This is the site of the Burlington Interurban Power Plant, commonly known as the Burlington Powerhouse. The Powerhouse was originally built to generate electricity to run a passenger trolley between the cities of Lead and Deadwood. The Powerhouse was in service from 1902 until 1910.
In 1910 the B & M Powerhouse was decommissioned for trolley use and for a short time provided heat to the Burlington Round House, located directly across Whitewood Creek. Demolition of the building began in July of 1911 but the 135-foot tall smokestack remained until the early 1920's, when the Powerhouse smokestack either was demolished or fell down on its own.
The power plant was 130 feet long and 40 feet wide. The area directly below you was the coal bin, where coal was dumped from an elevated railroad to feed the boilers and run the Dynamo engines which generated the electricity for the trolley. There were two 100 kilowatt dynamos, rated at 150 horsepower each, were housed in the pit at the northern end of the site. The Powerhouse was also home to the third telephone to be installed in Deadwood and the city fire whistle.
The construction of the powerhouse was documented in the Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times.
November 30, 1901
"Walls of Concrete - Massive Foundation For New Burlington Plan In Deadwood
- For New Electric Trolley
The concrete foundations for the new Burlington power house in the upper part of Deadwood have been built above water level, and rapid headway will be possible from now on. They are laid on bedrock... and present massive faces. They are seven feet wide at the bottom, will be 13 feet high, and 3 feet wide at the top where the sills will rest."
To access the powerhouse, workers crossed a footbridge over Whitewood Creek. The footbridge can be seen in some of the historic images of the site. The foundations that supported the railroad trestle for coal delivery to the plant were still structurally sound after well over one hundred years and were reused to support a portion of the boardwalk.
See if you can find:
· the concrete power plant foundation
· the brick ruins of the smokestack foundation
· the wedge-shaped smokestack bricks
· the steel smokestack support rings
· the concrete railroad trestle foundations
· a reconstructed section of the smokestack