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24 Responses to “Inside RG&E Beebee Power Plant – Just Before (and during) Demolition”

  1. Matt S says:

    Anyone know what the plan is for the property after demolition?

  2. Kathleen Kochem says:

    That was a gorgeous set of photos!! You did a wonderful job on the whole composition! I can only say THANK YOU!!!!

  3. Matt, all RG&E has said is that they’ll be planting grass. This page on their site says the land will remain closed to the public.

  4. Fantastic photos! Thanks for preserving what was left of Beebee Station before they tore it down.

  5. Ben says:

    What is the chance the city ever gets hold of some/all of the land down there? This is where all the “build a park” people need to be aiming their efforts, not parcels in the middle of downtown.

  6. Ben, agreed. Greentopia has been working to make improvements to this area as a public green space for several years now. I bet they have their eye on this new area. Who knows if RG&E will be selling it, though. From their website, “The electrical substation (Station 137), the hydroelectric generating facility (Station 2) and several other utility support facilities will remain and continue to function on the site after the project is complete.”

  7. Ted says:

    Is this a brownfield site? Maybe RG&E can’t sell it until it’s cleaned-up.

  8. Cathy says:

    Amazing photos. Thanks for sharing a look at part of our city’s history that is now gone.

  9. Howard Shea says:

    I worked at Russell Station but spent some time at Beebee. Sorry to see them both go. Enjoyed the Beebee Pictures and the Russell ones ,too.

  10. dan says:

    looks like a map straight out of my favorite video game of all time, SOCOM. Frost Fire and Chain Reaction. Would have been a cool place to play paintball if you could afford the liability insurance.

  11. Kathleen Gilbert says:

    Amazing photos. Thank you so much for saving history in photos. A true masterpiece of art both the station and all your hard work work capturing such an amazing building.

  12. Tom says:

    I still work with the company, i know every picture you posted is in the plant, started there 1982, it was an incredible place to work. the old house turbine room is where some of your pictures are from which you called the Steel Cavern is turbines that are in that picture from the 20’s and 30’s. Beebee was an engineering marvel. it is with great sadness to see her come down. I knew that plant inside and out.

  13. Patricia Shaw Zapf says:

    Dad would sometimes take me through Sta 3 to see “how electricity was made”. Little did I know then that RGE would continue to be such a big part of my adult life, too…

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Lisa Kleman says:

    This was a wonderful photo narrative – thank you so very much! And the comments from people who worked in and/or remember this worksite are precious. Would love to read more of them with even more detail, to document for interested future people’s this part of history.

  15. Scott K says:

    My machine design professor got us a tour in there a few years before the plant closed. The Old House was the creepiest, looking like something out of an old science fiction movie, with all of the large gauges, dark, dusty corners, and almost no lights. Moving through there was an adventure in itself. Especially on our return trip. We made our way through the dark, and took a rickety old elevator in the Old House back up to street level. It was tiny, with room for only 3 at a time, IIRC, and shook and rattled so much we wondered if we were going to make it up. The other end of the plant was completely different, everything spotlessly clean and brightly lit, “almost”, but not quite, boring by comparison. The operating turbines and ball mills wwere something to see, along with all of those spidery catwalks around everyting. (And those that looked up at the right time got an unexpected show due to one classmate’s mistaken decision on what to wear on the tour, oops!)
    Alltogether an experiencce I’m glad to have had, especially “legally”.

  16. Chris says:

    Thanks for the inside pictures of Beebee Station. While I was on the Genesse Brew House roof deck, they dropped a big section of the boiler building. There was quite a rumble and a lot of dust. I haven’t been able to find any inside pictures of Russell station but I was able to get some outside pictures of the demo before they moved the fence line out close to Beach Ave.

  17. Chris Stone says:

    Great photos, thanks for the exploration and documentation.

    The oldest parts of the facility have been there for well over a century, it was just given the name “Beebee” in 1959.

    It’s a shame that RG&E chose to demolish and not save and/or repurpose the 6 story steel cavern and other interesting spaces.

  18. Bo says:

    What a shame those record books from 1924 weren’t saved for their historical perspective.

  19. josh says:

    Very cool. Reminds me of some buildings at Kodak Park from the inside. I would love to go back to some of those.

  20. Andy Garber says:

    Beautiful shots.
    Hope we see some cool salvage of some of the instruments from inside so we have something to remember this facility by.

  21. Greg says:

    Thank you for the outstanding pictures Of Sta#3 and Beebee Station.I worked there for over 20 years and am sad to see it being torn down. The history of that statio, in both machinery and men, was unique and phenomenal. If anyone is interested in any history of the place, feel free to contact me at zorgblats@gmail.com. There are a thousand stories to be told.

  22. Greg says:

    (A repost from 2014) Having worked at Beebee Station for 20 years, it is sad to see it go. People that are not aware of the history of this site would be surprised at the number of new technologies that were pioneered there. It once was the largest power plant east of the Mississippi. It once powered the Rochester subway system, made coke and an artificial gas substitute for natural gas. It originally was 50 cycles and later converted to 60. Extremely reliable, it supplied steam to downtown and was capable of generating 150 Megawatts or more. with the addition of Unit 12 in the 1950’s that number approached 200. Some of the turbo-generators go back to 1902, some other equipment even older. The first commercial Hydrogen cooled generator was used there.In it’s entire history it probably was only off-line 3 times, which is a stellar record. Pollution controls were installed there long before they were required (1930’s) Regardless of what it looks like now, it has been a marvelous piece of machinery that served Rochester well. Anyone interested in finding out more it’s history and the history of the dedicated men that worked there. Feel free to contact me at zorgblats@gmail.com. I will share what I know.

  23. Greg says:

    This is what one city decided to do with part of a retired power plant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGRfJ6-qkr4

  24. Joel Helfrich says:

    Thank you for the essay.

    Seeing the photographs just makes it clear that there is no good reason why this story could not have had a different ending. Strategic demolition coupled with creative adaptive reuse could have won the day. It is another sad moment for the built environment in this city.


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