I’ve Got The Power…..

Power D

Generations of families living near the Susquehanna River in Plymouth, or passing over the Carey Avenue Bridge, have grown accustom to seeing the huge smokestacks looming in the background. 

Power in the 50s

1950s (?) era picture with smokestacks in background

While the smokestacks have been dormant for many decades, and in some ways, have even changed with the times because, apparently, they now have something to do with providing cellular service, they still stand as a monument to a more powerful time—a time when humans first became God-like in their ability to provide artificial light, on a grand scale, during the darkest hours of the night.

"I've Got The Power......."
"I've Got The Power........"

In 1882, the first commercial power station opened in New York City.   Just two years later, The Wilkes-Barre Electric Company, along with Hildreth & Co. (Nanticoke), started offering service in some areas of Luzerne County.   

"I've Got The Power........”

Locally, it was primarily our West Side Communities that were the pioneers in electrical power and lighting for the area.  Nanticoke, Kingston, Wyoming, Forty Fort, Luzerne, Plymouth and Shickshinny all constructed power plants to meet the growing needs of this exciting, new industry. 

"I've Got The Power........It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic”

“I’ve Got The Power……..It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda hectic……”

"I've Got The Power........It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic”

Eventually, they all merged and consolidated into one big “light plant” that took over the responsibility for serving the entire area, which is what you still see standing today  at the river’s edge, on the corner of Bridge and Beade Streets.  Built in 1905, it was the fifth power plant erected in Plymouth.   

b Power

The very first power plant to operate in Plymouth opened in 1886 on Cherry Street.  During the early years of the lighting industry, commercial lighting was only furnished during “lighting hours” and only street lights were on the “moonlight”, or “all night”, schedule. I find it compelling to contemplate the notion that at one point humans had little control over darkness, and then we found a way to master the darkness by distributing artificial light. 

Abandoned Pennsylvania:  "I've Got The Power...."

"I've Got The Power........It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic”  {EXPLORE}Can you spot the wire hanger still in place on the wall?

Today, the Plymouth Light Plant still stands, in a state of semi-abandonment.  The front portion of the building, bordering Bridge Street, is used as a rental storage facility, while the back portion of the structure remains unused.  The grounds around the back, with all of the “High Voltage” electrical service structures, make up the UGI Electrical Service Plymouth Substation. 

Power I
Power A

A big “thanks” to the Plymouth Historical Society for providing me with the information about the Plymouth Power Plant!  I was unable find anything on my own…..

Power Ghost Sign

Luzerne County Gas & Electric Corporation “ghost sign” overlooking the Susquehanna River

Power H
a Power

Power 9

Power 7

Power 6
Power 5

Power 4
Power 3
Power 2
Power J
Power F
Power B
Power C
Power E
I've Got The Power
Power G

Power 12

Smokestack as it looks from the front of the home

that belonged to my grandparents on Beade Street


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Cheri Sundra © 2012
All Rights Reserved

    • polanofp@comcast.net
    • November 12th, 2012


    Fascinated about the “Power Plant” on Cherry Street! Could it have been next to that creek that nobody seems to know the name of? Was it a part of the old Washington Works? You need to look into this more closely! I have several classmates who lived on Cherry Street and they just might recall hearing stories from their grandparents!

    If you have any pictures of the Carey Avenue Bridge Power plant, you might just notice the “spillway” on the lower right hand corner of any pictures taken from the bridge. That’s where the raw sewage and mine drainage came pouring into the river. I wonder if they’ve sealed that orifice up?

    Someday we should meet in the Plymouth area and I’ll try to take you on a walk down memory lane in the Plymouth Mountain! I’m sure we can find some interesting albeit forgotten history there!

    Keep up the good work!

    Best, Frank

    • Hello Frank,

      I have information about all of the power plants in Plymouth….I just didn’t include them in my post because I like to write about history for people like me, with short attention spans! 😉

      The first one was at the Wren Foundry on Cherry Street and it opened in 1886. Plymouth, Light, Heat and Power Co organized in Dec of 1886 and opened on Main Street near the D, L & W Station. West Electric Light, Heat and Power opened March 1900 from the Ambrose West Hosiery Mill. And last but not least, the West Electric and Gas Company December of 1902 and it was a consolidation of the previous two companies…..

      Hope this helps!

    • Anonymous
    • November 12th, 2012

    Lived across Main St and up on the hill across from this power plant. Have never been in side and I am fascinated by the pictures and some of the background. Thanks

    • Ray
    • November 28th, 2012

    The name of the creek could be Nottingham creek. Usually pronounced Nottingham Crik.

    • Bob Hatcher
    • November 29th, 2012

    I always thought that this complex or part of it was originally part of the Billy Lance Colleriy

    • James E. Goulstone
    • December 14th, 2012

    Jim Goulstone December 14th, 2012 I remember the creek being called Browns crik.

    • James E. Goulstone
    • December 14th, 2012

    I lived next to that creek on 52 Church and remember the cellar being flooded during tropical storms Hazel and Diane in 57 or 59 I believe. The house is still there but the creek has bin filled in.

  1. Recently acquired this postcard with a view of the power plant and the breaker.

    • Anonymous
    • February 7th, 2013

    interesting to discover abandoned places they are quite photogenic in their state of decay and silenced as they stand

  1. August 31st, 2015

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