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Sullivan Creek Hydro Project - Metaline Falls, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 51.600 W 117° 21.798
11U E 473352 N 5411956
Quick Description: Just outside the eastern edge of the little village of Metaline Falls stands a mysterious brick building seemingly a century or more old.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 3/10/2018 4:09:00 AM
Waymark Code: WMXWXF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fi67
Views: 2

Long Description:
In truth, it's not all that mysterious, although it was to us upon first encountering it. A little research has revealed that this was the powerhouse of the Sullivan Creek Hydro Project, a facility built in 1909 by the Inland Portland Cement Company to power its cement plant in the town. The company was incorporated on March 27, 1909, supplied with abundant surface deposits of quartz and limestone. Though first gold, and later lead and zinc, were of importance to the economy of the town, it was portland cement upon which the town was built. Bought out in 1914, the company became the Lehigh Portland Cement Company and was, in turn, acquired by the LaFarge Corporation in 1989, only to be shut down the next year, never to reopen. The silos of the cement plant still stand, but that is about all that remains of the town's largest employer for 80 years.

Immediately upon beginning construction of the cement plant, the Inland Portland Cement Company also began construction on a hydroelectric project to power not only the plant, but the town, as well. Dams were built on Sullivan Creek about three miles east of town and water sent down a wooden flume to this powerhouse. While the cement plant operated until 1990, this hydro project was decommissioned in 1956 when cheap power became available from the Bonneville Power Administration. Equipment was removed from the powerhouse and it has stood derelict for over 60 years now.

The dams (see further information below) remained in place, creating Mill Pond, until being removed in October of 2017.

Sullivan Creek Hydroelectric Project

Located near Metaline Falls, in the northeastern corner of Washington, the Sullivan Creek Hydroelectric Project was constructed in 1909 by the Inland Portland Cement Company (later the Lehigh Cement Company) located in Metaline Falls. The original project included a timber crib dam, which raised Sullivan Lake above its natural level, and two dams downstream (one earthen and one timber), which combined to create Mill Pond. The hydropower project provided power to both the cement plant and the town itself until the mid-1950s when power-generation ceased.

In the early 1920s, the three original dams were replaced with two concrete dams. By 1956, frequent failures of the wooden flume and the availability of inexpensive power from the Bonneville Power Administration, foreshadowed the shutdown of the Sullivan powerhouse. The generating equipment and fixtures were removed and the turbine pits were filled in with gravel and concrete. The original log intake structure in Mill Pond was also removed at that time, and the deteriorating flume has since lain in overgrown vegetation on the hillside.

The Federal Power Commission (now Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) licensed the Project to the Pend Oreille Public Utility District in 1958 as a storage project for the benefit of downstream generation. Although the District attempted in the 1980s and again in the 1990s to refurbish the Project and reestablish hydropower generation there, the rebuild project was scrapped both times as uneconomic. Today, the Sullivan Creek powerhouse and the nearby ruins of some of its related structures stands as a reminder of the significant role it played in hydroelectric power generation related to the early twentieth-century industrial development of the Metaline Falls area.
From Next Exit History


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Operational: no

Type of power station: Run-of-the-river

Type of turbine: Kaplan

Operator: Lehigh Portland Cement Company

Visitor center: no

Date built: 1/1/1909

Generation capacity: A few megawatts, at best

Visit Instructions:
For posting a log to an existing waymark, you will need to post a unique picture of the power station. If is not open to the public, please do not enter private property. A picture from the distance is sufficent. If it's possible to enter the machine hall, a picture of it would be nice. Please add some additional informations if possible.
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