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USA Peppermint Power Plant Ultra - March 2019

Miber

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Something about the mixture of Art Deco styling and industrial locations has always really drawn me in. Turn-of-the-century industrial locations are amazing for the amount of unnecessary detail that goes into absolutely everything, but I see mid-century locations like this as a transition point from aestheticism to utilitarianism. It really shows how with good design principles a structure can still be beautiful without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

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The evenly spaced trio of smokestacks is nice. The windows are all the same exact shape and also evenly spaced. It's just a really nice building in it's own simple way, and I feel like I'm only appreciating this now after spending a bunch of time looking at power plants from any of the following decades.

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Walking into the lobby, we're introduced to the green color scheme that will follow us through every area of the plant.

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This was the central staircase for the office/administrative section.

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The lab was unfortunately very torn through but the walls were a nice shade of green.

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Next we moved on to the turbine hall, which was definitely the main attraction. We were greeted by 6 peppermint colored generators arranged in perfect alignment down the center of the room. I was immediately reminded of the quaint little Peppermint Power Plant I had the chance to see in Germany, and this felt like it could be its much bigger brother.

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The design of this room was so satisfying to me. It's clean and minimalist while still containing details. There's tons of symmetry and repetition and everything is neatly spaced. It's as if the architects and engineers were working in perfect harmony.

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I'm really glad I was able to make it out to this location because these big coal power plants are truly a dying breed. Before this, it seemed like every time I had figured out the location of a power plant I wanted to visit, demolition had just begun. They really are being demolished left and right, and despite how architecturally significant many of them are nobody is really fighting for most of them.

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Mid-century power plants are really the last of an era. After that, they started to become super-utilitarian. Everything became steel-truss and sheet metal, and many aren't even enclosed anymore. Every decision is made in the name of cost, and it makes sense why. Power companies now have to spend so much on updating plants to comply with regulations and on newer sources of energy.

I don't think anyone would disagree that it's better more money is going towards improving the climate-friendliness of plants rather than how they look, but it's still sad to see we're not taking care to preserve what we already have built.

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That being said, there was never really a feasible route for preservation of this plant. There are environmental hazards to any industrial site and this building isn't really suited to be anything other than a power plant. Its rural location is another challenge if it were to be turned into something that would be open to the public.

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There were a couple of control rooms along the main floor of the turbine hall but they were a little bit disappointing.

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This larger control room on the 2nd floor ended up being the most interesting of the bunch.

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It had a nice balcony overlooking the turbine hall.

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The inside of the control panel was straight out of a sci-fi movie.

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This stretcher was on the wall of one of the interior hallways.

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As you can see, vandalism is unfortunately progressing. From what we've heard, most of the vandalism occurred just a few months before our visit. Hopefully it hasn't accelerated too much in the months since. I'm just glad I got to see it when I did, as coal plants like this are going to be really rare in the future as we shift towards other sources of energy. Wind and solar farms are great but they'll never present the same exploration potential. Same for natural gas plants, which usually don't even have a building around them. Nuclear power plants make for fantastic exploration but the chance to visit an abandoned one may only come once in a lifetime. If you appreciate power plants and want to visit one for yourself, I wouldn't waste any time. The ones you have on your radar could be gone sooner than you know.
 

jones-y-gog

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That is a an all round top quality report - great write up and awesome pictures!
I totally agree that time is running out if we want to see these places, unfortunately.
 

The_Raw

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Really enjoyed reading through that. The turbine hall is an absolute belter. Peppermint power plant has a big brother 🥰 Cheers for sharing with us!
 

AndyK!

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What a good report!
Loving the turbines, and the size of this place, that's a pretty big power plant. Really nice!

:comp
 
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obscureserenity

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Some fabulous turbines there! Really nice report, thanks for sharing :D
 
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