Stairs Power Plant - Utah Power Company
The Stairs Power Plant in Big Cottonwood Canyon - c.2011 / Donald K. Winegar - Tintic Images
The Stairs power plant is one of two power stations built but the
Utah Power Company in 1896.(1)
A brief history of this plant is given on the Granite Power Plant page of this web-site. The style of the Stairs building
is similar to the Granite, but not exactly the same.
the Granite plant, the Stairs was also built as a hydro-electric plant. Water provided by a small reservoir hundreds
of feet above the powerhouse adjacent to the Storm Mountain Picnic Area just below the old Maxfield Lodge. Also, like the
Granite, a metal penstock carried water from the reservoir down-slope to the nozzle or "head" driving Pelton-wheels
at this generating plant.
here fed customers up canyon as well as down. It was also used to electrify some mining operations in the canyon.
As you can see from the image above, the Stairs plant has had more extensive repairs to the
outer brick work. Though repaired and always trimmed out in a fresh coat of green paint, the transformer racks on the
highway side of the plant and the old broken and unused insulator holes on the north and east walls of the building give it
a more industrial and "run-down" look.
While the same
age as the Granite plant, the Stairs plant looks far more tired and worn. Having said that, it is still fully functional,
and still generating power.
It should also
be noted that a very nice, small, private "employee & family" park and picnic area is located on the Stairs
The Stairs power plant is immediately adjacent to the canyon highway
about 2 1/2 miles from the canyon mouth. It cannot be missed as you drive up the canyon as the road almost wraps around three
sides of the building. Driving by is all you can do. There is no public parking at or near the plant, neither is there public
access. It is well posted as "Private Property".
The operating powerhouse, the complex water diversion channels, and
the private company park are all that remain at this site.
Arched and freshly painted nameplate of the Stairs Power Plant all
but hidden behind wires, poles, circuit breakers, ceramic insulators, conduit, and transformer racks. - c.2011 / Donald K. Winegar - Tintic Images
(1) Utah Power & Light - National Register of Historic Places Registration Form - NPS Form 10-900 - OMB No. 1024-0018,
March, 1989 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/89000283.pdf