Niagara Falls - Table of Contents

Niagara Falls Power Co. / Edward Dean Adams Power Station
Buffalo Ave. near Portage Rd., Niagara Falls, NY.

Architect: Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White
Style:
Richardson Romanesque

Research by Richard Szczepaniec and Chuck LaChiusa
TEXT Beneath Illustrations


Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

Augustus Porter

Edward Dean Adams

The three Adams Station Power Plant buildings

The three Adams Station Power Plant buildings

Map

This Power Plant inlet on the Niagara River can be seen from the bike path and the Robert Moses Parkway
 

1895 Powerhouse No. 1 - DEMOLISHED 1961

1895 Powerhouse No. 1 - DEMOLISHED 1961

1895 Powerhouse No. 1 - DEMOLISHED 1961

1895 Powerhouse No. 1 - DEMOLISHED 1961

1895 Powerhouse No. 1 - DEMOLISHED 1961

1895 Powerhouse No. 1 - DEMOLISHED 1961

Tesla statue and arch entrance of 1895 Powerhouse No. 1 on Goat Island

Plaque on arch entrance of Powerhouse No. 1 on Goat Island

Arch entrance of 1895 Powerhouse No. 1 on Goat Island

Arch entrance of 1895 Powerhouse No. 1


     
 

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House




1903 Powerhouse No. 2- DEMOLISHED 1961




       

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House on Buffalo Avenue

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House


1895 Transformer House

1895 Transformer House

The Waste Water Plant for NF is built on the site of Adams #1 and 2. They use the tunnel as their discharge which is why there is water coming out of it and it is a different color.

Tunnel

Outlet of Adams Discharge Tunnel beyond the Falls

Outlet of Adams Discharge Tunnel beyond the Falls




One of the Echota houses designed by Stanford White





The canal-generated electricity

In 1847 Augustus Porter planned a hydraulic raceway (canal). The canal was intended to be a source of water power and a navigable waterway. Porter, who died in 1849, offered free land for the project but little interest was shown as the Erie Canal at Lockport offered a more manageable source of water power.

The Niagara Falls Water Power Co. was formed and the canal was completed by 1875. In 1877 Jacob F. Schoellkopf, a German immigrant and Buffalo manufacturer/merchant, and his associates bought the canal They called their company the Niagara Falls Hydraulic and Manufacturing Company, generally referred to as the "Schoellkopf Companies" or "Canal Companies."

(The day after the collapse of Schoellkopf Station 3B & C in June of 1956, the canal was drained and never used again. Niagara Mohawk Power Co. gave the land to the city which used it as a landfill. Long considered an eyesore and safety hazard, it was filled in during the late '50s and early '60s.)

Edward D. Adams Station Power Plant

The Adams Station Power Plant was the second enterprise to provide electricity to Niagara Falls.

As president of the Cataract Construction Company, Edward Dean Adams directed plans to construct a central generating plant and to solve the problem of transmitting electricity over long distances. The venture gained the support of well-known investors, including J. P. Morgan and John Jacob Astor whose interest in Niagara was spurred, in part, by their involvement in the preservation movement.

ALCOA; On August 26th, 1895 the Adams station delivered its first inexpensive commercial power. Its first customer was the Pittsburgh Reduction Company (PRC) which became ALCOA. The PRC facility was adjacent to Adams and used DC current for an electrolysis process for producing aluminum. PRC had located in Niagara Falls with the promise of cheap and abundant electricity. The importance of the Hall electrolytic refining process and electricity reflects the price of Aluminum, $1 per ounce in 1885 vs. $0.35 per pound in 1897.

Buffalo: At midnight, November 15, 1896 the first transmission of power to Buffalo occurred. Although Westinghouse had previously transmitted AC at other locations up to 400 miles, this was significant as the first large scale transmission of power over a great distance and the first "super station" in the world. As a boy Nicola Tesla had dreamed of harnessing the power of Niagara. His work on AC made his dream come true.

Edward D. Adams Station Power Plant - Powerhouses No. 1 (1895) and No. 2 (1903)

Powerhouses No. 1 (1895) and No. 2 (1903) generated power until 1926; upon the completion of Schoellkopf Station 3-C, they were put on "standby" status. They were permanently taken out of commission on September 30, 1961, along with the Schoellkopf Station, and demolished despite calls for one of them to be saved as a museum.

Merger: Bowing to government pressure for more efficient use of the Niagara River's water as required by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1910, Adam's Niagara Falls Power Company and Schoellkopf's Niagara Falls Power Company merge. They retain the name Niagara Falls Power Company, although Jacob F. Schoellkopf's heirs were clearly in control. Today we know it as the Niagara Mohawk Power Co.

Edward D. Adams Station Power Plant - Transformer House, 1895

The building was saved from demolition about 1965. Today, it is fenced in but visible off of Buffalo Avenue north of the Niagara Falls sewage treatment facility which currently occupies the former site of the Adams station and utilizes the power tunnel to discharge treated water to the lower Niagara River.

Architects: This fine building owes some of its distinction to its having been designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White, America's most prestigious architectural firm at the turn of the century. Then at the height of its power, the firm was also engaged in the design of the two opulent Williams mansions on Delaware Ave. in Buffalo.

Architectural features: Rock-faced, constructed Niagara limestone construction, one-and-a-half stories high, it has certain Richardson Romanesque elements, such as the segmental-arched, double-door entrance with flanking flat-arched openings and blind roundels. Pilasters articulate the end bays with their large arched openings and also articulate the projecting side bays with their recessed spandrels. The building boasts a belt course, impost banding, and a molded cornice. Its appearance suggests its function -- power.
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Source of black and white photos: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record. Go to American Memory Type: Adams Power Station. Photos by Jack Boucher

Text sources:


Color photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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