Soaring overhead the old smokestack, visible for miles around, pierces the cloud filled sky. A huge, four story brick and glass building houses four massive coal fired furnaces, connected to state of the art electrical generators. Engineered to take advantage of the stack effect, which accelerates exhaust from the hot furnaces, through a manifold, towards the cooler temperature of the open sky high above, the roar in this building would have been deafening as earth was transformed into electricity via the marvels of 20th century technology.

But mother nature is not intimidated by such man-made feats. Slowly but surely water has penetrated the tar and gravel roof, dripping onto the manifold high above the furnaces, punishing it by sheer persistence until finally it relented, collapsing to form a small depression. Water gathered as the asbestos insulation, dust and dirt combined to form a shore where, against all odds, a group of saplings have taken hold.  Nourished by the sun through the glass paned wall the atrium continues on long after the powerhouse has been abandoned.

Original Silver Gelatin print of the above image is available here.

The powerhouse and nearby coal breaker, built in 1939 and abandoned in 1976, was the most technologically advanced coal processing plant of it’s day and still stands today. A group of local miners have formed to try and save this piece of Americana. This September the owner of the property will be in bankruptcy court, the fate of the breaker may be decided soon.

Update: The bankruptcy hearing has been postponed until December.


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Recent article regarding preservation status and bankruptcy.