Dodge Hamtramck Plant New Powerhouse Description and Photos

The original powerhouse for the Dodge factory was built in 1910, but became hopelessly inadequate as the complex expanded enormously in the 1910s. The new powerhouse consists of three distinct segments, all designed by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls. The first (1920) is a steel and reinforced concrete building with brick exterior walls and a flat roof, completed in February 1921 at a cost of $3.5 million. It is 103 feet wide, 170 feet long, and 92 feet high and is surmounted by four large steel smokestacks, each 13 feet in diameter and 270 feet high. It housed eight coal-fired boilers fed by a mechanized coal conveyor system running on the top floor of the building directly under the base of the stacks. The boilers were replaced with gas-fired units in the mid-1960s. The second segment (1923) is a steel-framed rectangular building, 58 feet wide and 85 feet long, with a clerestory roof monitor, and an eastern facade of brick and concrete. This segment, located on the northwest corner of the 1920 building, housed the turbines which drove four 10,000 KW generators supplying the plant with all of its electric power until they were removed in the early 1960s.

Finally, in 1925 the third segment was added on the north facade of the turbine room. This third section is 32 feet wide, 130 feet long, steel-framed with a flat roof, and was built to house the electrical switching gear required in the powerhouse. It also has an eastern facade of brick and concrete standing 85 feet high. Even where the original electrical switches were taken out of service, they have generally remained extant. However, the only other vintage equipment remaining here are two air compressors located on the lower level of the turbine room. One is a Worthington Feather Valve (ca. 1920) steam-driven compressor, with a low-speed, high-pressure, horizontal engine driving a pair of horizontal, tandem-mounted air cylinders, one high and one low-pressure. It was manufactured at the Worthington Pump and Machinery Corporation's Laidlaw Works in Cincinnati. The other air compressor was a large Ingersoll-Rand Type 10, built in 1926.

Dodge Hamtramck Plant POWER HOUSE, BOILER ROOM FLOOR PLAN, 1920
POWER HOUSE, BOILER ROOM FLOOR PLAN, 1920

Dodge Hamtramck Plant POWER HOUSE, MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT FLOOR PLAN, 1920
POWER HOUSE, MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT FLOOR PLAN, 1920

Dodge Hamtramck Plant POWER HOUSE, GALLERY FLOOR PLAN, 1920
POWER HOUSE, GALLERY FLOOR PLAN, 1920

Dodge Hamtramck Plant POWER HOUSE, FAN AND ASH ROOM FLOOR PLAN, 1920
POWER HOUSE, FAN AND ASH ROOM FLOOR PLAN, 1920

Dodge Hamtramck Plant POWER HOUSE, EAST ELEVATION, 1920
POWER HOUSE, EAST ELEVATION, 1920

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