The Sheep Mountain Mine closed in 1917, taking with it the meaning of life at the mill. In late 2021, local newspapers published plans for a “high-end winter and summer getaway” offering cross-country skiing and fly-fishing, following a music festival that spread along Crystal City’s bloated Main Street. But more than the music, the main draw here remains the mill itself, still upright, despite its seemingly precarious position.
Richmond Port Generating Station: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A gigantic neoclassical giant on the banks of the Delaware River, the Port Richmond power plant bears the scars of its era and the faded inscription of its former owner and purpose: the Philadelphia Electric Company.
The building’s birth dates back to the Jazz Age, when Philadelphia was booming and needed the energy to eventually illuminate its streets in Springsteen. The method of making electricity was simple and fascinating: coal-fired boilers would heat the water excessively, the resulting steam would spin a turbine and a transformer would direct the spark to the Philly area.
Despite its industrial spirit, the company wanted the station to look good too, so it hired John T. Windrim, the famous Philly architect who designed a series of antiquity-inspired buildings throughout the city. For Port Richmond station, Windream’s vision included an arched, skylight turbine hall “modelled after ancient Roman baths,” according to Jack Stillmans. world workshopStudy of the industrial history of the city.
This building opened in 1925, although only part of the Windrim plan did not come to fruition: the depression, after all, greatly reduced the need for energy, and the prospects for making a profit from it. However, improvements and accessories kept purring until the mid-1980s, when it finally closed after six decades in service.