Monday, August 1, 2011

Pomona Water Powerplant

Los Angeles County, January 1, 1995

Nikola Tesla, almost as if he came from Central Casting, was at once a dashing genius and an eccentric scientist and engineer. Poly-phase alternating current and radio were among his contributions that turned the industrial world on its ear. He proved that by stepping up generated electricity to very high voltage, you could transmit it over power lines for long distances without the power losses of the low voltage DC current that Thomas Edison felt was the way to go. Westinghouse, using AC current, began making power grid systems in the early 1890’s and left Edison in the dust, till he changed his tune.

Engineer Ahmerian Decker came to California in 1891 and became involved in the electrical project. Decker and his partners, Cyrus G. Baldwin and Henry Harbison Sinclair, opened the San Antonio Light and Power Company in 1892 using Westinghouse technology to transmit power over the 14 miles to Pomona. Though transformers and AC motors of the era were crude and not very efficient, the system worked and became California's first long distance power transmission.

So by the 1890’s, this was another major step in the foundation of things needed to allow the development of Southern California, along with oil, rail, harbor, and the biggie yet to come…water.

NO. 514 POMONA WATER POWERPLANT - The first hydroelectric installation in California for long-distance transmission of alternating current at high voltage was built in 1892 on San Antonio Creek below this spot by the San Antonio Light and Power Company organized by Dr. Cyrus Grandison Baldwin, President of Pomona College. The first high-voltage transformers built by George Westinghouse for this installation provided for transmission of 10,000 volts from the plant to Pomona.
Location: Camp Baldy Rd (P.M. 2.0), San Antonio Canyon, 8.1 mi N of State Hwy 166, Claremont
Google maps: 34.211929,-117.676280

1 comment:

  1. I always wondered what the plaque was for when I drove up and down Mt. Baldy Road from our cabin. I stopped one day in February 2014 and took photos of it. Now I am the engineer in charge of the rebuilding of a hydropower plant in Yorba Linda, California and I understand the undertaking required to build the plant in San Antonio canyon. Cool blog post.