Friday, April 25, 2014
On Easter weekend of 2014, Ninja and I met with our newly married friends terapr0 and tash.0 and set our collective sights on Niagara Falls, more specifically, the long abandoned HEPCO (Hydro Electric Power Company of Ontario) building just west of the ferocious horseshoe falls that are one of the seven wonders of the world. I assume millions of tourists flock to Niagara Falls each year to take in its beauty and majesty. But only a small handful venture off of the beaten path of the tourist trap and explore its abandoned history.
With a passion not only for exploring, draining and craning, terapr0 is also passionate and knowledgeable about Niagara Falls and it's inner workings, so much so that he proclaims momentarily after gaining entry that he must research the exact use of the structure as soon as possible. He opines possibilities beyond my level of comprehension but assures me he will share whatever he discovers.
This is what terapr0 learned and shared, only days later, in his own words...
"Set well back from the garish hustle of the Niagara Falls tourist area lies an unassuming brick building. Looking tired from decades of neglect, the casual observer wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it was just another empty building, in an area rife with derelict structures. There are no signs or headstones to tell you what this building was, when it was built or how it played a pivotal role in the development of modern society as we know it today. Like so many other historically significant buildings in Niagara Falls, this monument to human achievement and innovation has been forgotten.
Constructed sometime between 1903-1904, the transformer house of the Electrical Development Company was the apparatus through which electricity produced at the main generating station could be stepped up in voltage and transmitted to markets as far away as Toronto. What seems commonplace now, was actually a marvel of technical ingenuity at the time – humans had only just discovered and begun to perfect the generation and transmission of AC power, and the plant of the Electrical Development Company was on the forefront of this technical revolution.
Connected to the main power station by 4 underground conduits, the building was designed to take the electricity from the plants massive generators, channel it through fifteen oil-immersed, water-cooled 2,670kw transformers, where it would be stepped up to 40,000, 50,000 or 60,000 volts for long distance transmission. Once stepped up to a suitable voltage, the power was routed through porcelain bushings at the rear of the building where it joined the long-distance transmission line constructed by the Toronto and Niagara Power Company. Until this point in history, it was only possible to transmit electricity short distances, and at relatively low voltages. Through the pioneering work of the famed inventor and physicist Nikola Tesla, companies like the Electrical Development Co. were some of the first to experiment with these exciting new technologies on a grand scale.
The next time you turn on your TV or flip a light switch, stop to think for a minute about that electricity, where it came from, and how it got there. It’s an incredible story with many chapters and many players, but if you trace it back to the beginning you’ll find yourself at buildings like this at Niagara Falls. Although I doubt anything meaningful will ever be done to preserve this building, or the actual generating stations themselves, I hope that through my photos and words you can come to understand at least a bit about them, and why they mean so much to me."
I couldn't have said it better myself, and thanks to terapr0, I don't have to.
Cheers my friend it has been a pleasure and a joy getting out there exploring with you and your wonderful wife. Even worth all the bee stings and tick infestations and mould infections and allergy attacks, can't wait till next time!
And then we went our separate ways, to our respective family Easter get togethers. And we cheered and ate and basked in love.
And so now without any further adieu, come with us and explore the abandoned
Electrical Development Company's transformer house...
From atop the roof, I could hear Niagara Falls roaring
"A view out onto the 50 ton gantry track which would have been used to install and service the enormously heavy transformers and switches. Unfortunately it was parked down at the far end, inaccessible without rope." -terapro
The final photo, our group shot, was taken by terapr0 @ tohellandback
Extra special thanks to terapr0 for the excellent research and willingness to share it with us to be featured here.
Thanks again terapr0 and tash.0, it has been a joy exploring with you guys.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Shortly after our tense and incredibly awkward interaction with Mr. Doxsee inside the Doxsee House, we find ourselves scoping out the property of the North Big Island House. We are slightly befuddled at first to find that the lawn had been manicured very recently. I'm talking yesterday or this morning, with the grass mowed right up to the vine covered walls of this dilapidated green gem of an abandoned house.
With a drive by, we discover that the neighbours must tend to the property, as the lawns appear to have been cut simultaneously. We are unaware though if these neighbours are the owners of the property or not. Either way, they are an older couple and they just happen to be sitting in rocking chairs in the shade on their front porch next door, sipping what I automatically assume is iced tea.
After the intense experience with Mr. Doxsee less than half an hour behind us in the rear view mirror, we are feeling pretty frisky, and we've come this far, so let's fucking do this.
Senses heighten, nerves fray, excitement overtakes.
And just like that, we're inside, absorbing it all, in silence, again.
The ground floor blows us away, much of it still in pristine condition, containing many fascinating contents to search through and a vibe of a time long gone by. It is a thrilling experience, but we are very aware of the neighbour situation and move through the house much quicker than I would prefer. A return visit may be in order. So much history to be uncovered, I feel as though I just scratched the surface here.
Enter at your own risk
Living in the past
So good, and good for you
As the light burns dim
Woody would peck her (The Globe And Mail Arts section - Saturday June 4, 2011)
Just another plate on the wall
Propane and propane accessories
The elephant in the room
Acoustic guitar solo
The beat of my own drum
The day the music died
The wicker throne
Like yesterday never left
Panning for gold
A guiding light no more
She played the spoons
Silver spoon fed
The world isn't black and white
Upstairs, well that was a different story. Decay decay decay.
The light no longer shines from within
The blue bed
Boom beddy bye bye
Waking up into a nightmare
No rest for the wicked
Time does not heal all wounds
Mirror mirror in my hand...
SUNSHINE by Ludwig Bemelmans
Vacation unknown destination (Kodachrome Transparency Processed by Kodak)
Life goes on (Kodachrome Transparency Processed by Kodak)
And then we are gone, having remained invisible.
Going going gone
And then we make our way back to to the camp site to climb the dunes and swim in the lake and chill fireside, enjoying our Sandbanks Summer 2013 Camping Tour.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES