Denver Tramway Powerhouse - Denver, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 39° 45.309 W 105° 00.581
13S E 499170 N 4400581
Quick Description: Former Power Plant building of the Denver Tramway Company
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 8/6/2011 8:02:36 PM
Waymark Code: WMC834
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:

"In 1886, John Evans and his son William Gray Evans incorporated the Denver Tramway Company (DTC) with William Byers, hotel keeper Henry C. Brown and businessman and library builder Roger Woodbury. The DTC secured an exclusive city franchise to build electric streetcar lines, thereby dooming the horse railways that built Denver’s first streetcar lines in the 1870s. By 1900, the DTC had driven rival cable car and horse railways out of business and monopolized Denver streetcar service. The Tramway installed a city-wide network of overhead electric trolleys for lines that reached every neighborhood in Denver. The DTC shot out East Colfax Avenue to Park Hill, Montclair and Aurora, out West Colfax and West 13th Avenue to Lakewood and Golden. One of the busiest lines went south on Broadway to Englewood and Littleton. Another DTC line headed west on 32nd Avenue to Wheat Ridge and Arvada. The Washington Avenue line served Globeville and Adams County. The Denver Tramway Company became one of Denver’s biggest employers and an essential part of many people’s lives. Most, lacking horse and carriages, took streetcars to work, to shop and to play. Special tramway cars were rented out for weddings and honeymoons, while Funeral Cars A and B took many Denverites on their final rides—to Riverside and Fairmount Cemeteries." (from Dr. Thomas J. Noel, link )

"Over one hundred years ago, in 1901, the Denver Tramway Power Company Plant building was originally constructed along the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek to serve as the power source for the entire Denver electric trolley system, housing large furnaces and steam powered electric generators. The plant’s location was chosen for its proximity to the South Platte River, which provided water to cool the Power house’s turbines, easy access to coal due to the adjacent rail lines, and its central location to the Denver Tramway’s main terminal and downtown Denver.

This late Victorian structure is an excellent example of American Industrial architecture of the early 20th Century with Richardsonian Romanesque elements as seen in its detailed masonry and classic windows. The load-bearing brick walls are comprised of boulder-pressed, uniform size, regular course brick, built over concrete foundations, on piles extending 18–26 feet to bedrock below.

The first engine of the Powerhouse was turned over on Christmas Day, 1901. Full operation of the Powerhouse began in July 1902. The plant consisted of five 450-horsepower Sterling boilers, three 800-kilowatt General Electric machines cross-compounding condensing Green-Whalick engines. Demand quickly outpaced supply and the plant’s capacity was doubled to 1,600 kilowatts through the use of an Allis-Chalmers cross-compound condensing engine and the installation of eight more 450-horsepower Sterling boilers. Lignite coal for the boilers was delivered via train from the company’s mines located in Leydon. The coal was dumped into the basement through a 90-ton receiving hopper bin that was located just outside the new front doors under the building extension. After traveling through a crusher, the coal was lifted by a McCaslin gravity-bucket type conveyor to another cross conveyor and distributed into a series of steel plate bunkers able to hold over 1,400 tons. During 1914, an average of 179 tons of coal was burned daily. The conveyor also removed ash from the boilers, carrying the ash back to waiting rail cars above the entry hopper. Smoke from the stokers was transported horizontally through a brick and concrete plenum to a large steel smokestack. The steel support beams and the vertical support structure for the smokestack are still visible to the right of the main entrance.

After the power plant closed in the 1950’s, the building was utilized by the International Harvester Company as a warehouse. It then reopened as the Forney Historic Transportation Museum in 1969. The Forney museum has reopened at a new facility as the Museum of Transportation at 4303 Brighton Blvd., in Denver." (from REI Press Release)

The Platte Valley Trolley offers rides during the summer on restored Denver Trolley cars. The Trolley operates past Confluence Park, REI, Downtown Aquarium, Children's Museum and Mile-Hi Stadium. Their operators are very knowledgeable about the history of the area in which we operate and delight in relating some interesting facts which even some of the locals don't know. Please help to support this fine organization and keep the trolley running.

Street address:
1416 Platte St
Denver, CO USA

County / Borough / Parish: Denver

Year listed: 2001

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event

Periods of significance: 1950-1974, 1925-1949, 1900-1924

Historic function: Industry/Processing/Extraction, Transportation

Current function: Commerce/Trade

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 1: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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