powerplant

Address: Woodside Drive
Architectural Style: Classical Revival; Industrial
Year Built: c. 1923
Architect/Builder: Unknown
Original Owner: Unknown

This building was constructed in 1923 to produce electrical power for Kenyon College.  Isolated from any major urban areas, the college may have found it difficult to obtain electrical power at this time, leading to the construction of a power plant.  The building used coal fired boilers to power a series of steam turbines to generate electricity.  Water for the boilers was provided by a 250,000 gallon concrete reservoir that is still standing to the northwest of the building.  Coal for the boilers was brought in on the nearby Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railroad (now the Kokosing Gap Trail), and was dumped in a concrete coal bin at the rear of the building.  The boiler room was at the rear of the structure, while the steam turbines for generating electricity were located in the south half of the building's central core.  The power plant was likely established at this time as a result of the positive economic situation of the area in the 1920s, during which Kenyon College flourished and significantly expanded its enrollment.  The plant was necessary to keep up with the increasing power needs of Kenyon College at this time.

The power plant was still operating at the beginning of the 1950s.  In recent years, some of the industrial windows have been filled in with concrete block, and fiberglass paneling has been used to cover the roof gables and some of the windows.  The building has a massive industrial look, but it also has a balanced, symmetrical composition and subtle classical details, such as brick dentils and temple-style layout.

The buidling is a T-shaped tripartite structure, a beautiful melding of Classical Revival architecture and Industrial practicality.  The massive central portion with front gable stands two, very large stories tall.  The two single-story wings flanking the building give the plant a temple-like appearance.  The dominating feature of this structure are the large, multi-paned industrial windows.  The moderately pitched roof sits on top of a blank frieze panel above the brick cornice, further emphasizing the reference to classical Greek and Roman architecture.

 


 

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