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Salida SteamPlant

Ever  wonder about the event center known as the Salida SteamPlant?

  Salida Steam Plant .

The Salida SteamPlant was one of the first Edison electric plants in the country. Built in 1887 by the Salida Edison Electric Light Company, it operated until the 1950s. After 1989 the building was renovated and converted into a city-owned theater and event center.

The original Salida Edison Electric Light Company was founded in August 1887, and  they adopted the Edison system of lighting, first used in New York City in 1882, changed the company’s name to the Edison Electric Light Company, and secured a franchise to provide the city with electric light.

The Edison Electric Light Company soon began to build a steam plant, which introduced electricity to Salida. Construction started in September. The plant was located on the east bank of the Arkansas River, about a block from Salida’s main business district on F Street. The original steam plant was a single-story wood-frame building about twenty-eight square feet, with a seventy-five-foot smokestack. It housed one engine, two incandescent dynamos, and a boiler. The plant was completed in late November and first illuminated electric lights on the F Street Bridge on December 7, 1887.

As the use of electricity grew, the original plant proved insufficient; it was expanded rapidly in the 1890s and early 1900s. By 1892 the building had been bricked over and enlarged to fifty square feet, with two engines, six dynamos, a much larger boiler room, and two smokestacks. Another smokestack was added by 1904, and another addition by 1916. By that time the several smaller smokestacks had been consolidated into one huge smokestack. A final major addition across the back of the plant came in 1926.

The Salida electric system was acquired by the Colorado Power Company in 1916, and then by the Public Service Company of Colorado in 1924.  The steam plant operated until the 1950s.

In 1987 the Public Service Company of Colorado sold the steam plant for $40,000 to the Salida Enterprise for Economic Development, which later deeded the building to the city of Salida for ten dollars.

Renovations began in 1989. The building’s bricks were hand-brushed clean, the roof was fixed, and restrooms and handicapped facilities were added. The main body of the plant was converted into two large rooms with high ceilings, one for use as a theater and the other as a community and events room. Further renovations, including the addition of an outdoor sculpture garden, continued into the 1990s.

The Salida SteamPlant is now expanded into a complex including a conference center.

The historic SteamPlant Event Center offers a riverside, multi-use facility to accommodate corporate functions, community gatherings and private events of any kind. The versatility of the SteamPlant makes it perfect for events ranging from conventions or conferences to concerts, art shows, movie screenings, galas, weddings, family reunions and community gatherings. The ballroom has all of the ingredients to accommodate your needs – including a dance floor, mezzanine, kitchen and dressing rooms.

The riverside breakout rooms can be used separately for a cozy riverside meeting or wedding rehearsal dinner, or combined for larger groups. The riverside plaza can provide a wonderful outdoor extension for your event.

 

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Wes Hill

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