[photos] White River Falls Power Plant (post 1 of 2)

Today tillyjane and I went hiking at White River Falls State Park, on the advice of ramblin_phyl. It’s a beautiful little park in a small canyon, which features an electric power plant built in 1901, expanded in 1910-1911, and abandoned probably sometime after WWII. The walk down to the power plant is a short, steepish trail with good footing in dry weather.

Exterior Photos (interior photos are here):

Impoundment Pond

The impoundment pond is barely visible as a rectangular structure on the left edge of the aerial photo linked to above

Impoundment pond, above the top of the White River Falls.

More detail of the impoundment pond.

The control valve of the impoundment pond.

The powerhouse as seen from near the impoundment pond above the top of the falls.

This is part of the pipe which brought water down from the impoundment pond to the turbines.

Flood Control Structure and Valve Station

The spillway of the flood control structure is clearly visible in the upper third of the aerial photo linked to above

A flood control structure built in 1910 to keep the water pipe system from being overwhelmed by water coming down the ravine to the north. Visible in the right hand side of the picture is a valve station for controlling the main water feed to the turbines.

The powerhouse seen from atop the spillaway of the flood control structure. The valve station is on the right again.

A geological survey marker atop the spillway of the flood control structure.

Gear wheels atop the valve station.

A cornerstone washed out from the flood control structure.

Me in front of the spillway.

The flood control structure and the valve station as seen from below.

Powerhouse Exterior

The powerhouse is visible in the lower right section of the aerial photo linked to above

Another section of pipe, in the drop to the powerhouse. For reference, it’s about 30 inches in diameter.

Just above the powerhouse.

More views of the powerhouse from above. The substantial hole in the roof at the north end was caused by a boulder dropping from above.

Detail from the same angle. Note the turbine bulking within.

Detail of the round windows.

The south end of the powerhouse, next to the White River.

The east face of the powerhouse.

The pipe entering the powerhouse.

Pipe detail.

Me outside the south end of the powerhouse.

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

22 thoughts on “[photos] White River Falls Power Plant (post 1 of 2)

  1. Webb Traverse says:

    Self portraits weirdly detract from otherwise interesting photos.

  2. eric orchard says:

    These are amazing Jay! I’d love to save them and use them as reference for paintings. Just finished Mainspring-my heads still spinning, an amazing book I loved it.

  3. Jay says:

    @Eric — Please feel free! They’re all under CC license.

  4. Eric Knisley says:

    Very beautiful and evocative photos, Jay–great work. I’m a 3D animator, always looking for inspirational images and textures, and these really got me going. This would make a great game level! Cheers on the good work–more, please.


  5. tammi says:

    Saw this on boingboing and had to check it out. What a cool place! As a photographer, I’d love to take some models here- Awesome!
    Great find!

  6. Charlie says:

    The pipe’s called a “penstock”. Confusingly, though, in cases where the incoming water is confined by an open “head race” or “leet” rather than by an enclosed pipe, the control valves are called “penstocks”.

    Open head races with rectangular cross sections have advantages if you’re driving a wheel, but the turbulence characteristics of a penstock (pipe) can be used to advantage in a turbine.

    The failure mode of a penstock pipe is generally more dramatically destructive than that of an open leet.

  7. Jay says:

    @Charlie —

    Ooh, cool! New vocabulary!

  8. Peter says:

    Cool, Jay.

    Next, head out to the abandoned mine/mining town at Bohemian Mt. in Oregon…if you haven’t already been there, that is.

  9. Jay says:

    @ Peter —

    I will definitely have to check that out. Thank you!

  10. PABob says:

    This site is really familiar. I think it may have been used in a shoot-out scene in a Western.

  11. Brad says:

    Great photos! I was there a few years back, and the power house wasn’t as well boarded up, so my brother and I were able to step in and get a look at the turbines – truely impressive!

    One thing you got wrong was the ‘flood control dam – this was actually a setting pond to allow the silt (that White River is named after) to settle out before the water went through the penstock and turbines. I think I remember reading this off the board at the park, but this page has more info: http://www.a2zgorge.info/area/white_falls.htm

  12. Jay says:

    @Brad – Thanks, I was having a heck of a time figuring that out.

  13. doctordave says:

    the gears put me in the mind of the Myst series… very nice.

  14. Andy says:

    The site is outside Maupin, Oregon. This place is cool, and I have some photos of the inside, which was boarded up after far too many parties and liability issues. I am told, however, that you can still crawl in.

    See interior photos here

  15. Andy says:

    Cancel that, good buddy.

    Having seen your second post, it seems you really can get in!

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