10 August 2010

a cathedral for electricity

In a space fit for worship lost somewhere in the far, far metropolitan fringe of Northern California, is a decommissioned hydroelectric power plant, the building now used for the storage of dusty, forgotten outdated equipment.  The space's original utility was to produce electricity for an industrializing Bay Area and Central Valley, but now it sits vacant, in need of structural repair and earthquake retrofitting.

The main room of the building.  Note the railroad tracks on the bottom left, and all the windows letting in plenty of natural light -- no reliance on electrical lighting even though electricity was being produced in this space.  Photo by Alan Wiig.

Used Pelton wheel turbines -- hydraulic mining technology now used to generate hydroelectric power.

Old signage letters -- look at that font!

Antique equipment.  The truck was deteriorating but in decent shape.  The covered frame center left is possibly from a San Francisco horse-car, the pre-cable car form of urban transit that Chris Carlsson wrote about recently on Streetsblog SF.

The view of the holding reservoir right outside the power plant.  Swallows now roost throughout the building, gaining entry via broken window panes.  Their cries echoed throughout the main room during our visit.

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