Wednesday, February 6, 2008

S.D. Butcher: Electric Light Plant @ Kearney, Nebraska

This real photo postcard was produced by the famous Nebraska photographer, Solomon D. Butcher. This is one of about 450 photos in a collection that I had put together from 2000-2007. I have since parted with them but do have scans of each and would like to some day do a book on Butcher and his postcards.

This particular view shows the electric light & power plant at Kearney, Nebraska sometime around 1900-1908. The building was built in the early 1890s by the Frank Impovment Company which was run by George Washington Frank. Frank was instrumental in many of the community's early economoic development projects. Tune in again this week for another post about Frank and the exquisite house he built at Kearney.

On the morning of November 27th, 1900, a disaster in the making was discovered. Workmen arriving noticed water coming through the embankment above the power house. After trying to stop the flow of water, help was summoned from town. Townspeople and local farmers swarmed to the area to try to stop the enevitable from happening. They were unsuccessful as the flowing water eventually succeeded in destroying a portion of the building pictured. It was rebuilt and in operation until at least 1909. You can read more about the disaster and history of the power projects at Kearney here. There are also a number of pics showing the result of the disaster and future water projects that were constructed in the 1920s. (I am not certain but I believe the canal was to the Northwest of where the University of Kearney is now located).

If you are interested in Kearney postcards please visit my website where you will find a number of wonderful cards offered.

No comments: