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. Great vid! The smaller generators powered the plant. And I bet there’s a lot of copper in those huge old turbines!

  2. This really was a beautiful place. I've just spent the day exploring the Tyne Padestrian tunnel, built in the 1950s, with tiled walls and art decco appearance. It's even still got the longest wooden esculators to exist anywhere, although currently not operating. There was even a vanacular elevator too. Looks like I'm having a very 50s inspired day!

  3. There’s other steam plants up and still running, that’s why they probably haven’t completely torn it down, they’ll take those old turbines and move them to other steam plants.??

  4. Wow, great work. You guys are true professionals. I’d say that you deserve your own TV show if I didn’t think that television was a dying media.
    I especially loved the end where you read the text from that plaque to the music and changing scenes. Gave me chills.

  5. You should try and see if you can get a visit of the turbine halls of some of the dams in Québec. The few photos that we've got show that they are amazing places. Most of them are still active, and quite a few date from after 1970.

  6. I don’t know why they blurred out certain parts of this video but the location of this place is pretty obvious.

  7. I'm from a large coal state where every other truck says friends of coal and I gotta say, I'm probably one of the few to enjoy the state of decay they're in. Coal came in and raped the mountian tops took the money and ran. Rot in hell every part of coal from the mine runoff to the "clean burning" ROT. IN. HELL.

  8. I think what you guys do should be considered a public service – documenting some of the more mundane aspects of history before it disappears forever.

    Capturing some of these locations on video, high def to boot, with the superb camera work and well-researched voice over is a cut above just wandering through abandoned places – you're doing legitimate documentary type work here. I wish it were possible to obtain a license for what you do, so you could do it without threat of legal troubles.. although I suppose that would reduce some of the excitement, lol.

  9. We may not have new aesthetic power plants, but we have a bran new architectural designed wasteplant with a ski slope on the roof. Very high tech.

  10. I'm curious, what type of camera equipment and video editing software do you guys use for these videos? They're some of the more professional looking urban exploration videos out there. You have to be using more than phone cameras or cheap DSLR's.

  11. I don’t know why it’s taken up until recently to come across your videos. I love this kind of content and you guys do such a good job.

  12. You guys are the BEST Urbex team EVER!!! I LOVE your videos!!! You take us right along with you, it feels like we're there with you. Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.

    God I love you guys!!! Much respect from the UK

  13. Unable to meet current environmental standards!!! That phrase should have never ever been spoken!! Fuck the EPA and the life. It’s utter bullshit like that that has caused huge hardships on tens of thousands of people.

  14. Head up to Schenectady, NY and see where GE is, and all the bandos now in that city… 😬 Great workaday always! 🙌🏽

  15. Roofs people!

    It seems, the most destructive natural force that accelerates the decay of these old buildings is water infiltration.

    What would it cost a company, or government, to maintain the integrity of the roofs of abandoned buildings?

    It would seem, that that would be the least that could be done with the largest reward.

  16. Feed vandals into the boiler, you boys making me have Navy engineering school flashbacks lol steam was being phased out but a lot of stuff still there looks like something off a ww2 battleship

  17. President Obama's EPA caused the closing of many coal-fired power houses. Relatively inexpensive & reliable power.

  18. The Art Deco period was from 1925 to the late 1930's, so if this station was built after that period it's not Deco. They may have used some retro design elements but it's still not Deco.

  19. To bad you guys couldn't have hit Bebee station in Rochester, first building was over 100 years old now it's a bare hillside

  20. 15:56 – Apart from that electric dentists chair, have you guys even fiddled with an old control and something has happened/turned on/off/etc?

  21. The brick building style is reminiscent of a few civic buildings of that era still remaining in my city.
    The water gushing in made me sad, thinking that even a tiny leak would have had staff running for buckets and sending for maintenance staff. Now it just pours in with abandon.

  22. those smaller generator like at 4:00 produce DC voltage for alternator excitation. without those the big generators would not produce any electricity.

  23. The reason why I love your video documentaries is this. Thank you for giving respect to these monuments of energy, the life blood of our lives. Indeed, these places won’t be around long, as God isn’t creating more land. This forgotten place like others, is memorialized in your work.

  24. While I think greener sources of energy is a better option however its a shame to see these places of a bygone era be destroyed and vandalized. Something like this should be preserved and maybe even turned into a museum.

  25. DC generators are generating DC to supply electromagnets generating magnetic field for operation of main generators or for a startup of generator.

  26. That "whisk" is a light bulb remover. You attach it to multiple poles and you can unscrew lights without getting out a lift or tall ladders.

  27. I love your guys vidoes #! And for gods sake don't ever let anyone find the location of this place it's bad enough to be dismantled with no care for its history or the service of all the years of it workers but hopefully wont fall to anymore vandalism ! I love industrial exploration ! ( well explores period ) but the true beauty of these places are intense thank you for documenting another one before it's gone like all the rest . I wish this would have been a class in school when I went to school …… Just think of it EXPLORATION CLASS !! Instead of math ! Another great video guys thank you for taking me along ! Keep up the awesome work ! ✌👍👏

  28. Thanks for paging through that turbine manual. It's great seeing something that's been lost and abandoned resurfacing somewhere on the internet. You guys are keeping the memories of these places alive. Thank you!

  29. The smaller generators actually power the main generators. That's also why the small generators are DC but the large ones are 3 phase AC. The small ones essentially only power electromagnets in the main generators.

  30. Funny how many americans put "storm" in the end of any weather that is a bit more powerful then average.
    This was a rain storm and when it's snowing heavy it is a snow storm.
    If you have any kind of storm it indicates that you have strong winds as well, when they recorded the rain here there was no indication of strong winds.
    Wiki: Storm: A violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.

  31. No way! My neck of the woods! This plant has fascinated me since I was a little kid! I know it was originally scheduled to be demolished but I'd only ever heard that back around the time it was decommissioned and the retention pond (or whatever is across the street) was being cleaned up and re-purposed. I still remember seeing smoke coming from the stacks during the winter months when they would bring in coal via train and fire the place up to help with the extra load placed on the power grid.

    Awesome video, guys. Made my weekend!

  32. I found an article on this place pretty easily, as well as the name of the facility. It was pretty easy given the company logo. Maybe you guys should blur the entire thing in the future.

  33. I love the fact that y'all go to explore these places simply to appreciate old architecture or just for the joy of exploration — never to vandalize or steal. I really respect y'all for that. Plus the videos, in general, are just so fascinating. I'm so glad I discovered this channel.

  34. The equipment is actually mounted on pads much much thicker then the surrounding floor. It is not for vibration isolation it is due to the fact regular thickness floor slabs are not able to carry the weight.

  35. When asbestos is wet it is much safer since fibers can not become airborne. I am a licensed asbestos abatement contractor and we also deal with mold and lead based paint.

  36. So, im farley certain I know where this is, I live near it. I wish they would have turned it into an interactive museum so people could come visit it, play with all the buttons and switches, maybe learn a thing or two about the past. But whateverrr….it sits abandoned now.

  37. Fun Fact: the reason you've found a bunch of that minty green color in old building is because it was the cheapest kind of paint available. You'll see it across the former Soviet Union for this exact reason.

  38. What's the intro music? I tried searching for it, and scouring comments on old videos to find it, but didn't find anything. Is it original?

  39. You guys ever come to California you need to checkout the Morro Bay generating station. It was closed only a few years back and should still be fairly intact…

  40. A lot of my city is art deco style. I giggled when you said what a cool staircase. To me it was what I just grew up with. Maybe the style in architecture lingered till the 60s has. Honestly just reminded me of school.

  41. The art deco shapes, peppermint green and stainless steal door frames along with the stair ways look like something from the emerald city in Wizard of Oz

  42. The 200 kilowatts was just the exciter which is a DC generator that powers the rotating field coils in the main generator. The actual AC output of the main generator is many, many times the exciter output.

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