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logo
Eastern Sierra Nevada
Power Plant Construction
California Electric Power Corporation
Nevada Power, Milling, & Mining Co.
Southern Sierras Power Company

Rush Creek
Owens Gorge

substation
Main Substation of the Southern Sierras Power Company - San Bernardino, CA

This is the southern terminus of the 238 mile steel tower transmission line from the Control Station on Bishop Creek. Here current is received from four sources for distribution - from the eleven hydro plants in the North; from the San Bernardino steam-electric generating plant, from the interconnections with the Southern California Edison Company's system, and from the San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company through the Rincon interconnection.

Power is distributed here to all points on the System in Southern California and for resale in Arizona and Lower California.
This station was completed in 1927

All photos and text are from The Huntington Library Digital Collection unless otherwise noted

See USE NOTICE on Home Page.


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Historic Overview of the Rush Creek and Lee Vining Creek Hydroelectric Projects
by Valarie H. Diamond and Robert A. Hicks

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Rush Creek Powerhouse
Silver Lake, Agnew Lake, Gem Lake, Grant Lake

rush creek
Water from Rush Meadows, Gem and Agnew Reservoirs is supplied through 4,296' of
steel pipe line from Gem Lake to Agnew Junction, from which point two steel pressure
lines, 4,261' and 4,280', respectively, deliver water to the powerhouse.
The generating equipment consists of two horizontal impulse water wheels with
combined capacity of 16,000 horsepower connected to two alternating current
generators with a combined capacity of 11,250 Kv-a.
Power generated at the Rush Creek Plant is transmitted to a Control Station 54 miles.
rush creek
Interior of the Rush Creek Power Plant - circa 1908

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant

transformers
Silver Lake transformers

burn up
Generator after burn-up

burn up
Generator after burn-up

burn up
Generator after burn-up

lakes
Top to Bottom: Rush Meadows Lake, Gem Lake, Agnew Lake


silver lake
Rush Creek Powerhouse complex near Silver Lake

rush meadows dam
Rush Meadows Dam - Rush Creek
This is a single arch type reinforced concrete structure with a straight overflow gravity
section and reinforced concrete abutment at junction of arch and spillway.
The dam was completed in 1925.


dams
Gem Lake Dam

rush meadows dam
Rush Meadows Dam - Rush Creek

rush meadows dam
Rush Meadows Dam - Rush Creek

agnew dam and reservoir

Agnew Dam and Reservoir - July 1927
The dam consists of 4 arches of 40' span each and 2 of smaller span supported
by heavy concrete abutments.
This dam has a production value of 697,000 kilowatt-hours when released and
used through the Rush Creek Power Plant.
Tram 2 to Gem Lake and the Gem Dam can be seen in the upper right.


gem lake reservoir
Gem Lake Reservoir - Rush Creek
This is the main storage reservoir for the Rush Creek Power Plant.
It has a storage capacity of 18,424 acre feet and a production value of 18,424,000
kilowatt-hours.

gem lake dam

Gem Lake Dam
Water spilled from this dam is impounded by Agnew Dam.



grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam
This is a timber-faced, rock-filled structure impounding water for use on the Cain Ranch

grant lake reservoir
Grant Lake Reservoir
Situated below the Rush Creek Hydro-Electric Plant, this reservoir has a present
capacity of 10,111 acre feet. The water impounded here is used for irrigation
of the Cain Ranch.

grant lake camp
Grant Lake Camp

grant lake camp
Company cars at Grant Lake Camp

camp
Grant Lake Camp

grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam construction

grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam construction

grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam construction

grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam construction

grant lake dam
Transporting rock to the Grant Lake Dam

grant lake dam
Loading rock to the Grant Lake Dam

grant lake dam
Using hoist to load rock for the Grant Lake Dam construction
hoist
Loading rock to the Grant Lake Dam

grant lake dam
Unloading rock at the Grant Lake Dam

grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam under construction

grant lake dam
Grant Lake Dam under construction
 

hauling pipe
Hauling steel pipe to the Rush Creek Powerhouse in the winter

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Silver Lake area to Agnew Lake (Tram 1) and Agnew Lake to Gem Lake (Tram 2)

tram 1
Typical angle sheave on Tram 1

tram 1
Clearing the tracks on Tram 1 after a severe snow storm

tram
Tram 1 showing the styles of angle sheaves, spools and rollers
and the rope threaded on them

tram
Tram 1 showing the styles of angle sheaves, spools and rollers
and the rope threaded on them

tram
Tram car loaded with cement

tram
Tramway #1 coming from the Silver Lake area

tram 2
Tram 2 - 1715 lineal feet of inclined trestle from Agnew Lake to Gem Lake


tram 2
Tram 2 running from Agnew Lake to Gem Lake

tram 2
Lumber being transported up Tramway #2. The lumber was chained down to the
body of the car and the chain was pulled tight by the use of a ratchet jack.
agnew tram
The top of the Agnew Lake tram

station 14

Station #14 on the tram

tram at aspen flat

The tram at Aspen Flat

tram 2
Gasoline driven double hoist used during construction of Tramway #2

tram 2
Tramway #2 showing a rock car.
The all steel aggregate car being hauled up Tramway #2 weighed 3000 lbs and had a
capacity of 4 cubic yards of rock. An average of four trips an hour were made under
maximum operating conditions .
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benton
Hauling equipment from the SPNG station at Benton to Rush Creek PH

rush

Hauling equipment from the SPNG station at Benton to Rush Creek PH

rush creek
30" valve on its way from the SPNG depot in Benton to Rush Creek PH

water wheel
Water wheel on its way from the SPNG depot in Benton to Rush Creek PH

steel pipe
Steel pipe storage yard at Benton for Rush Creek PH
transformer haul
Transformer being hauled to the Rush Creek powerhouse at Silver Lake

rush construction
Rush Creek Powerhouse construction

rush powerhouse

Rush Creek Powerhouse construction - 11-11-15

gate
A 7.5 ton 48" gate valve

tram
Starting up the Rush Creek Tram with 3.5 tons of cement.

grant lake tent and bunkhouse
Grant Lake tent bunkhouse

dangerous curve

Rounding a dangerous curve in the tram.
greek crew
Greek rock crew waiting for dinner

unloading pipe

Unloading pipe off of the tram

silver lake
Stopping for a break on the way to Silver Lake

silver lake
Heading to Silver Lake via snow shoes and sled

silver lake
On the road to Silver Lake

silver lake
Heading up to Silver Lake

tractor at silver lake

Tractor hauling materials at Silver Lake

silver lake
Winter traffic on the way to Silver Lake

agnew dam
Agnew Dam construction

agnew lake portage

Agnew Lake portage

agnew lake

Agnew Lake tram

agnew lake hoist

Agnew Lake hoist



gem lake dam construction
Concrete plant and trestle on Gem Lake dam construction

gem lake dam
Gem Lake dam construction camp

gem lake
Gem Lake Dam construction

gem lake dam

Gem Lake Dam construction

gem lake dam
Gem Lake Dam construction

gem lake dam
Gem Lake Dam construction

gem lake dam

Gem Lake dam construction
gem lake dam
Gem Lake dam construction

rush
cabelway car in the dumping position at the crushing plant

gem lake dam site

Gem Lake dam site

hoist
Cableway between the rock pit and the crushing plant
hoist
Cableway car

hoist
Crushing plant bunkers

hoist
Cableway car over lake

crushing plant

Rock crushing plant
rush creek
Dwelling on the way to the Rush Creek Power Plant

 

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Interior of powerhouse generator room showing generator units at
foreground right, governors and control valves
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior showing exciter No. 1. Small Pelton-Doble impulse
wheel in foreground
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior showing exciter No. 1. Hand-controlled gate valve shown on nozzle to Pelton-Doble impulse wheel
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior showing exciter No. 1 in foreground,
Exciter No. 2, and generator units behind
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior, detail of Exciter No. 2
General Electric generator showing copper commutator and carbon brushes
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior showing Exciter No. 2 small Pelton-Doble
impulse wheel, hand-controlled gate valve, and nozzle.
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior showing Exciter No. 2 with Exciter No. 1 behind
overhead crane dangles at top of photo
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
East side/North end Exterior of Rush Creek Powerhouse
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
East side exterior of powerhouse building showing tailrace
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)
rush creek
Rush Creek Power Plant
Powerhouse interior, Exciter No. 2 showing General Electric induction motor in series between Pelton-Doble impulse wheel and General Electric generator
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)

rush creek
Stereogram of Sierra Nevada storm approaching the Rush Creek area
(Photo and text courtesy Library of Congress)


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Owens Gorge Powerhouses
Owens River

adams plant
Adams Main Plant
This is a stream flow plant, to which water is supplied through 659' of Redwood
flume and 3,214' of steel pressure pipe, varying in diameter from 7' to 6'.
Power generated at the Adams Main Plant together with that received from
the Adams Auxiliary Plant is transmitted to Control Station over a branch line
connecting with the Northern Division Tie Line.
The outdoor substation located at the Adams Main Plant includes a steel bus
structure,lightning arrester and high voltage switching equipment in
addition to the bank of 3,500 Kv-a transformers.

adams plant interior
Adams Plant interior
The hydraulic installation consists of one 7,500 horsepower, 400 RMP reaction turbine complete
with oil pressure governor equipped with electric remote speed control, load limit
attachment, electric solenoid automatic closing trip, governor actuated balanced piston
type relief valve, flywheel, and miscellaneous equipment.
The electrical installation consists of one 6,250 Kv-a., 6,600 volt alternating current
generator direct-connected to the turbine and with the exciter mounted on the same shaft
as the generator. All of the 6,600 volt busses together with the various oil circuit
breakers and disconnecting switches, potential and current transformers, as well as the
local transformers for power and light are mounted on the mezzanine floor above the
operating room.



owens river
Interior Owens River Plant

owens river
7.5' diameter pipeline at the Owens River Plants

owens river
Adams Auxiliary Plant

owens river
Owens River Adams Plant dwellings
adams cottages
Adams Main Plant Cottages - Owens River Gorge


adams auxilary plant
Adams Auxiliary Plant
This is a stream flow plant, water being supplied from the Intake through 370' of flume, 455'
of Redwood stave pipe and 664' of steel pressure pipe. The flume is 12' wide and 5' deep.
The wood stave pipe is 6' in diameter and the steel pipe is 5.5' in diameter.
The generating equipment installed in the powerhouse consists of a 3,750 horsepower reaction turbine direct-connected to a 3,000 Kv-a alternating current generator.
Power generated at this Plant is transmitted to the Adams Main Plant, located downstream and supplemented with the power generated at the Adams Main Plant is stepped up to
transmission voltage through a bank of transformers located at the Adams Main Plant.

bishop office
This building houses the main telephone exchange and operating headquarters
of the Interstate Telegraph Company and the office of the Local Superintendent
of The Southern Sierras Power Company.



owens river gorge dwelling
Owens River Gorge dwelling


owens river gorge dwelling
Owens River Gorge dwelling

adams dwellings
Owens River Gorge - Adams Auxiliary - Dwellings and tent house

adams
Owens River Gorge - Adams Auxiliary - Garage, Dwelling, Tent House

owens river
Owens River Main plant dwelling

general view
General view Owens River Gorge

intake cottage
Intake cottage Owens River Gorge

owens river pipe
7.5' diameter pipe for Owens River power plants

owens river pipe
7.5' diameter pipe for Owens River power plants

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This page was last updated 15 January 2022