HISTORY

Significant events of the Georgetown Hydro Plant and of
Electrical Generation in Georgetown, Colorado

1876 Georgetown's Gas Works is established for the illumination of the city streets.
1878 The Railroad arrives in Georgetown.
1881 The Gas works adopts a new more dependable process and new owners.
1882 Thomas Edison's New York City generation plant is in operation.
1886 Around December 16, the Electric Light Company in Georgetown began generating Direct Current (DC) electricity from water power, the process is known as Hydroelectric generation.
December. 100 street lights are electrically powered in the town.
1887 March. “Light switches” can be installed in homes, allowing the user to turn on or off the power to the bulbs in any room.
Summer. The Gas Company and the Electric Light Company compete to light the streets.
August. The Gas Company was awarded a contract to light the streets for three years.
Nikola Tesla invents a electrical generator that produces alternating current (AC). This discovery now makes the transmission of electrical power possible over long distances.
1890 The Georgetown Selectmen (Town Council) grant a franchise to construct a new Hydroelectric plant at 4th and Brownell streets.
1891 A new alternating current (AC) plant delivered power to carbon-arc street lights.
Electrical energy becomes prevalent in mines of the area.
1893 April. The assets of the Electric Co. and the Gas Co. were merged to form the United Light and Power Co. of Clear Creek County.
August. Street lighting was ordered discontinued because of the depression caused by the crash of silver prices in the United States.
Electric service was extended to Silver Plume.
1894 September. Electric Light and Power Company closed its gas works.
1900 Georgetown Hydro plant is built at the east end of 6th Street in Georgetown.
The Alice Chalmers Corliss steam engine was producing power in October.
Two water wheel generator sets are producing power in November.
Because of the greater head pressure on the south fork of Clear Creek the electric plant on 4th and Brownell was abandoned.
1901 United Light and Power contracted to deliver power to Idaho Springs.
Increased power production allowed service to other towns and mines. Electricity allowed marginal mines to remain open.

The 6th street building was completed in April.

1902 United Light and Power buys site allowing the South Clear Creek dam to be moved up the creek. This adds additional head of nearly 200 feet to the penstock. The head goes from 480 feet to nearly 670 feet, and the new penstock is 30” in diameter as compared to the old 16” penstock.
July. United Light and Power builds a 20-foot addition to the north end of the plant. The company had to be granted the right to move Main Street 20 feet to the north.
A third water wheel generator set was installed.
New brick transformer house completed just to the south and west of the plant. By late December, the plant is supplying power to Central City, Black Hawk, and Nevadaville.
The office and coal room were added to the south end of the building.
1903 January. The plant has two generators, 533-horsepower and 400-horsepower.
Dams at Clear and Green Lakes are being raised by about eight feet each.
1906 Two more water-tube boilers added to power new Parson steam turbine which turns new 500 kW generator. New 90' tall and 5' diameter stack erected by June. Corliss Steam engine still in service.
Pelton Water Wheel ordered and was installed by May. Replacing the original water wheel on the 720KW General Electric generator.
February. News of the merger of Green and Clear Lakes Company, Cascade Electric Company and the United Light and Power Company to form United Hydro-Electric Company.
April. Work begins on building a 15-foot addition to the front of the plant to house new switch gear.
1908 July. Second Pelton Wheel and new generator installed.
1909 A combining gambrel roof was added over the two earlier gable roofs to better shed the heavy winter snows.
September 24. Flange broke on the 24-inch penstock, flooding the entire building in “knee-deep” water.
The Corliss steam engine was removed before WW1.
1911 November. United Hydro Electric purchased two new motorcycles for use by repairmen Hanson and collector Hancock.
1913 September. Cement floor poured into office section of plant.
1916 July. United Hydro Electric Company sold to Central Colorado Power Company.
Colorado Power was a conglomerate of several other Colorado power companies formed in 1913.
1918 January. Georgetown Courier reports that “the steam turbine, engine, boiler and big smoke stack of the Hydro Electric plant, which has been standing idle for several years, is being taken out and will probably be shipped to Salida for use at the Colorado Power Company's plant there”.
January. Charles Melvin, contract worker at the plant, is electrocuted on the roof.
March. Retired equipment from steam era is loaded on cars for shipment out.
The 90' smoke stack was removed and shipped to another location.
1919 June. Company purchased Dodge truck to replace the team of animals used for 18 yr.
1920 May. The planing mill erected in the 1870s is torn down by the power company.
1924 Colorado Power Company was renamed as Public Service of Colorado.
1939 Water wheel no. 2 modified for greater capacity; water line and needle valve enlarged.
The railroad rails were removed from Georgetown.
1941

The 1902 penstock was replaced and rerouted to the east side of the building. The high combining roof was removed. The Engine room and Machine shop areas roof turned 90 degrees and reinforced with steel to the present configuration.