Georgetown Steamplant

Yesterday I received an email about an open house at the Georgetown Steamplant today. It is open every second Saturday but it seems today was special as they would have a presentation on future plans. I’ve had it on my list for several years. One time I went but it wasn’t open. I think the monthly tours were closed down for about a year but have started up again within the past year.

I went but didn’t attend the presentation or take the tour. I read through the posters, though.  Seems they want to “partner with a local non-profit” to manage the operation of the facility.  One of those on their list was the Museum of Flight.  From what I know as a volunteer there for 5 years, this kind of place is most definitely not their mission! Some arts organizations were also mentioned. Whaaat?    But MOHAI was not.  How is that possible?  The Museum of History and Industry seems tailor made to run a place like the Steamplant.

It was built between 1906 and 1907 at a cost of $1 million, equivalent to $26 million today. It is a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and houses the only two Curtis vertical turbine generators left in place in the entire world.

One of the boilers has been converted to natural gas so it can be operated when an engineer needs to renew their license.

one of many boilers

I sketched the building from the car before it opened.   This is my tiny 3×5 book.

Then I wandered the plant for about an hour, taking a lot of photos. It seemed very monochromatic so I decided to sketch this generator as it has a little color! It is a 10 megawatt alternating current generator made by General Electric.

Side note.  I’d watched a Thomas Schaller DVD from the library early this morning.  I applied some of his shadow mixing techniques in this sketch!

I culled 160 photos down to about 100. They are here:

About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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5 Responses to Georgetown Steamplant

  1. miatagrrl says:

    Thanks for reporting on this for a possible future outing. . . great sketches! Can’t wait to go there. And I agree totally — this should be right up MOHAI’s alley (Museum of Flight??! Umm, does it look like steam generators can fly??)!

    – Tina

  2. Michele says:

    Wonderful sketches and reportage, Kate. Love the scale and values.

  3. joantav says:

    Kate, you do so well sketching these huge objects…steamplants, planes, etc!!!

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