder this. You can make coal burn clean, but is costs money to make it happen. Natural gas is cleaner and less costly to clean up the exhaust. Is this what you want? Most coal fired power plants had enough real estate to keep ninety days of coal on the property, river freezes so what, bad blizzard shuts down the roads for a week so what. Something happens to the gas line feeding the gas fired power plant, the turbines will coast to a stop. Is this what you want? Well its too late you got it.

    If you take a little trip on Google earth to Japan, Fukushima, the Tokyo Electric power plant on the coast. Do a little flying north for a bit. At Haramachiku you'll come across a power plant on the coast. Those big black areas are coal, see any smoke. It will burn clean if you want it to.

  19. I know this plant and where it is. Working for GE back in the 70's we manufactured 74 nuclear and fossil power plants in 1977 alone at the Charleston SC plant. Read about it here. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/39983352/american-machinist-building-the-big-ones The largest machine tools in the world were at this plant. One machine, a 48 foot Ingersoll NC mill is in China as I write this making the very same parts it did when here in the US.

  20. I work in Coal burning power plants across the United States, I luv the style of the older ones.. Its a shame most of them are closing

  21. On-site generators like that are for self-startup. Remember, if a power station loses it's ability to make power, its basic systems need power to come from somewhere. Gens and grid power are the usual ones. Some power stations cannot "cold start" and require a generator to be trucked in to start them, or even provide power for lights in the facility itself.

  22. It is really cringey when people tell you stuff in these types of videos but have no idea what they are talking about. Just do the tour

  23. funnily enough my aunt and uncle work at GE's and my brother did work experience there. I'm thinking of maybe getting a job there after university

  24. the gauges look so old as most steam parts brand new look like that . They have not changed the design from the 50s , we had been using steam forever by that point and had it figured out pretty good.

  25. Your passion for these otherwise forgotten places shows. You actually cared and were angry about about the f**ckbags who vandalized it. So glad somebody appreciates the building's history. And one of my favorite parts of a building is the staircase too

  26. If Trump has any say, that plant will be up and running in the future. Making America great again, I mean stinky & contaminated again

  27. We began watching your videos nearly two years ago with the sneaking into nuclear power plant episode. This is now my favorite. I love abandoned power plants as well as art deco architecture. Great footage and narration. Thank you!

  28. Those smaller generator/turbines are probably "exciters". these supplied current to the main generator's electro-magnets. Really neat designs…the yet older steam engine driven generators of 100 years or so ago were even more fascinating pieces of tech. The overall plant design reminds me of a high school layout. As a draftsman, I worked with design engineers on similar power plant facilities. Economics is the devil in the mix in preservation of these landmarks!

  29. I live less than a mile from where those turbines were produced. Its cool to see what impact my area had on the rest of the country.

  30. At 3:36 you call the generator rotor cooling fans ''turbine blades''. No…that's the generator field and fans are located on each end of the rotor to circulate hydrogen cooling gas. I've had a lot of those apart in my turbine overhaul days. The 4 lumps at the corners of the generator are the hydrogen coolers. The low pressure turbine blades can be seen in those 2 round access holes in the middle of the machines. Some are removed. I still have a 6 foot long GE emblem in my garage.

  31. Yes that is very Art Deco .. beautiful building .. lots of thought went in to constructing this place and a lot of detail.. thank you for bringing us along .. Sad to see it in decay and not being saved ….
    I love you @ 6:47 with the white board.. so natural …… love it .. exploration with you 2 makes it a blast …

    However i wish Vandals would stop smashing things up spraying tags everywhere and destroying everything … it's not necessary , look enjoy the past and leave nothing but footprints …..

  32. If there was anything to take from the plant was that massive book. At 10:43. But that’s just what I would take. Something to keep the history alive of the power plant.

  33. Brilliant guys,and good call with respirators, but have to ask what do you do about potentially contaminated clothing

  34. Chamber of horrors skink! LOL they had one of those in my first elementary school long ago. What a horrible creepy place that school was. Great video though!

  35. the great and high IQ ratllecan generation was there too i see!!! the great ratllecan heroes we all can depend on in times of war!

  36. With all six 70MW(megawatts) generators running, the station generates 420MW of power, enough for 300,000 homes and businesses.

  37. That plant was idled down in 13 because the temperature of the water discharged into the river was higher than the intake temperature. It was somewhat used for another year or two, but the Obama administrations anti coal movement put the final nail in the coffin

  38. I watch this video, and I think: How many hundreds of millions of dollars thrown away! Here in Argentina, the largest hydraulic work that has been operating since it was put into service cost us 11,000,000,000,000 million dollars … it is called # Yaciretá.

  39. I've worn those masks for 8-10 hours straight while at volcanic vents. Yes, they get uncomfortable and full of snot but they do save your health for sure.

  40. I enjoy your videos. Is there any way to get salvage rights to any of these places. I know you don't take anything, but I always see many items that are wither still of use or collectibles.

  41. Awesome. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Thank you both for all your hard work and for the risks you take to create this exceptional content. You guys rock.👍🏼🤘🏼😎

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