Old Tygh Valley Powerhouse
Experience the immersive sensation of exploring the Old Tygh Valley Powerhouse, now standing abandoned along the serene White River in Maupin, Oregon, through these captivating panoramic images. Let the visual journey transport you to this forgotten gem, where the echoes of the past blend seamlessly with the tranquil beauty of nature.
Image by: Sean Collins
Image by: Sean Collins
About the Abandoned Powerhouse
The Old Tygh Valley Powerhouse, an intriguing piece of Oregon’s industrial history, stands as a testament to the early 20th-century efforts in harnessing natural resources for electricity generation. This blog post delves into the origins, operations, and eventual abandonment of this historic site.
The Birth of the Powerhouse: Construction and Purpose
The Old Tygh Valley Powerhouse, located near the White River Falls in Oregon, was built in 1902. This hydroelectric facility was constructed by the Wasco Warehouse Milling Company to provide electricity for its large mills in The Dalles, approximately 40 miles to the north. Situated below the White River Falls, between Tygh Valley and Sheares Crossing, the site was ideally positioned to exploit the river’s flow for power generation.
Early Operations and Ownership
Initially, the powerhouse played a critical role in the region’s development, supplying power to The Dalles, Dufer, and surrounding areas. It was the sole source of electricity for these communities until the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams were constructed, and the Bonneville Power Administration began prioritizing power for public utilities.
In 1910, the Wasco Milling Company sold the powerhouse to the Pacific Power and Light Company (PP&L). The new owners, Eastern U.S. speculators, had broader ambitions, aiming to create a large power grid by connecting various small power companies.
The Powerhouse’s Operations
Throughout its operational years, the powerhouse was a hive of activity. It housed substantial equipment, including large generators and Pelton wheels, essential for harnessing hydroelectric power. The site also included four homes built above the powerhouse to accommodate employees responsible for its maintenance.
The Decline and Abandonment
Despite its initial success, the powerhouse’s importance dwindled with the advent of larger dams and power grids. PP&L operated the site until the early 1960s, when it was finally abandoned in 1963. Following its abandonment, the site was partially dismantled. However, many components, including the main turbines and other significant machinery, were left behind, partly due to the difficulty of transporting them out of the steep canyon.
Post-Abandonment: Attempts at Revival and Current State
After its abandonment, there were efforts to revive or redevelop the site. In 1982 and 1983, plans were considered for installing a new 8.5 Megawatt plant at the site, but these plans were likely halted due to environmental and fish passage concerns. As of now, much of the old hydroelectric operation’s remnants, such as parts of the penstock, a diversion dam, and the old power plant with rusting generators, are still observable.
In 1974, the site was donated to the state of Oregon and turned into a state park, initially known as the Tygh Valley State Wayside and later named the White River Falls State Park. Today, the park offers a glimpse into the region’s early industrial history, with the power plant’s ruins serving as a poignant reminder of the past.
The Old Tygh Valley Powerhouse’s story is a fascinating chapter in the history of Oregon’s industrial development. From its inception as a pivotal power source for local communities to its eventual decline and transformation into a state park, the site reflects the dynamic changes in energy production and societal needs over the past century. You can view more images of this location on Google Maps.
Do you have 360-degree panoramic images captured in an abandoned location? Send your images to Abandonedin360@gmail.com. If you choose to go out and do some urban exploring in your town, here are some safety tips before you head out on your Urbex adventure.
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