Figure 8.1 Location of Niagara Falls Power Co. Power Houses 2
This is Part 8 of a 14 part series.
As the load increased, Power House 2 at Niagara was constructed on the east side of the
Figure 8.2 Power House 2 - interior
inlet canal [Fig. 8.1]. It contained eleven 5,000-hp machines installed between October 1902 and March 1904 [Fig. 8.2]. Increased efficiency was obtained by using Francis type turbines with draft tubes. The International Paper Company was the only industry to lease water from the canal and use it for mechanical power as originally envisioned by Evershed.i
General Electric produced the 2200-V two-phase generators
. Units 11-15 in the foreground of Figure 8.2 had external revolving fields and units 16-21 at the rear had internal revolving fields.ii
Figure 8.3 Removing Bulkhead to Power House 2
An interesting event occurred on May 31, 1902 when Power House 1 at Niagara had to be shut down in order to remove the bulkhead in the tailrace tunnel leading to Power House 2 [Fig. 8.3]. To provide the minimum current required by important customers, the Buffalo Railway Company started up its steam plant. By using the system in reverse, the rotary converters and transformers converted the railway company’s 550 V dc to 11,000 V ac for local distribution and at Terminal House A transformed to 22,000 V for transmission to Niagara Falls.iii
Figure 8.4 Location of Canadian Niagara Power House
To plan for increasing load, the Niagara Falls Power company purchased all the stock of the Canadian Niagara Power Company, which had water rights for 100,000 hp and a favorable location just above the Horseshoe Falls within Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario [Fig. 8.4 & 8.5].
Figure 8.5 Canadian Niagara Power House Exterior
Work commenced in May 1901 and the first unit was in commercial operation on January 1, 1905.
Figure 8.7 Upper Steel Arch Bridge
Plant construction was similar to the Niagara Falls Power plants except the units were 10,000 hp and generated at 12,000 V three-phase, the largest size and highest voltage then constructed [Fig. 8.6].iv
Figure 8.6 Canadian Niagara Power - 250 rpm three phase 12,000-V 25-Hz generators
Multiple three-conductor #3/0-AWG paper-insulated, lead-covered cables placed under the roadway of the Upper Steel Arch Bridge connected the Canadian and American powerhouses with an initial capacity of 10,000-hp. [Fig. 8.7]v
Figure 8.8 Location of Terminal House B
Figure 8.9 Terminal House B Exterior
By 1906 Terminal House A had almost reached the limit of its transforming capacity of 40,000 hp including 30,000 for distribution and 10,000 held in reserve to protect continuity of service.vi
Figure 8.10 Terminal House B Control Room (Nov. 13, 2002, the last day of operation)
Figure 8.11 Synchroscope (left arrow) and Voltmeters (right arrow)
Terminal House B was built at Niagara and Busti to receive 25,000 hp from the Canadian Niagara plant via overhead 22,000 V transmission lines that crossed the Niagara River at Ft. Erie [Fig. 8.8 & 8.9]. Oil-insulated water-cooled transformers at Terminal House B transformed from 22,000 V to 11,000 V for connection to the Cataract Power 11,000-V underground transmission system. Figure 8.10 shows the control room. In 1925 the transformer high voltage windings were reconnected from delta to wye to increase the voltage to 38,000.vii
Figure 8.11 shows the synchroscope and voltmeters that were used by the Terminal B operator to aid in synchronizing the lines from Canadian Niagara to the Terminal House B 11,000-V bus.
Figure 8.12 Location of Electrical Development Company Power House
Cataract Power also obtained 5,000 hp from the Electrical Development Company of Canada, which was located upstream from the Canadian Niagara powerhouse [Fig. 8.12, 8.13 & 8.14]. It was similar in design to Canadian Niagara except the tailrace tunnel came out behind the Falls and was designed to break off as the Falls receded.viii
The Electrical Development powerhouse started operation on May 28, 1907. Power was delivered to the Canadian Niagara powerhouse for delivery to Buffalo.ix
Figure 8.14 Electrical Development Co. - 250 rpm three phase 12,000-V 25-Hz generators
Figure 8.13 Electrical Development Co. (lower picture as seen from Three Sister Islands)
As the Buffalo load grew, more distribution stations No. 4 through No.15 were added:
Figure 8.16 Station 5 at E. Ferry & Kehr
Figure 8.15 Station 4 at Babcock & Hannah
• No. 4 at Babcock and Hannah
Figure 8.17 Station 6 at Niagara & Tonawanda
• No. 5 at E. Ferry and Kehr
Figure 8.18 Station 7 at Main & Court (an underground station)
• No. 6 at Niagara and Tonawanda
Figure 8.19 Station 8 at Swan & Centre
• No. 7 at Main and Court.
Figure 8.20 Station 9 in the Electric Building Basement.
This station is of interest because it was underground and was the first station built entirely by Buffalo General Electric. The same two gentlemen who started up the station in 1904 shut it down in 1924 to make way for the Liberty Bank Building.x
Figure 8.21 Station 10 at Burton & Oak
• No. 8 at Swan and Centre.
Figure 8.22 Station 11 on Electric Ave. in Lackawanna
• No. 9 was located in the basement of the Electric Building. It contained batteries to support the Edison System during peak loads.
• No. 10 at Burton and Oak.
Stations 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 supplied the dc Edison System in the downtown business district of the city. Station 7 is of interest because it was underground and was the first station built entirely by Buffalo General Electric. The same two gentlemen who started up the station in 1904 shut it down in 1924 to make way for the Liberty Bank Building.x Station 9 located in the basement of the Electric Building contained batteries to support the Edison System during peak loads or contingencies.
Figure 8.24 Ontario Power Co. - as seen from Goat Island
Figure 8.23 Ontario Power Company Power House Location
• Station No. 11 on Electric Avenue in Lackawanna was supplied 11,000 V from Niagara, Lockport & Ontario Power Company’s Gardenville Station located southeast of Buffalo.
Figure 8.26 Niagara, Lockport & Ontario Power Co. - Transmission Lines (c.1905)
Power was obtained from the Ontario Power Co. generation station located in Canada in the Niagara Gorge just below the Horseshoe Falls [Fig. 8.22]. Figure 8.23 shows the plant as seen from Goat Island. The first three 187 ½-rpm 12,000-V three-phase 25-Hz 10,000-hp horizontal generators driven by twin reaction turbines were placed in service July 1, 1905 [Fig. 8.24].xi
Figure 8.27 Niagara, Lockport & Ontario Power Co. Transformers (red arrow indicates Wall Bushing c.1907)
Two transmission lines transmitted power to Lockport in 1905 and 154 miles to Syracuse in 1906 [Fig. 8.26]. The voltage was raised to 60,000 V in 1907. This was the highest voltage and longest transmission line in service at that time.xii Two 60,000-V lines were later built from Lockport to Gardenville where single-phase 60,000-V to 11,000-V water-cooled transformers were installed indoors.xiii Note the 1907 style 60,000-V wall bushings which consist of a piece of glass installed in an inclined clay sewer tile. The conductor passed through a hole in the center of the glass. Porcelain bushings would be used today.
Figure 8.25 Ontario Power Company - 187 1/2-rpm three-phase 12,000-V 25-Hz generators
Figure 8.28 Station 12 on Perry near Smith
Figure 8.29 Station 13 on River Road at Wickwire Spenser Steel Co.
• No. 12 on Perry near Smith
Figure 8.30 Station 14 at Gladstone & Short (later replaced with a brick building)
• No. 13 on the River Road at the Wickwire Spencer Steel Co.
Figure 8.31 Station 15 on South Park at Republic Steel
• No. 14 on Gladstone and Short
• No. 15 on South Park at Republic Steel
Next: Niagara Falls Water Diversion Limitations Result in Steam Station Construction
i. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:255.
ii. Ibid., 2:116-117, 441-442.
iii. Ibid., 39-41.
iv. Ibid., 79-81, 442.
v. Ibid., 291.
vi. Ibid., 292.
vii. Ibid., 79, 291-292, 294, 307.
viii. Adams, Niagara Power, 1:346.
ix. Robert D. Barnett, “The Industrial Archaeology of the Electrical Development Company Generating Station at Niagara Falls,” The Historical Technologist (Published by the Niagara Society for Industrial History, Bulletin No. 1, 1982). Robert D. Barnett, “Governors of the Electrical Development Co. Generating Station,” The Historical Technologist (Published by the Niagara Society for Industrial History, Bulletin No. 2, 1984). Buffalo News 4/2/1989.
x. “Happenings” (An Annual Log from the Electric Operations Department, Buffalo General Electric Company, 1924, photocopy).
xi. Bartnett, “Industrial Archaeology,” 16-17.
xii.Niagara Mohawk Story, 105.
xiii. Mershon, “Transmission Plant,” 1305, 1307.