Historic Tour 8: Powerhouse
The first power in Sand Springs was made available in 1911 and came from a portable generator attached to a flatbed railroad car brought into town by none other than Charles Page. The Sand Springs Power and Water Company would soon replace it; its first building's construction began in 1911 as well. This building, which would soon come to be known as the Powerhouse, supplied power for not only the local residents, but also local industries and the streetcars.
(The first part of the building is pictured here and was built in 1911 and 1912.)
Charles Page hired C.H. Tingley, photographed below, to design, engineer, build, and operate the power and water facility. An expert in his field, Tingley also served as Tulsa's first electrical inspector and Sand Springs' first mayor (1912-1915). By 1914, the power plant housed five dynamos and gas engines. Each produced 10,000 kilowatts, enabling Sandites to enjoy all the conveniences of modern life, from streetlights and streetcars to telephones.
(C.H. Tingley beside a generator.)
As the population of Sand Springs grew rapidly in the 1910s and 1920s, the Sand Springs Power and Water building grew as well. In 1919, Sand Springs had a population of 5,000 people and the facility had grown to three buildings, the plant, the warehouse, and the machine shop. The Powerhouse was part of the infrastructure crucial to supporting Charles Page's industrial district.
(The three buildings of the Powerhouse are pictured here.) (Newspaper article about powerhouse.)
Following Charles Page's death in 1926, the Sand Springs Home sold the Sand Springs Power and Water Company to Oklahoma Power and Water. The City of Sand Springs took over the water district in 1950, replacing the leaky wooden piping with steel and concrete over the next several years. The Powerhouse is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
(A southern view of the building showcases the spray ponds, used to cool the engines within.)