Link - article by Justin Sampson and Avi Abrams

Still generating power... to creep us out

The way some power plants and substations look, you'd think they fell out of some crack in the sky and materialized in our world - only to haunt and disturb normal citizens. Their incessant humming, occasional insectoid twittering and subliminal noise can be plenty annoying, but when they get abandoned, the tangle of cables, machinery and crumbling towers (combined with deep silence) makes it visually much, much worse...

(image credit: EarthMagnified)

Before we embark on a tour of some depressing abandoned power plants, here is a wonderfully bizarre structure still intact in London:

Duke Street Electricity Substation in London... with a garden on top.

London-based photographer Mark Obstfeld, a friend of our site, shares with us his urban discovery in London: "While wandering round the west side of town, I remembered I'd seen an unusual building before - just off Oxford St (main shopping street) in the West End, near Selfridges (a big department store). A few people were having lunch away from the bustle 50 metres away."

The English Heritage site has more of the history of this unusual substation: "This unusual and stylish edifice, together with the paved garden on top, was built in 1903–5 for the Westminster Electric Supply Corporation to the designs of C. Stanley Peach, with C. H. Reilly as assistant. As built, the sub-station rose to a greater height than had been contemplated, with a balustrade all round, and Diocletian windows along the sides to light the galleries of the engine rooms, which occupied deep basements. The garden above was paved and allotted the trees in tubs suggested, though these no longer exist..."

(photos by Mark Obstfeld)


Forgotten New York Power House

The New York Subway at one point had its own dedicated power system, called the Power House which was built in 1904. This huge complex covering an entire city block now sits forgotten. At its peak capacity, the plant could produce 132,000 horsepower.

(images via 1, 2)

Timothy Vogel visited several New York Central Power stations along the Hudson River (note the curiously shaped meters):

(images credit: Timothy Vogel)


In a cold, cold bunker... lurks a dark, dark power

Sweden is home to more than fifty underground bunker substations built during World War II. Concealing powerful generators, bomb-proof, cooled by underground rivers, these structures still look like they can survive anything "Half-Life" and such could unleash against it:

(images credit: Jakob Ehrensvärd)

BC Hydro in Vancouver, Canada, owns a couple of truly spectacular (almost gothic) abandoned hydroelectric power stations, with decorations more befitting a 5-star hotel than an industrial complex. Built in 1903 at a staggering cost of $1,300,000 (quite a lot of money back then) and operated until 1964, they stand guard on the river - still very elegant, with a whiff of haunted electricity inside:

(image credit: Steven Ballegeer)

Kayakers enjoy going around them and imagining themselves on the set of some horror movie:

(images via 1, 2, 3, 4, )

Forbidden site, evocative scenery - power stations on the Indian Arm, near Buntzen Lake:

(images credit: Vida J Morkunas, Laura Blumenthal)


Going Yonkers

Yonkers, NY is home to Glenwood Power Station, built in 1906. In 1960 the plant was abandoned and never touched since. Like the New York Power House, this was built to power the electric rail road system:

(image credit: Elephi Pelephi)

The following photograph is not some giant Shogi board set, it's just a simple dock ruin... but in the sunset all gets shifted meaning; perfect time to go inside:

(image courtesy Rob Yasinsac HudsonValleyRuins)

(image credit: EarthMagnified)

Weird creatures leave there and come out after dark:

(image credit: Michael Sullivan)

The view out of Glenwood power plant windows can't be beat, either:

(image credit: John Zwinck)

Now we know why so many epic storylines end in the abandoned factories or power plants. Nowhere is the power of decay and redemption is so evident, as in the rusted husks of once-mighty turbines, bathed in ethereal light.


More wanderings in and around forgotten power plants

Unlike most other abandoned hydroelectric plants, White River Falls Power Station in Oregon looks pretty unassuming, in fact like nothing more than a barn. Built in 1901, and closed after WW2, much of the steampunk-ish machinery remains inside, to the delight of the occasional explorer:

(images credit: Jay Lake)

Construction on Cherokee Nuclear Power Plant was halted in 1983, after $633 million (or about $1.2 billion U.S. adjusted for inflation). The unfinished cooling tower was used as the set for "Deepcore" during the filming of "The Abyss". Once the filming was over, funding went dry and the film set was left to rot. It was covered in notices stating that it was property of the 20th Century Fox and any access to it was prohibited. In 2007 a new power plant was approved to be constructed next door, and the remaining parts of the Cherokee Power Plant were slated for demolition.

(image credit: Dave Scaglione)

Another abandoned power plant: this one is in Bushehr, Iran. Construction on this sci-fi looking facility was stopped after Iran signed an agreement to halt nuclear research:

(images via 1, 2)

Construction of the Yusufiyah Electrical Generation Plant was started in 2001 by the Soviets, but was moth-balled two years later. Here is a huge transformer (in the best sense of this word), lying around:

(image credit: James Gordon)


Eyesores be gone: there is hope for the abandoned cooling towers

The painting of the cooling tower of the Cruas Nuclear Power Station in France took 9 mountaineers 8,000 man hours and 4,000 liters of paint to complete. The Johannesburg cooling towers (image on the right) are also no longer used by the power plant, and are being turned into bases for bungee jumping and rappelling.

(images via 1, 2)


Also Read:
Creepy High-Voltage Installations
Abandoned Tunnels and Vast Underground Places

Check out the whole Abandoned Places category.

Permanent Link......+StumbleUpon ...+Facebook
Category: Abandoned Places


Visual Caffeine #8
Visual Caffeine, Issue 8

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Visual Caffeine #7
Visual Caffeine, Issue 7

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Art Deco
Imperial Dreams: Art Deco Update

Wings, Gears, & Glamorous Ladies

1970s SciFi
DRB Pics-of-the-Day

Grand Space Adventure 1970s Art

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly eclectic presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a valued online magazine, bringing you quality info and entertainment every time you visit the site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook and Twitter.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Construction of the Yusufiyah Electrical Generation Plant was started in 2001 by the Soviets"

Круто, я точно знал что Советский Союз, нашу родную Империю Зла, перестройкой так просто не угрохать. Возможно, СССР ещё даже слегонца жив.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.
The Swedish substation totally looks like "Return of the Jedi". I kept looking for Chewbacca.

Blogger Sigivald said...

My Russian is pretty weak (nonexistant), but I'm willing to guess that Matthias is saying what I was going to say - that in 2001 there weren't any "Soviets", so perhaps you meant "Russians".

Sources disagree about when it was constructed, varying from 1980 to 1989 to 1996 to 2001.

The best explanation for that appears to be (according to RIAN), that construction started under Soviet direction in 1989, was put on hiatus for a decade after the Gulf War, and Russians went back to work on it in 2001 until conditions [and probably lack of payment] led them to leave in 2004.

So both "Soviet" and "2001" are reasonable, just not quite in the conjunction offered.

Blogger John Kankley said...

Some of these pics look straight out of Gotham City.

Blogger Luca said...

What about the most famous London power station? Battersea!!! The one Pink Floyd took to hang the pink inflatable pig on the two front towers, for taking a picture for their album.
Sometimes I go there and I think that it's a shame that they abandoned such a marvellous magnificent architectural beauty...
It seems that has been recently bought and will be transformed in a shopping center (but maybe I'm wrong)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, I mean how do you keep coming up with fresh ideas like this.

Blogger Zentaro said...

That BC Hydro plant in Vancouver is amazing. I would like to see someone convert that into a resort / hotel. Even better yet, a museum.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant?
More info

Or how about Richmond Generating Station? More info

Blogger Unknown said...

Have you seen this?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Круто, я точно знал что Советский Союз, нашу родную Империю Зла, перестройкой так просто не угрохать. Возможно, СССР ещё даже слегонца жив.

Actually, what Маттиас said was something more or less like this:

Cool! I just knew that the Soviet Union, our own Empire of Evil, couldn't be destroyed so easily by perestroika. Perhaps the USSR is still alive even today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out OMSI's Turbine Hall. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is located in a building donated by the Portland General Electric company. Massive indoor space with the overhead cranes still in place. Picture here: http://www.omsi.info/visit/physics/engineerit/graphics/components/turbinehall.jpg

and more info here: http://www.omsi.org/visit/physics/

Blogger Unknown said...

You can have a great day out at this dissused atomic power station in Germany:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

here the hell is Yamantau?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cruas cooling tower in France is definetely not abandonned...

have a look at this pretty picture on flickr:

Blogger Colin said...

Thanks for including buntzen lake power plant which is fairly close to my home. I will post some pictures I have of Anyox up the coast and you should also look for pictures of W.A.C bennett dam and the G. Shrum powerhouse

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Colin, send us some pics too

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buntzen No 2. is still operational. No 1. was shut down about 2000.
There is a section there on the history.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office


Abandoned, Dieselpunk
DRB Pic-of-the-Day

Abandoned: Streamlined Three-wheeler

Visual Caffeine #6
Visual Caffeine, Issue 6

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Visual Caffeine #5
Visual Caffeine, Issue 5

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Hellish Weather on Other Planets

Wild, Untamed, and Uncut

Medieval Suits of Armor

Metal Body Suits vs. Weapons of Medieval Destruction

World's Strangest Theme Parks

Amusement to the (twisted) extremes!

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Adorable Pedal Cars

Collectable Pedal Vehicles Showcase

Japanese Arcades: Gundam Pods & Other Guilty Pleasures

These machines have gone up to the next level

Modernist Tallinn Architecture

Delicious blend of old and new!

Early Supercomputers: A Visual Overview

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"

Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

French, Italian & Japanese rare beauties

Epic 1970s French Space Comic Art

DRB Time-Slice: Valérian and Laureline

The Trees Are Escaping! The Abandoned Prison in French Guiana

"Great Escape" from the Devil's Island

(with previews, fast loading):


Link Lattes

Feel-Good & Biscotti Issues

Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned