What Fueled The Power Plant?

I came across something interesting in Dr. Lovett’s papers today that makes me think it might have been oil. There are almost no photographs in this collection, with the exception of two folders of images submitted to him by Wilmer Waldo, the site engineer. I sort of vaguely knew they were there but hadn’t seen them in quite a while. When I looked today I saw them with new eyes.

A while back we had a discussion about the power plant, driven by this photo with a tanker  car visible behind the building at left:

Mech Lab 1912 with train car

I immediately thought of it again when I saw these two images, both taken on December 1, 1911. Both are clearly labeled. The first shows the interior of an oil tank under construction:

Oil tank interior December 1 1911 EOL papers 11


The next one shows the exterior forms:

Oil tank exterior form December 1 1911 EOL papers 11

There was also a water tank buried right next to it:

Water tank completed December 1 1911 EOL papers 11


This might explain the rather quick disappearance of the two towers at the left here. The taller one was gone before the opening and the shorter one lasted only a little longer:

Water tower November 1 1911 EOL papers 11


There’s a reasonably good chance that the original specs for the plant are around. I’ll go look for them when I have some time.

Bonus: More stairs.


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5 Responses to What Fueled The Power Plant?

  1. Richard A. Schafer says:

    I wonder if those two tanks are still in use for anything.

  2. Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen 1982) says:

    Are the stairs in one of the triplets (Bio, Geo, Spac)?

  3. Pingback: You Need Water to Make Steam | Rice History Corner

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