Monday, January 25, 2021

Statement Of Significance Midway Substation

 

Overall, the Storage Building retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, despite its movement to a different location within the substation property and modifications to the entrance. The building contributes to the historic character and significance of the Midway Substation and is recommended as a contributing resource to the substation district for its association with BPA’s Master Grid development. The resource does not convey sufficient historic significance to be eligible as an individual historic property. The Midway Substation, part of BPA’s master grid development, was constructed near Vernita in Benton County, Washington, in 1941 to serve the Northwest Electric Company and Washington Water Power Company interchange (BPA 1941:73). 

The Midway Substation is a key distribution point to Puget Sound, Hanford and eastern Washington. It is notable for delivering power to the Hanford Atomic Works and as a key element for linking the Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams into a single system (DAHP 2011). The power enabled wartime production of plutonium, thereby facilitating development of the nuclear fission bomb deployed against Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945 (Lally 2009). According to BPA internal data, BPA acquired the Midway Substation site on January 1, 1941. The Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) determined the Midway Substation eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 (DAHP 2011). 

The Midway Substation, along with the Walla Walla and Spokane (Glenn H. Bell) substations, was designed for quick development to accommodate pressing wartime power needs (Daily Capital Journal 1941). The funds allocated for the Midway Substation’s initial construction were part of a $7 million appropriation for BPA grid system completion (Statesman Journal 1941). By mid-December 1941, defense industry applications for power “jumped to an all-time high,” according to administrator Paul J. Raver. Raver emphasized the “government’s policy of long-time planning to meet future power needs enables us to meet the war emergency. We already have completed or have under construction at Walla Walla, Midway, Spokane and several other points, substation facilities which can be rapidly expanded” (Oregonian 1941a). Alan Yonker of Portland submitted the low bid of $151,788 for construction of the substation’s “operator’s cottages, dormitory and garages” (Oregonian 1941b). 

In 1944, BPA had installed 230-kV line terminal facilities at Midway Substation for the Hanford No. 1 and No. 2 transmission lines, and was in the process of constructing a second 230-kV transformer bank (BPA 1944:57). The line was designed to increase stable power transmission to the Portland and Puget Sound areas (Oregonian 1944). In 1951, BPA added a third transmission line between Grand Coulee and the Midway Substation. The new 105-mile “steel tower” line was estimated to cost $4 million and would initially transmit power at 190-kV, with an increase to 250 kV the following year, thereby relieving overload on the two existing lines between Grand Coulee dam and the substation (Idaho Statesman 1951). In 1958, BPA awarded Witzig Construction Company of Corvallis, Oregon, a $74,681 contract to construct 230-kV Priest Rapids terminal additions at Midway Substation. The Bend Bulletin reported that, “Work calls for grading, fencing and surfacing the switchyard addition, excavating for and constructing foundations and erection of multiple deadend structures and equipment.” The Midway Substation additions permitted BPA to integrate power from Priest Rapids dam into the “Northwest power pool” and transmit Priest Rapids power to other northwest utilities (Bend Bulletin 1958).

Physical Description

Storage buildings are found at many BPA substations as part of general operations during all eras of BPA’s development. Constructed circa 1956, the Midway Storage Building (approximately 320sq. ft.) sits on a slab-on-grade concrete foundation and is constructed out of standing-seam metal panels with a flat roof finished with standing-seam metal and a metal ventilator. The primary elevation faces north toward the Switchyard and consists of a single-door opening with a flush-paneled metal door and a rectangular metal louver to the west. The west elevation includes an opening with a flush-paneled hatch door above a projecting metal shelf. The south elevation consists of a metal vent hood and small metal louver. The east elevation is comprised of a single-door opening with a flush-paneled metal door. The interior of the Storage Building includes a finished concrete floor, exposed paneled metal walls and ceiling, caged light fixtures, and a small crane on a steel I-beam. Moderate alterations have occurred since the building’s original construction, according to a field investigation completed June 29, 2017 as well as an analysis of aerial images and historic documentation. Changes that have been made include it being moved from its original location to its existing location circa 1981 (BPA Aerial 1981), the removal of its second roof ventilator and capacitors (date unknown), and the creation of the hatched opening and metal shelf (dates unknown).

Bibliography

Bend Bulletin. 1958. “Contract Award Made to Firm.” July 30. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA Aerial). Various dates. “Aerial photos 1954-2007.” Copies on file at Bonneville Power Administration of Multnomah County, Portland, Oregon. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). “2016 Facility Condition Assessment,” VFA Facility Database, 2016. https://facility.vfafacility.com/facility/frameworks/main.jsp. Accessed 5/11/2017. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). 1939. Second Annual Report of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration. United States Department of the Interior. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). 1941. Annual Report of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration to the Secretary of the Interior. U.S. Department of the Interior. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). 1944. Annual Report of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration. U.S. Department of the Interior. BPA.gov. 2017. About Us. Electronic Document, https://www.bpa.gov/news/AboutUs/Pages/default.aspx (accessed March 29, 2017). Curran, Christine Ann. 1998. Master’s Thesis. A Historic Context for the Transmission of Hydroelectricity by the Bonneville Power Administration, 1939-1945. University of Oregon. Daily Capital Journal. 1941. “Raver Orders Speed-up In Line Building.” December 17. Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). 2011. Midway Substation. Property ID 102474. Historic Property Report. Holstine, Craig and Gloria J. J. Lenz. “Bonneville Power Administration Master Grid Discontiguous Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1986. Idaho Statesman. 1951. “Third Power Line Will Strengthen Northwest’s Pool.” December 28. Kramer, George. 2010. Corridors of Power: The Bonneville Power Administration Transmission Network. Historic Context Statement. For the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon under Master Agreement #38010. April. Kramer, George. 2012. Bonneville Power Administration [BPA] Pacific Northwest Transmission System. Multiple Property Documentation Form. National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. Lally, Jessica. 2009. Midway Substation, Historic Property Report. Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Washington. Citing White, Richard. 1995. The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. Harper Collins Canada Ltd. National Park Service (NPS). 1997. “How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation,” National Register Bulletin. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Oregonian. 1941a. “Raver Orders Step-up For Bonneville Work: New Cash Anticipated.” December 17. Oregonian. 1941b. “Transformer Bid of $272,202 Low.” July 4. Oregonian. 1944. “WPB Okehs Line For Bonneville.” August 18. Oregonian. 1949. “Raver Lists BPA Projects.” October 13. Statesman Journal. 1941. “Bonneville Setup To Get $7,000,000.” January 11.

Inventories

12/29/2017

Current Status: Review Complete

3.0.22


Physical Description

BPA used rail transfer carts to carry transformers and other heavy loads on fixed transfer tracks from the switchyard into substation maintenance areas and/or untanking towers (Curran 1998:111). The transfer cart was integral to the transfer track’s function and overall maintenance of switchyard equipment. Originally installed in 1941 as part of the site development, the transfer cart is constructed of steel and has a flat open steel deck. The cart deck rests on wheel rail conveyors that glide on the transfer tracks. The resource was observed during fieldwork with a transformer on it near the untanking tower. Though not previously identified in the MPDF or BPA’s asset database, transfer carts, when located within the substation boundaries, may be evaluated as contributing resources to substation historic districts.

 

Statement Of Significance

The transfer track retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. The structure contributes to the historic character and significance of the Midway Substation and is recommended as a contributing resource to the substation district for its association with BPA’s Master Grid development. The resource does not convey sufficient historic significance to be eligible as an individual historic property. The Midway Substation, part of BPA’s master grid development, was constructed near Vernita in Benton County, Washington, in 1941 to serve the Northwest Electric Company and Washington Water Power Company interchange (BPA 1941:73).

Physical Description

Transfer tracks are present in some of BPA’s earlier switchyards and are characterized by steel rails that extend from the location of power transformers to switchyard maintenance areas or untanking towers when present. Historically, transfer tracks were used for transporting power transformers and other equipment on transfer carts for routine maintenance and installation. Originally installed in 1941 as part of the site development, the resource is typical of BPA’s transfer tracks. The structure is embedded in the asphalt and is situated on an east-west axis in the southern half of the switchyard, aligned with the untanking tower. Though not previously identified in the MPDF, the transfer track enriches the visual complexity of the switchyard by contributing to the setting and the complex arrangement of individual elements that functioned collectively within the substation during the period of significance.

 

Statement Of Significance

The Storage Building retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, despite modifications to the entrance. The building contributes to the historic character and significance of the Midway Substation and is recommended as a contributing resource to the substation district for its association with BPA’s Master Grid development. The resource does not convey sufficient historic significance to be eligible as an individual historic property. The Midway Substation, part of BPA’s master grid development, was constructed near Vernita in Benton County, Washington, in 1941 to serve the Northwest Electric Company and Washington Water Power Company interchange (BPA 1941:73).

Physical Description

Storage buildings are found at many BPA substations as part of general operations during all eras of BPA’s development. Constructed circa 1954, the Midway Quonset Hut Storage Building (approximately 1,376 sq. ft.) sits on a slab-on-grade 3’ concrete foundation and is constructed out of corrugated metal with ventilators at the roof ridge and metal paneled elevations. The primary elevation faces east and contains a double-door opening with flush-paneled plywood doors under a horizontal infilled window opening and metal lamp, and flanked by two rectangular infilled window openings. The north and south elevations of the hut lack fenestration. The west elevation includes a single-door opening with a flush-paneled plywood door (BPA 2016). The interior of the Storage Building includes a finished concrete floor, exposed corrugated metal and metal paneled walls, suspended circular light fixtures, and a wood loft (BPA 2016). Minor alterations have occurred since the building’s original construction, according to a field investigation completed June 29, 2017 as well as an analysis of aerial images and historic documentation. Changes that have been made over time include the replacement of the original flush-paneled metal doors with existing plywood doors (date unknown), and the infill of window openings circa 1954 (BPA).

 

Statement Of Significance

The Untanking Tower retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and meets the minimum eligibility requirements in the BPA MPDF. The building contributes to the historic character and significance of the Midway Substation and is recommended as both a contributing resource to the substation district, and an individually eligible historic property under Criterion C as an excellent example of a Streamline Moderne-style control house constructed during BPA’s Master Grid development period (1938-1945). The recommended period of significance for the resource is its construction date of 1941. The Midway Substation, part of BPA’s master grid development, was constructed near Vernita in Benton County, Washington, in 1941 to serve the Northwest Electric Company and Washington Water Power Company interchange (BPA 1941:73).

Physical Description

Untanking towers typically contain the mechanical equipment used to “untank” power transformers and oil-immersed equipment, and are used conduct maintenance and repair activities at their respective substations (Curran 1998:99). Built in 1941, the Midway Untanking Tower (approximately 10,146 sq. ft.) sits on a concrete foundation and displays a smooth concrete exterior with features representative of the Streamline Moderne-style, including its flat roof and porthole windows. The building’s flat roof is finished with a single-ply membrane (BPA 2016), and features a parapet with concrete coping with metal flashing, and flood lights. Windows are primarily steel multi-pane sashes with awning operability. An L-shaped concrete path (Z-8775) leads from a secondary entrance driveway to the main entrance on the north façade. No landscape features are present at this untanking tower. 

The primary (north) façade faces Priest Rapids Road; it consists of the 63’-foot tower with a grouping of three tall recessed rectangular multi-light steel windows with pairs of awning sashes below a grouping of three recessed square-shaped multi-light steel windows with upper awing sashes and window screens. The tower is flanked by two one-story wings with a grouping of three square-shaped multi-light steel windows with upper awning sashes and concrete sills. A shortened one-story entryway with primary entrance is located between the wings in front of the tower. The primary entrance projects for the elevation of the flanking wings and is accessed by concrete steps and a porch with a short patterned metal railing. The entrance consists of a recessed single-door opening with a four-light steel door flanked by four-light steel sidelights, two columns, and rectangular multi-light steel windows with upper awning sashes under a flat concrete canopy. Two steel four-light porthole windows are located on each side of the entrance on the entryway elevation. 

The east elevation includes a projecting wing to the north and the recessed elevation of the tower. The wing includes a single-bay opening with a two-light wood paneled upward bi-folding door and a single-door opening with a flush-paneled metal door above a concrete L-shaped loading dock to the south, an elevated matching over-head door to the north below four attached lamp light fixtures. The loading dock is accessed by a set of concrete stairs with concrete retaining wall and metal curved-tube railing. The tower includes a row of five elevated recessed square-shaped multi-light steel windows with upper awning sashes, concrete sills, and window screens, and a multi-light three-leaf sliding steel door on overhead track. 

The south elevation consists of the projecting tower flanked by the recessed elevations of the two wings. The east wing includes a loading dock with a centrally located single-bay opening with a two-light wood paneled over-head door under a suspended metal canopy flanked by two rectangular multi-light steel windows with concrete sills. The tower includes a grouping of three tall recessed rectangular multi-light steel windows with pairs of awning sashes below a grouping of three recessed square-shaped multi-light steel windows with upper awing sashes and window screens. 

The west wing includes a square-shaped multi-light steel window with upper awning sashes, concrete sill, and exposed AC unit to the east, and a small recessed square-shaped six-light steel window to the west. The west elevation includes the projecting wing to the north and the recessed elevation of the tower. The wing includes a centrally located double-door opening with flush-paneled metal doors under a concrete canopy below a grouping of multi-light steel windows with upper awning sashes with a linear concrete sill. 

The tower contains a row of five elevated recessed square-shaped multi-light steel windows with upper awning sashes and window screens, and a large sliding three-leaf metal door with vertical multi-light windows that provides access to the interior of the tower from the transfer track in the adjacent switchyard. 

The interior of the Untanking Tower floorplan consists of a front office, assembling room, store room, shop, two toilet rooms, tool room, and an oil room. Typical rooms feature vinyl composite tile (VCT) with rubber baseboards, painted board-formed concrete walls, and unfinished or hard-lid ceilings with linear fixed and suspended fluorescent lighting. Other interior features include finished concrete floors, interior windows with an exposed AC unit, and a crane within the assembling room. 

Minor alterations to the Untanking Tower since its original construction are evident following a field investigation on June 29, 2017, as well as an analysis of aerial images, historic photographs, and historic newspapers. Changes that have been made include the removal of the roof-top radio tower circa 1968 (BPA Aerial 1968), and the addition of screen windows, metal flashing, flood lights, and exposed AC units (dates unknown). Changes to the interior include the addition of fluorescent lighting fixtures (date unknown) and an exposed AC unit in the interior window (date unknown). The original front lawn was covered and divided by a metal chain-link fence circa 1986 (BPA Aerial 1986).

 

Statement Of Significance

The Control House retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and meets the minimum eligibility requirements in the BPA MPDF. The building contributes to the historic character and significance of the Midway Substation and is recommended as both a contributing resource to the substation district, and an individually eligible historic property under Criterion C as an excellent example of a Streamline Moderne style control house constructed during BPA’s Master Grid development period (1938-1945). The recommended period of significance for the resource is its construction date of 1941. The Midway Substation, part of BPA’s master grid development, was constructed near Vernita in Benton County, Washington, in 1941 to serve the Northwest Electric Company and Washington Water Power Company interchange (BPA 1941:73).

Physical Description

The control house contains the principal operational and monitoring equipment related to the facility. Built in 1941, the Midway House (approximately 10,208 sq. ft.) sits on a concrete foundation and displays a board-formed, poured concrete exterior with features representative of the Streamline Moderne architectural style, including its concrete irregular-shaped form, asymmetrical façade, curved walls at the main entrance, and curved stair railings. The building’s flat roof is finished with single-ply membrane roofing (BPA 2016), and features a parapet with replacement metal flashing and three microwave dishes. 

Windows are primarily steel multi-pane sashes with hopper and awning operability and aluminum storm windows. A concrete path leads from the parking lot to the main entrance on the north façade (Z-8775). Landscaping features an enclosed crushed rock xeriscaped lawn, the original flag pole with concrete base, and a wood BPA substation sign. 

The primary (north) façade faces Priest Rapids Road and consists of the asymmetrically located main entrance, flanked by four large rectangular multi-light steel windows with center awning and hopper sashes with aluminum storm windows to the east and two matching window to the west. The primary entrance projects from the exterior wall and is accessed by concrete steps flanked by low concrete side walls. Curved corners, a flat concrete canopy, and a string of concrete dentils above a projecting metal light fixture frame the entry, which includes a recessed single-door opening with a three-light metal door surrounded by three-light sidelights and a multi-light transom with two center awning sashes. 

The west elevation consists of a centrally located projecting wing with a concrete loading dock covered with a flat roof supported by two metal pipe columns. The loading dock is accessed by a set of concrete steps and includes a single-door opening with a two-light single-paneled metal door and infilled transom. The loading dock is flanked by a half infilled window opening with a nine-light steel window and aluminum storm window to the north and a infilled window opening with a exposed ventilator and electrical conduit to the south. 

The south elevation is asymmetrical and includes, from west to west to east; a secondary entrance with basement access, a projecting wing with a narrow three-light metal window with center awning sash and storm window on its west elevation and two matching windows with concrete sills on its south elevation; and a projecting ell with three rectangular multi-light metal windows. The entrance consists of two single-door opening (facing south and west) with three-light metal doors and transoms atop a concrete porch with curved-metal railing and covered with a flat roof. 

The east elevation includes a secondary opening atop a concrete stoop with curved-metal railing flanked by one large rectangular multi-light steel window with center awning and hopper sashes with aluminum storm window and an exposed HVAC unit to the south and two matching windows to the north. The entrance consists of a single-door opening with a three-light metal door under a short concrete canopy and three-light transom with aluminum storm window. 

The interior of the Control House includes a front office, control room, communications room, kitchen, basement, and locker, battery, and storage room. The basement features a cable room, storage room with water tanks, a transfer room, an mg set room, and tunnel access. Typical rooms feature asbestos composition tile (ACT) flooring, concrete walls finished with plaster and rubber baseboards, and hard-lid ceilings with suspended linear fluorescent lighting. Other interior features include vinyl composite (VCT) flooring, original suspended circular metal light fixtures, brass wall registers with coils, picture and chair rail molding, and control equipment. 

Minor alterations to the Control House since its original construction are evident following a field investigation on June 29, 2017, as well as an analysis of aerial images, historic photographs, and historic newspapers. Changes to the exterior include the addition of a microwave tower circa 1968 (BPA Aerials 1968) and new microwave dishes circa 2001 (BPA Aerial 2001), the infill of one window opening on the west elevation (date unknown), the installation of aluminum storm windows (date unknown), and the removal of the original circular roof-top flood lights (date unknown). 

Other alterations include new metal flashing (date unknown), the installation of HVAC systems circa 1992 (BPA Aerial 1992), the addition of security cameras (date unknown), new light fixture (date unknown), and a new single-ply membrane roof circa 2001 (BPA Aerial 2001). Changes to the interior include the addition of fluorescent lighting, VCT flooring, and window blinds (dates unknown). Alterations to the landscaping include the replacement of the original grass lawn with the existing crushed rock circa 1992 (BPA Aerials 1992).

 

Statement Of Significance

Overall, the Switchyard retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. The structure contributes to the historic character and significance of the Midway Substation and is recommended as a contributing resource to the substation district for its association with BPA’s Master Grid development. The resource does not convey sufficient historic significance to be eligible as an individual historic property. The Midway Substation, part of BPA’s master grid development, was constructed near Vernita in Benton County, Washington, in 1941 to serve the Northwest Electric Company and Washington Water Power Company interchange (BPA 1941:73).

Physical Description

Switchyards are, in general the “works” of a substation, and feature a complex arrangement of individual elements that function collectively as a part of the system. Switchyard sites are generally characterized by a vertical superstructure of steel, typically latticework, with conductor, circuit breakers, insulators, transmission towers, and other electrical equipment connect incoming and outgoing transmission lines to a series of grade-mounted transformers, circuit breakers, switches and other equipment. In general, switchyards are “designed to control power flow and transform voltages for distribution (Curran 1998:111),” and then feed low voltage distribution and/or high voltage transmission lines out of the complex. 

Originally installed in 1941, the Switchyard is flat, covered with crushed rock, and bounded by a metal chain-link fence (Z-8814) with access to the north. The Switchyard includes three current transformers, three small oil and five gas circuit breakers below a dead-end tower surrounded by buswork, and three large power transformers with adjacent transformer radiators to the south, and a long row of two potential transformers, six current transformers, and six gas and 42 oil circuit breakers under three dead-end towers surrounded by buswork to the north. 

The switchyard also includes its original transformer track (Z-0000) with cart, a rectangular metal paneled engine generator building with a low pitched front-gabled roof (Z-554), a horizontal oil tank, six original vertical oil tanks atop a slab-on-grade concrete foundation with short concrete retaining wall, as well as multiple small square-shaped metal storage and oil absorbent sheds and concrete paths throughout. 

Moderate alterations to the Switchyard have occurred since its original installation, according to a field investigation completed June 29, 2017 as well as an analysis of aerial images and historic documentation. Changes to the plan include its extension to the east circa 1948 (BPA) and west circa 1964 (BPA Aerial 1964). Other changes to the Switchyard include the addition of two new power transformers circa 1945 and the removal of two by 1958 (BPA Aerial 1958), the installation and removal of capacitor housing in 1949 (BPA) and their removal circa 1964 (BPA Aerial 1964), the construction of the condenser by 1958 and its removal circa 1981 (BPA Aerial 1981), new gas circuit breakers to the south of the transformer circa 2004 (BPA Aerial 2004), and the removal of one of the original four power transformers circa 2009 (BPA Aerial 2009). Gas circuit breakers started to replace original oil circuit breakers starting in 1992 (BPA Aerials 1992-2013).

Bibliography

Bend Bulletin. 1958. “Contract Award Made to Firm.” July 30. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA Aerial). Various dates. “Aerial photos 1954-2007.” Copies on file at Bonneville Power Administration of Multnomah County, Portland, Oregon. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). “2016 Facility Condition Assessment,” VFA Facility Database, 2016. https://facility.vfafacility.com/facility/frameworks/main.jsp. Accessed 5/11/2017. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). 1939. Second Annual Report of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration. United States Department of the Interior. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). 1941. Annual Report of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration to the Secretary of the Interior. U.S. Department of the Interior. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). 1944. Annual Report of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration. U.S. Department of the Interior. BPA.gov. 2017. About Us. Electronic Document, https://www.bpa.gov/news/AboutUs/Pages/default.aspx (accessed March 29, 2017). Curran, Christine Ann. 1998. Master’s Thesis. A Historic Context for the Transmission of Hydroelectricity by the Bonneville Power Administration, 1939-1945. University of Oregon. Daily Capital Journal. 1941. “Raver Orders Speed-up In Line Building.” December 17. Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). 2011. Midway Substation. Property ID 102474. Historic Property Report. Holstine, Craig and Gloria J. J. Lenz. “Bonneville Power Administration Master Grid Discontiguous Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1986. Idaho Statesman. 1951. “Third Power Line Will Strengthen Northwest’s Pool.” December 28. Kramer, George. 2010. Corridors of Power: The Bonneville Power Administration Transmission Network. Historic Context Statement. For the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon under Master Agreement #38010. April. Kramer, George. 2012. Bonneville Power Administration [BPA] Pacific Northwest Transmission System. Multiple Property Documentation Form. National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. Lally, Jessica. 2009. Midway Substation, Historic Property Report. Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Washington. Citing White, Richard. 1995. The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. Harper Collins Canada Ltd. National Park Service (NPS). 1997. “How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation,” National Register Bulletin. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Oregonian. 1941a. “Raver Orders Step-up For Bonneville Work: New Cash Anticipated.” December 17. Oregonian. 1941b. “Transformer Bid of $272,202 Low.” July 4. Oregonian. 1944. “WPB Okehs Line For Bonneville.” August 18. Oregonian. 1949. “Raver Lists BPA Projects.” October 13. Statesman Journal. 1941. “Bonneville Setup To Get $7,000,000.” January 11.

 

Statement Of Significance

Properties associated with energy development, specifically the establishment of the BPA Master Grid, are historically significant because of the role such properties have played in the history of the Pacific Northwest (Holstine, 1988; Kramer 2009). Much of the development and industry of Washington State has ties to the history of energy development, particularly that which is associated with Columbia River hydroelectricity and its supporting energy transmission infrastructure. 

Championed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the development of hydroelectricity was undertaken in order to harness this vast and undeveloped resource in the Pacific Northwest region (Holstine, 1988), thought to contain nearly half of all hydroelectric power available to the United States (White, 1995). It was believed that the entire future of the Pacific Northwest was directly linked to, and dependent upon, the development of the Columbia River (Bonneville Power Administration, history). 

Roosevelt and the United States Congress approved funding and construction of major hydroelectric development within Washington and Oregon, beginning with Bonneville Dam and Grand Coulee Dam in 1933 (Bonneville Power Administration, history). Not long after the completion of the Bonneville Dam, the Bonneville Project Act, later renamed the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) (White, 1995), was approved by Congress with the intent to grant the BPA the authority to establish an electrical transmission system for the distribution of hydroelectric power generated by the dams (Holstine, 1988). 

Commencement of transmission line construction began in 1938, and with each subsequent transmission line completion, the BPA power grid grew larger, connecting more hydroelectric power with portions of Washington State. This interconnected power grid became known as the BPA Master Grid, and the push for its creation was largely based on concerns for national security (White, 1995). Construction work on BPA lines provided jobs during the Depression, specifically for the Works Progress Administration workers who prepared areas where lines and substations were to be erected (Holstine, 1988). 

Later, the electrical generation and transmission of the BPA substations and lines would play a significant and critical role in the United States efforts during World War II (WWII) by providing electricity needed for aluminum and atomic development (Holstine). Beyond opening the region to development and industry, providing jobs during the Great Depression, and enabling atomic development through the provision of electricity, energy development has forever altered our natural and cultural history. It has, in essence, shaped the modern Pacific Northwest. 

The Midway Substation was built as part of the BPA Master Grid and was a critical link in connecting the Bonneville and Grand Coulee into a single system (Holstine, 1988). It is as a part of the BPA Master Grid, which was nominated to the NRHP by Holstine in 1987, that the Midway Substation has a great deal of historical significance. Kramer (2009) also attaches significance to such resources, noting the eligibility of those properties associated with the BPA Transmission Network. However, the Midway Substation also has historical significance outside its direct association with the BPA Master Grid. In fact, the Midway Substation played a critical role in plutonium production through provision of electricity to the Hanford Atomic Works, which ultimately enabled the development of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the close of WWII (White, 1995). Kramer (2009) suggests that a substation, given that it retains sufficient integrity, may be considered eligible to the NRHP as they constitute a portion of the larger BPA Transmission Network. 

As a portion of the BPA Transmission Network, and built as a portion of the original BPA Master Grid, the Midway Substation is a property that has contributed to the broad patterns of national and regional history, carrying with it associations with industry, specifically atomic development during WWII, and federal development of public power in the Pacific Northwest. Given that the Midway Substation does appear to have sufficient integrity to convey its historic significance, it is our recommendation that the Midway Substation is eligible under Criterion A for listing in the NRHP. 

Although this recommendation is based largely upon the buildings constructed in 1941, eligibility may be extended to those built at a later date. This recommendation is justified in that the property is part of the inter-related BPA Network and a portion of the cohesive system. Therefore, the Criterion G exception for buildings less than 50 years old is applicable.

Physical Description

The Midway Substation consists of eight separate buildings built between 1941 and 1990. The two primary buildings, constructed in 1941, include the control house and the untanking tower, built from reinforced masonry. Additional buildings include the following: two battery buildings, constructed in 1990; an engine generator building, constructed in 1975; a flammable storage unit, constructed in 1979; an additional storage unit, constructed in 1975; and a shed, constructed in 1985. The control house is a two-story building with a rectangular floor plan, with cast in place reinforced concrete basement walls and wall-footing foundations. The roof of the building is flat, consisting of steel bar joists with a tongue and grove wood deck. The untanking tower appears to be of similar construction with a few notable differences. The building is single story, with a reinforced concrete foundation and painted concrete exterior walls.

Bibliography

Bonneville Power Administration, history (n.d.) retrieved online October 30, 2009 from http://www.nwcouncil.org/history/BPAHistory.asp Brannan, N., personal communication, October 30, 2009 Holstine, C., (1988) Power to the people: Construction of the Bonneville Power Administration’s ‘Master Grid’, 1939-1945. The Pacific Northwest Forum, Second Series, Volume I, Number 2, pp 35-46. Kramer, G., (2009). Corridors of Power: the Bonneville Power Administration Transmission Network Historic Context Statement. Prepared for the Bonneville Power Administration. Portland, OR. White, R., (1995). The organic machine: the remaking of the Columbia River. Harper Collins Canada Ltd.

Inventories

10/20/2009

Current Status: Review Complete

3.0.22

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Statement Of Significance Odair Transfer Building

 

Grand Coulee Dam is the largest concrete structure ever built in North America with about 12 million cubic yards of concrete and is nearly a mile long in length (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2010, Grand Coulee Powerplant). At the time of its construction it was the largest dam in the world (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1981, p. 375). It was a shining example of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal providing jobs and massive economic stimulus to Washington State in the height of the Great Depression. Additionally the electric power generated by Grand Coulee Dam helped to start the aluminum industry in the Northwest and facilitated World War II production of needed warships, planes, and tanks. Construction of the dam and hydroelectric facilities was from 1933-1950. 

From 1967-1980 a third powerplant was added to Grand Coulee Dam on the right abutment. The power production from 24 generators at Grand Coulee is the largest in the world and the powerplants generate 21,890,698,375 KWH (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1981, p. 375 & U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2010, Grand Coulee Powerplant). Behind Grand Coulee Dam is Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (Lake Roosevelt) that extends 151 miles upriver into Canada (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1981, p. 377). 

Grand Coulee Dam and Powerplants are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under Criteria A & C. Water is pumped up from Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam and is impounded in Banks Lake behind Dry Falls Dam that then makes its way down through the system in a series of six main canals and three reservoirs to reach all of the irrigatable acreage in the Columbia Basin. This system alone consists of over 300 miles of main canals, approximately 2,000 miles of laterals, and 3,500 miles of drains and wasteways. 

The CBP is the largest Reclamation project in Washington. At 670,000 acres under irrigation today, the CBP is still unfinished as it is planned to irrigate over 1,095,000 acres in the project area (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2004, p. 44 & Warne, 1973, p. 127). The project area is in Adams, Douglas, Franklin, Lincoln and Grant Counties. It turned dry-farmed lands and sagebrush into one of the most productive agricultural areas in Washington. 

This project was also to spur settlement of new farms for veterans returning from World War II. After World War II the boom experienced in the development of the CBP was highest from 1952-1959 with about 50,000 acres of land a year coming into irrigation, which was the largest growth to date in the planned 1 million acres (Warne, 1973, p. 138). 

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) construction railroad started at Odair on the Northern Pacific Railroad and ran 30.7 miles up the Grand Coulee to Grand Coulee Dam. This standard gauge railroad was built under contract to supply materials needed in the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. When it was in operation from 1935 to 1950 it transported over 12 million barrels of cement, 46,500 carloads of materials for construction of the dam, 77 million pounds of reinforcing steel along with 10 million pounds of steel just for the 18 penstocks. 

A yard was built at Odair to facilitate the assembly of the twice daily trains as “all carloads of freight going into the Grand Coulee Dam were interchanged from the Northern Pacific to the Government Railroad” at Odair (Bureau asks Bids on R.R. Removal August 10, 1950 as cited in Bolyard, 2010). By May 1951 the equalizing reservoir for the Columbia Basin Project was to be filled. 

Prior to that the Reclamation construction railroad from Odair to Grand Coulee Dam was removed and the Odair Transshipment Building (OTB) was built from 1950-1951. Large equipment for Grand Coulee would still come by railroad to Odair, but it would then be transferred in this heavy crane facility to trucks for shipment to Grand Coulee. The OTB was now the principle point for unloading material and equipment in the construction of the Grand Coulee Pumping Plant and the Third Powerplant for Grand Coulee Dam. The OTB was an intrical part of the plan for this new transportation route to facilitate large freight movements to Grand Coulee entirely via truck (Hall, 1951, p. 92). Giant generators, turbines, pumps, shafts and nearly 5,000 carloads of cement were transferred at Odair including the largest shaft ever built for the third powerplant in 1973 (The New Depot at Coulee City, May 12, 1966 & Dam Large Load at Odair, August 9, 1973 as cited in Bolyard, 2010). The OTB is eligible for the NRHP under Criterion A for its association with the building of Grand Coulee Dam and it retains all seven aspects of integrity.

Physical Description

The Odair Transshipment Building was built from specification No. R1-CB-64. Don Akins, Inc of Ellensburg, Washington was the winning bidder at $48,166.00. Construction started on July 18, 1950 and it was completed by January 8, 1951. This butler steel sided building with a steel frame is 77 feet wide by 80 feet long and 53 feet high. It was built to accommodate the 75-ton Shaw Box bridge-type crane and two railroad tracks. This crane had been temporarily used in the construction of the right powerhouse during construction of Grand Coulee Dam in the 1940s (Hall, 1951, pp. 92 & 93). 

Three pairs of 18 pane steel windows are located on the west and east elevation with 3 power operated steel doors and a pedestrian door on the south side and 2 power operated steel doors on the north side. The roof is a very low pitch gable roof that is asphalt over a steel substructure. Except for the asphalt roof this is an all steel building throughout. When built the building was painted two colors of gray: D.O.-10 gray from the windows to the roof and D.O.-2 gray to the bottom of the windows (Hall, 1951, p. 94). 

The Odair Transshipment Building has an asphalt floor with asphalt parking and a roadway from it leading to Road 37 NE. There are two railroad spur tracks to the building one runs through it and the other stops inside of it for unloading of materials. Adjacent to the OTB is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (ex Northern Pacific) Coulee City branch line. The Odair Transshipment Building remains much the same as when it was built. In 1971 door No. 5 was enlarged to handle taller railcars and loads. A portion of the butler siding on the north side above door No. 4 & 5 has been replaced with new standing seam metal siding in the past 20 years. Additionally the windows were boarded up at that time. In 1971 the original exterior color scheme was still extant, but by 2008 it had been painted white.

Bibliography

Bolyard, Dan (2010) “Big Bend Railroad History”, retrieved October 28, 2010 from http://sdp45.blogspot.com. Bureau asks Bids on R.R. Removal. (August 10, 1950) “The Star”, Grand Coulee, Washington. Dam Large Load at Odair. (August 9, 1973) “News & Standard”, Coulee City, Washington. Hall, Bert A. (1951) “History of the Activities of the Civil and Structural Subdivision – Calendar Year 1950”. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Columbia River District, Columbia Basin Project, Coulee Dam Division: Coulee Dam, Washington. The New Depot at Coulee City. (May 12, 1966) “Grant County Journal”, Ephrata, Washington. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (1981) “Project Data”. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation: Denver, Colorado. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (2004) “Oral History of William Gray”, Bureau of Reclamation Oral History Program, By Brit Storey, April 5-6, 2004. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (2010) “Grand Coulee Powerplant” retrieved on November 5, 2010 from http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb. Warne, W. E. (1973) “The Bureau of Reclamation”. Prager: New York.

 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Statement Of Significance Dry Falls Dam

 

The Columbia Basin Project (CBP) is the largest Bureau of Reclamation project in Washington. At 670,000 acres under irrigation today, the CBP, while huge is still unfinished as it is planned to irrigate over 1,095,000 in the project area (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2004, p. 44 and Warne, 1973, p.127). The project area is in Adams, Douglas, Franklin, Lincoln and Grant Counties and turned dry-farmed lands and sagebrush into one of the most productive agricultural areas in Washington. This project was also to spur settlement of new farms for veterans returning from World War II. 

After World War II the boom experienced in the development of the CBP was highest from 1952-1959 with about 50,000 acres of land a year coming into irrigation, which was the largest growth to date in the planned 1 million acres (Warne, 1973, p. 138). Water is pumped up from behind Grand Coulee Dam and impounded in Banks Lake behind Dry Falls Dam then makes its way down through the system in a series of six main canals and three reservoirs to reach all of the irrigatible acreage in the Columbia Basin. This system alone consists of over 300 miles of main canals, approximately 2,000 miles of laterals, and 3,500 miles of drains and wasteways. The period of significance of the CBP is from 1946-1959 as those were the major construction years for the project. For more information see http://www.usbr.gov/projects and the Columbia Basin Project History. 

South Coulee Dam When built, this structure was designated as the South Coulee Dam, but by 1954 it was called Dry Falls Dam (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1954, p. 11). No information has been found as to why it was renamed. For this report South Coulee Dam will be referred to its current name of Dry Falls Dam. This 9800 ft. long rock-faced earthfill dam was constructed from 1946-1949 to impound water for the main balancing reservoir (Banks Lake) and to regulate flow into the Main Canal for the Columbia Basin Project. Roy L. Blair and Company and James Crick and Sons both of Spokane had the lowest bid of the six received at $2,771,887 and this contracting team was chosen on June 18, 1946 to construct a dam across the south end of the Grand Coulee. 

Contract No. 12r-16203 also called for the construction of “the Main Canal approach channel, headworks structure on the dam, control gates and transition, and the Main canal from Station 2+29 to 24+00” (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 1954, p. 137). Starting in the early fall of 1946 rock excavations cleared the site down to bedrock and built a 30 foot wide cutoff trench in bedrock along the entire length of the dam. During this period there were three blasting fatalities (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 1954, pp. 123 & 140). A 5 to 10 foot high continuous concrete cutoff wall was built, to prevent seepage of water under the dam, into the center line of the cutoff trench three feet or more down into the bedrock (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 1954, p. 144). 

Dry Falls Dam was designed as a zoned earth embankment structure with a narrow impervious central core, a semi-pervious layer on either side of the core, and a layer of rockfill over the semi-pervious layer. Horizontal layers were broken out into three zones. Zone 1 and 2 were built with sheepsfoot rolled earth fill 699,657 total cubic yards of earthen material and Zone 3, the rockfill layer had 930,742 cubic yards of rock (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 1954, pp. 151 & 153). This material was taken from a quarries east and west of Coulee City plus the excavation area for the dam (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1948, p. 179). 

The Main canal headworks was started in March 1948 and completed by June 1949. The headworks also serves as the reservoir outlet as there is no spillway. A total of 7,979.4 cubic yards of concrete were used in the headworks structure. This was nearly half of the 15,639.7 cubic yards of concrete were used in the whole dam. Six 12- by 18-foot radial gates with screw lift vertical gate hoists were installed in the headworks to control the discharge into the canal. The motors for each gate were driven by a totally enclosed 5-horsepower, 60-cycle, 2-speed, 3-phase induction motor and there were three hoist motor controls installed for operation of the six motors (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 1954, pp. 161-162 & 164). 

Washington State Highway No. 10A from Everett to Spokane was relocated during dam construction into the reservoir area. This highway later became United States (Washington State) Highway No. 2 that stretched from Houlton, Maine to Everett, Washington (U. S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2009, p. 1). Upon completion of Dry Falls Dam in September 9, 1949 the highway was moved to the crest of the dam. The wooden guardrails on the crest for the highway were in the original plan, but concrete and steel-beam guardrails were installed per extra work order No. 2 in 1948 (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1946, p. 205 & U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1948, p. 188). The highway on the crest was paved in 1950 (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1949, p. 268). 

The CBP is the largest Reclamation project in Washington and Dry Falls Dam is the headworks for the CBP. The massive scale of the main CBP irrigation features are distinctive characteristics of the project and therefore Dry Falls Dam is eligible under Criterion C as a significant form of 1940s CBP construction. Dry Falls Dam is clearly associated with the irrigation of the Columbia Basin. For without Dry Falls Dam the project could not function, it’s a vital part for the whole system. Therefore Dry Falls Dam also qualifies under Criterion A for the National Register for its association to the CBP.

Physical Description

Dry Falls Dam is situated in the Grand Coulee 30 miles south of Grand Coulee Dam (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1954, p. 21). It is 9,880 feet long with a maximum height being 63 feet above the floor of the Grand Coulee to the crest of the dam. The dam is a three zone earthfill construction with basalt riprap on top. The headworks structure, approach transition, outlet transition are all made of reinforced concrete. Inside of the headworks structure there are six 12' x 18' radial gates that control discharge into the main canal. These gates are controlled by screw-lift radial gates hoists. A 27 mile long reservoir is behind Dry Falls Dam (Banks Lake) that holds 715,000 acre-feet of water (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2010, p. 1). Washington State highway No. 2 crosses over the dam crest. Today Dry Falls Dam retains a majority of its original construction when built. Riprap has added to or repaired on the dam over the last 61 years when needed along with two jettisons added in 1986 near the headworks. Changes that have occurred over the last 50 years to the crest are Washington State Department of Transportation repaving the highway and replaced the guardrails with wood/steel ones as the originals were concrete/steel guardrails. The only major modifications to the dam are on the headworks. By 1964 the hoist gate motors were covered in individual metal housings (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1965, p. 7). In 1986 the electrical controls were redone and a control center was installed in the center of the headworks where an existing hoist motor control had been.

Bibliography

U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (1946) Columbia Basin Project History Calendar Year 1946, Volume 1. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (1948) Columbia Basin Project History Calendar Year 1948, Volume 1. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (1949) Columbia Basin Project History Calendar Year 1949, Volume 1. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (1954) Equalizing Reservoir Dams and the Feeder Canal Technical Record of Design and Construction. Denver, CO: Reclamation Printing Office. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (1965) Condition of Major Irrigation Structures and Facilities Region 1. Boise, ID: Reclamation Printing Office. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (2004) Oral History of William Gray, Bureau of Reclamation Oral History Program, By Brit Storey, April 5-6, 2004. U. S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. (2009) U. S. 2: Houlton, Maine, to Everett, Washington. Retrieved from http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure on May 11, 2010. U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (2010) Dry Falls Dam. Retrieved May 11, 2010, from http://www.usbr.gov/projects Warne, W. E. (1973) The Bureau of Reclamation New York: Prager.

Inventories

03/16/2010

Current Status: Review Complete

3.0.22

 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Statement Of Significance Bacon Tunnel

 

Columbia Basin Project The Columbia Basin Project (CBP) is the largest Reclamation project in Washington. At 670,000 acres under irrigation today, the CBP is still unfinished as it is planned to irrigate over 1,095,000 acres in the project area (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2004, p. 44; Warne, 1973, p. 127). The project area is in Adams, Douglas, Franklin, Lincoln Grant, and Walla Walla Counties. It turned dry-farmed lands and sagebrush into one of the most productive agricultural areas in Washington. This project was also to spur settlement of new farms for veterans returning from World War II. 

After World War II the boom experienced in the development of the CBP was highest from 1952-1959 with about 50,000 acres of land a year coming into irrigation, which was the largest growth to date in the planned 1 million acres (Warne, 1973, p. 138). Water is pumped up from behind Grand Coulee Dam and impounded in Banks Lake behind Dry Falls Dam then makes its way down through the system in a series of six main canals and three reservoirs to reach all of the irrigable acreage in the Columbia Basin. This system alone consists of over 300 miles of main canals, approximately 2,000 miles of laterals, and 3,500 miles of drains and wasteways. See http://www.usbr.gov/projects/ and Columbia Basin Project History for more information about the Columbia Basin Project. Main Canal: 

The CBP Main Canal begins at South Coulee Dam (today called Dry Falls Dam) and travels approximately 21 miles via canals, falls [or through a hydro-electric powerplant], a tunnel , a siphon and a reservoir to the at the bifurcation works north of Adco where the Main Canal splits into the West and East Low Canals. The CBP Main Canal was built from 1946-1951 with construction done in three sections with each section following the completed one (Simmonds, 1998, p. 39-40). While it is like many other Reclamation canals in its construction its size is what separates it from other main canals. Bacon Tunnel: One of those large engineered structures in the CBP Main Canal is the Bacon Tunnel.

Bacon Tunnel was built under Reclamation Specification No. 1236, Schedule No. 2 – Bacon Tunnel and Bacon Siphon, Main Canal, Station 92+75.5 to Station 214. The winning bidder for Schedule No. 2 was T. E. Connolly, Inc. of San Francisco, California with the amount of $3,494,470.00. The contract No. I2r-16311 involved building the Bacon Siphon Inlet Transition, Bacon Siphon, Bacon Tunnel Access House and Transition, Bacon Tunnel, Bacon Tunnel Outlet Closed Transition, Bacon Tunnel Outlet Portal Open Transition and approximately 962 feet of unlined canal between Station No. 204+38 to 214+00. These structures were built approximately 1 and 1/3 miles south of Coulee City (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1948, p. 76; U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1950, p. xiii; Thomas, 1950, p. 1). 

Construction of an access road to the outlet portal location was started on July 26, 1946 and by August the contractor’s construction camp was also started. It is interesting to note that this was before the official notice to proceed was issued on September 16, 1946 by Reclamation. The construction camp was built near the outlet portal and consisted of a mess hall capable of feeding 150 men at a time, an office building, a heating and furnace room, a wash and change house, eight army type barracks, and 20 army hutments that had been leased from Reclamation. The two access roads, one for the outlet and one for the inlet and Bacon Siphon, were both gravel surfaced. A shop area was also constructed at the outlet portal which consisted of a combination battery shop and compressor building in a Quonset Hut, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, a Quonset machine shop, a pumphouse, fenced transformer rack, a large power magazine ½ mile from the camp and portal, and a smaller powder magazine for storage of blasting caps. Water was obtained from a spring and well which was pumped to an above ground 5,000 gallon tank that then distributed water via underground lines to the camp, shops and tunnel. A Quonset Hut warehouse was built on the hill above the camp next to a spur track of the Northern Pacific Railway (Thomas, 1950, pp. 4, 5 & 8). 

While the construction camp was built at the outlet portal a similar shop complex was built at the inlet portal. It consisted of a building with a blacksmith and machine shop inside, a battery charging transfer and electrical shop, a washroom and change house, garage with shop, carpenter shop, three hutments for storage, a truck greasing rack, oil house, and a gas tank with a pump. In order to transfer batched aggregate from trucks a ramp was built to transfer the material to batch cars also in this location. Also located near the siphon location was a framing shed with platform and compressor house located 300 feet east in the bottom of Bacon Coulee. Additionally, two portable powder and primer preparation magazines were built along with a large powder magazine 1,200 feet west of the inlet portal. In 1947 water for the tunnel inlet and Bacon Siphon was obtained from a well that was then pumped to two tanks on the bench above the shops and tunnel to be distributed via underground lines to the shops, tunnel and siphon as required. Electric power to both inlet and outlet locations was supplied by the Grant County Public Utility District via newly constructed electrical lines. Reclamation had also two hutments moved to the jobsite for offices used for the Reclamation construction inspectors (Thomas, 1950, pp. 4 & 5). 

Work on Bacon Tunnel started on December 12, 1946 and it was completed by April 19, 1950. The tunnel was drilled though a 27 foot thick sandstone layer along with a basalt layer above and below it. This project was hampered by strikes in 1947, 1948, and 1950 and on January 22, 1947 a large section of basalt columns above the outlet fell at 6:20pm. Thankfully nobody was under the portal at that time as the heading crews had already gone into the tunnel just before these rocks fell. The excavation of the tunnel was started first at the outlet portal. Then on April 9, 1947 the inlet portal was started with drills and dynamite and by August 18, 1948 the tunnel was holed through. Excavation of the tunnel was done with five Conway mucking machines and the material was hauled away on a narrow gauge railway in 13 Koppel side dump cars powered by six locomotives. The Bacon Tunnel was lined with concrete and the first concrete was placed in the transition sections at the outlet portal on September 7, 1948 (Thomas, 1950, pp. 2, 6, 10, 14 & 21-22). 

Concrete in the tunnel was placed in sidewall and arch lining forms which “were raised or lowered by means of 30-ton hydraulic jacks set within the vertical support frames, or legs of the form carriages” (Thomas, 1950, p. 30). The tunnel was also grouted along its route starting at the outlet portal on September 12, 1949. Concrete placement was done in sections and all of the concrete work was completed by April 6, 1950 with grouting done seven days later. April 6, 1950 was also the date the access house and inlet portal transition to the Bacon Siphon was completed (Thomas, 1950, pp. 12-13, 35, 39). THE Bacon Tunnel was considered as finished on ___

 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Powered Parachute Ride

Back in October 2005 I had an opportunity to get a powered parachute ride. These are the only ones I can find.

 

My house, when I lived near Ephrata. I miss being close to the tracks.


Site of the old Purdy scrapyard outside of Ephrata.



Just before takeoff.


Near the Soap Lake sag.



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright'ning..."

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

May 5, 2017

Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad was on the move as numerous, heavily charged electrical storms brewed, collided and moved through Central and Eastern Washington during the night of Thursday (Thor’s Day) May 4th and into small hours of Friday the 5th. Though I myself was not working, I decided to forgo sleep and exploit the opportunity to follow my colleagues Engineer Ted Curphey and Conductor Gary Durr headlong – literally – into the storm(s) to bag some lightning-train images. Early on it seemed I had made a bad bargain: a previous storm had petered out. Then, as the crew began setting out empties at Almira (scene at hand), a fierce storm began exploding on the near South-Southwest horizon. Lightning flashes could be measured less than seconds apart. Thousands of mostly horizontal intracloud and many vertical, negatively charged immixed with unmistakable positively charged cloud-to-ground strikes illuminated the ominous atmosphere in paroxysms of divine flash bursts. Later, at Hanson, Ted brings the train into the longest tangent on the line as an intracloud and a stepped leader bolt discharge from Thor's Mjölnir. Yet there are just a few rain drops. I am dry though the air is noticeably electrified. Image made, I’m en route to the next station of Hartline and then all Hell breaks loose as the skies open and a deluge of biblical proportions with golf ball sized hailstones is unleashed. Wipers: unable to keep up. Fusilladed: like the business end of a 50 cal. Lightning: strobing in rapid succession. I am forced to a crawl but make into Hartline before Ted and the train - itself sustaining numerous strikes - where the inclemency finally subsides nearly an hour later. 


Monday, January 18, 2021

“Mjölnir Strikes Hanson”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

May 5, 2017

Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad was on the move as numerous, heavily charged electrical storms brewed, collided and moved through Central and Eastern Washington during the night of Thursday (Thor’s Day) May 4th and into small hours of Friday the 5th. Though I myself was not working, I decided to forgo sleep and exploit the opportunity to follow my colleagues Engineer Ted Curphey and Conductor Gary Durr headlong – literally – into the storm(s) to bag some lightning-slash-train images. Early on it seemed I had made a bad bargain: a previous storm had petered out. Then, as the crew began setting out empties at Almira, a fierce storm began exploding on the near south-southwest horizon. Lightning flashes could be measured less than seconds apart. Thousands of mostly horizontal intracloud and many vertical, negatively charged imixed with unmistakable positively charged cloud-to-ground strikes (as seen in the left background of the image) illuminated the ominous atmosphere in paroxysms of divine flash bursts. Here, just past MP91, at Hanson Ted brings the train into the longest tangent on the line as an intracloud and a stepped leader bolt from Thor's Mjölnir discharge. Yet there are just a few rain drops. I am dry though the air is noticeably electrified. Image made, I’m en route to the next station of Hartline and then all Hell breaks loose as the skies open and a deluge of biblical proportions with golfball sized hailstones is unleashed. Wipers: unable to keep up. Fusilladed: like the business end of a 50 cal. Lightning: strobing in rapid succession. I am forced to a crawl but make into Hartline before Ted and the train - itself sustaining numerous strikes - where the inclemency finally subsides nearly an hour later. 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

"Golden Grain Train"

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

March 16, 2017
 
Magic light catches an Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad “Scoot Train” hustling empties west just east of Davenport. Spring rains and runoff have filled to overflowing creeks, streams, rivers, and every depression in the land, here creating a partial mirror of the train save for the near perpetual wind that sweeps across the endless wheat lands of Eastern Washington; the auric harvest thereof soon to be spouted – overnight – into the 13 covered hoppers on today’s train to be spotted at grain-growing communities further west, in turn, to return east with their bellies full of Evergreen State golden grain: sustenance for the world’s hungry mouths. 


Saturday, January 16, 2021

“Concrete and Steel Sunset”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

April 14, 2017

The sun has turned her back on the day as she always does. Taking back what she had given freely only hours ago. Yet the scene plays nicely to a Zwielicht capture though pushing the limits of limited light necessitating a high ISO to record this “grainy” concrete and steel, pinkish-salmon like sunset image of an eastbound Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad grain train slipping and snaking between the monolithic mortar elevators through the downgrade S-curve at Govan just as one of the less than five residents passes me with a curious stare, obviously wondering what in the world I’m doing only to realize – no doubt – the object of my focus when she meets and waits for the train to pass at the next and last bucked “town” grade crossing.



Friday, January 15, 2021

“Imminent Deep Creek Eminence”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

April 25, 2017

O-four-hundred. Night is winding down as we approach Richey Road crossing. Nothing but quiet as darkness so well does, but daybreak is just around the earth’s bend, and a few belly-full early birds - having caught their juicy worm - are flying notes from branches on high. Closer, in the distance we see its deltoid beam searching the nebulous nimbus above the conifer spikes betraying its angle of attack on infamous Deep Creek Hill with more tonnage in tow than you can shake…well, you know. The many-miled EMD motors – two 45’s and a 40 Tunnel – make short shrift of their charge as they slip around the Hill’s penultimate curve on their final assault, cresting and taking the high ground at a comfortable 11 per in notch 8 at the deft hands of Engineer Steven Welch: the trio of 645’s each inhaling some 12,500 cfm of night-cooled air, exhausting it 700 degrees“warmer" than the chilly 41 ambient. Anabasis complete, the last few mile poles to tie up at Highline Grain are an easy campaign…until the next imminent Deep Creek eminence. 




Thursday, January 14, 2021

"Eye of the Tiger"

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

April 26, 2017

 
A Hyatt journal box of Eastern Washington Gateway (NIWX) SD45 328 as "seen" through a knothole in the abandoned Coulee City Potlatch Yards coal shed.

A composite of two exposures of the same image. Not done this before, but wanted to bring the best of both into one image: the texture of the wood and, as you noted, depth of field.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

"Danger Close"

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

April 26, 2017

An easting "Z" isn't cutting time any slack as the hogger has his train negotiating the rapid succession of winding superelevated doubletrack curves just west of Bluestem bearing down on this obscure gravel road crossing at speed - F-60 - with stacked Swift, Hunt, and Schneider containers following their four-unit lead in form.