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 on “Exploring a Huge Abandoned Art Deco Power Plant

  1. I suddenly want to find the owner and buy one of those entire turbine assemblies. Have no money to buy it, no way to haul it, nowhere to put it, and no use for it.. But damn, I want to make that paint shine and the whole thing look like new for some reason.

  2. As a Canadian, I find it very weird how other countries leave buildings abandoned for so long. We hardly leave anything standing for more than a year. If it is, it's HEAVILY boarded up.

  3. 15:02 Kid voice hollering "Help Me" … On a side note… I used to build and wire stuff like this…in the70's. Wow the stuff!! 👍 Gorgeous Industry Ruins. Oh the quote at the end wow .. made my eyes moist!

  4. I will never understand how people can learn what every single one of those dials, buttons and switches do and when to turn them on or off

  5. Great job with the video as usual!
    But you didn't hide enough stuff in your video, found the plant while watching the video and really it wasn't to difficult.
    But still, awesome find! Doesn't even look too abandoned unless you look close enough

  6. When I can’t sleep I binge watch the hell out of all your videos!!!! Amazing content in this video! Love the power plant and factory videos!!

  7. See how well made in America holds up compared to others? It's not even comparable. It makes me very sad how little we manufacture today.

  8. Wow, I love the amount of history and information you include in your videos. It's the little details that make your channel so fantastic.

  9. I read in an old manual for power plant managers that for the workers to be more productive the plant manager should consider keeping the plant well lit, painted to be aesthetically pleasing, and to practice good house keeping. The plant I work at practices none of those lol.

  10. I'd hesitate or even refuse to call this "Art Deco." It was built almost 30 years after the popularity of that style and displays almost none of its characteristics. Rather, the sweeping curves and rectilinear lines of the windows suggest a pretty standard utilitarian interpretation of Midcentury Modern style, with obvious influences from Frank Lloyd Wright and Bauhaus and/or International Style. A more appropriate label would simply be "Midcentury Modern."

  11. The small "generators" we called exciters. They created DC voltage that was applied to "excite" the rotor which spun at 36,000 RPM to energize the windings of the Generator.
    Newer Generators had a High pressure Turbine that spun at 36,000 RPM and a low pressure Turbine that spun at 18,000 RPM.
    Some generators had an excitation unit on the shaft at the end of the generator to excite the rotor. IF an external DC generator, or exciter was there, it could have been used as a spare and used for more than one unit.
    That first control room you found looks like the Turbine Control room. I am guessing there may be more than just that one.
    The large seam you found in the floor around the Turbine and Generator is there for Expansion. The area around the hot turbine will expand a great amount as everything gets hot from the steam. Vibration is dealt with in other ways.
    OH GUYS, DON'T NEVER EVER TURN THOSE SWITCHES. Yes the place is supposed to be dead, but , even in those old derelect buildings.
    Preservation means nothing to companies. Those generators and related equipment is obsolete. Only a museum would be interested, if at all. Everything is custom for the most part. Most times, you can't exchange parts between units in the same building.

    I am surprised that the building is in as good shape is it is.
    Asbestous was removed as needed in the old stations. If the asbestous was still "encapsulated", or sealed in the coverings and paint, it would be left alone, espeically if the equipment was retired in place. As you saw, the insulation that was replaced was marked as replaced or Non Asbestous. If it isn't maked as NON, you can figure you are walking in the asbestous areas.
    The Generation plant near me was built in 1925. The newer units are still in operation today but the older units are retired, some removed.
    As for Art Deco, the main building and the buildings that contained the screens, where the lake water came in, it ran through screens to get the debri out before the water is pumped into the condensor to change the steam back to condensate water.
    These buildings had Art work in the brick work, especially around the corners.
    All the buildings were still there when when the original company owned them, but a year after a new company took control, they tore down the oldest screen buildings to build a parking lot. LOL. This screen building served the now gone units 1 and 2. I remember the brickwork being large heavy, bulky bricks. not the bricks you see on homes but industrial bricks, made to last.

    Companies have no interest in ART DECO or history, just money.

  12. Wonderful episode guys. Good call on Twin Peaks. Try not to confuse Art Deco with Mid Century Modern. They both have evocative looks that will never again be reproduced, but they are completely different. Really appreciate the way you guys have matured over the years which has led to more interesting videos.

  13. Conesville power plant in conesville ohio will be vacant soon they are shutting down the last generator this year. They say the epa is the reason i have had tours inside it is a neat place.

  14. Good news is, the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show a median latency of forty-four point six years, so if you're thirty or older, you're laughing. Worst case scenario, you miss out on a few rounds of canasta,

  15. I have no idea why but industrial sites are so much more frightening than anything else I've ever seen thank you so much for being safe and bringing these excellent quality videos so that we can all explore with you guys for the safety of our home always be safe and thank you again have a beautiful evening! 🙂

  16. Guys, have you ever thought of flying your Proper Copter in a large hall like this? I can only imagine the amazing shots you'd get!

  17. The railings throughout are beautiful examples of deco. Some builder should salvage these and use them in a new project.

  18. I love your channel but I have a suggestion… for your future video explorations you guys ought to upload old photos of what the buildings used to look like. I often have to pause the video just so I can research the place a bit more in the internet. LOL. Just saying. 🙂

  19. There’s still a lot of asbestos wall treatment in the Coors brewery in Golden CO. When that place is finally abandoned, whoever goes in is going to see some wild & scary shit.

  20. I love those old tourist brochures. I really like how you threw in the bit about them fantasizing about vacationing there, it really adds a genuine realness in such a surreal place. It humanizes the plant in a way. Well done as always Proper People!

  21. 6:52 damb it was RBY went the billowing plume of smoke. Looks like a fossil fuel boiler sort of thing, which would be slightly more complex than a hydroelectric.

  22. When wearing respirators make sure you are absolutely freshly shaven. Even a small amount of stubble will cause a leak.

  23. @4:10 just think that in a few years with all of GE's issues lately you can come do a video of the giant plant in Schenectady ny. Its a huge place. I used to pass it all the time

  24. Another great explore! Really enjoyed watching, so chill.
    The logo on the elevator doors reminded me of Project Dharma from Lost https://images.app.goo.gl/eQ8hrDPRhfgXQvEs7
    Don't ask me why I even remembered that!

  25. People lost their jobs. They were forced to leave an old lifestyle. I know burning coal is bad, but our actions have consequences.

  26. Very cool video for sure. Been in the power plant Industry for year and this one is a lot older than the one I work at. Ours was built in the 70s. Them old GE turbans are very cool. Don’t see them in decent shape as they are now. Definitely looks like they were robbing parts to fix another or they were in an overhaul and did not finish and told them to shut down completely. Very sad to see this place go down like this but coal fire plants and out and natural gas is in. They probably would still be open if they had a Scrubber system and SCR. Make me Wonder when we will take the next fall and be out of jobs. But keep up the good work guys and be safe. 👌🤘🏼

  27. No matter how many I see, I'll never get over how it's 2019 and humanity's desire when leaving their mark, is to draw dicks everywhere.
    Anyone ever tell Bryan he looks like a young Bam Margera?

  28. That's a nice radial drill, and in good condition too.
    It should be put to use somewhere, before the leaks get worse and it is ruined.

  29. Been watching your videos for a while now and I watch them at night because they relax me. I keep the volume turned down so I don’t wake my wife up……just now figured out that there’s captions…..gonna have to watch them all over again.

  30. 3M 2297 filters are easier to breath through, less bulky and lighter. 3M 6503QL is the most comfortable half mask I've ever used and the quick latch is awesome.

  31. 10:38 as an electrical and mechanical engineer i can say i have used books that size to install big manufacturing machinery

  32. Glad you guys started wearing respirators, and have figured out what asbestos looks like. Your older videos were pretty bad. Keep it up.

  33. Fascinating video. Mind blowing how much money has gone to waste. I cannot imagine the numbers of hours that went into creating the manual that was found. Frustrating the vandalism and graffiti that is done to these beautiful buildings.

  34. Back from the days when "General Electric" meant something. Now it's all cheaply made and expensive to fix 😖👍

  35. Why are there so many low IQ people in America who go around smashing and breaking stuff. Makes no sense at all. It's just embarrassing and makes America look stupid.

  36. "Dumb ass graffiti", just one of the many reasons why I love you guys 💕😆

    And security guard geese 😂👍

  37. There is only Islam as the quran and hadith prove beyond doubt or question. Declare your shahada and find peace in the beauty of Islam

  38. This structure is the work of an architect who took pride in aesthetics as well as function. I'm sure there were many other architects who submitted ideas, but when people saw these drawings they recognized its beauty.

  39. I've done maintenance in a coal powered facility with a 75m (246') tall building covering the massive furnace and generator. I got to crawl in the pulpy waste of the burnt lignite down below and climb to the very top floor of the building.

    Each floor is grated steel so you can look down until the pattern of the floor covers itself. The traditional way to get to the top was to jump on this cyclic type elevator to get to the top. You could not pay me to ride that. As when I last visited the plant they had it shut down because a worker fell 5 floors and was lucky to be alive. Think riding on a stair step with a handle all the way up with no fall protection.

    I would love to explore this place once it gets shut down soon. 6750 square meters (72,656 square feet) of building rising 75m to explore.

  40. There was once this coal fired power plant by me that had been out of service for years because of environmental standards. It was called the Mohave Generating Station. Apparently it was one of a kind since it had a very elaborate coal delivery system with underground pipes and water. The plant was finally demolised in 2012. The switchyard still remains with no plans to tear it apart.

  41. I love this style of architecture and machine design. And to think, all of the prints for this were drawn with a pencil and paper, no autocad or solidworks.

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