ON THE RAMAPO RIVER near Tuxedo stands the abandoned shell of this early electric power plant, probably built sometime around 1900. Before electric utilities consolidated power generation into the large centralized power stations we know today, smaller plants like this provided power to more localized areas. Many early generating plants were hydro-powered, and in the Hudson Valley a number of these cropped up by the falls of Hudson River tributaries such as the Wappingers and Espous creeks.

BY THE MIDDLE of the 20th century, modern, efficient plants put many of the older power stations - like the one at Tuxedo - out of service. Oddly enough, a handful of old hydroelectric plants still operate in the region today, including those at Wappingers Falls, Rifton and High Falls.

BUT THE PLANT at Tuxedo remains abandoned. I've tried to learn more about its history but to date I've come up almost completely empty handed. One speculates as to whether it might have been built in conjunction with the development of nearby Tuxedo Park. Though apparently not recognized on any historic registers, it stands a first rate example of the industrial architecture of its day, and an eloquent memorial to the dawn of the electric age.

UPDATE: A depraved scheme to "preserve" part of this structure as part of some kind of band shell has left only a fragment of the building standing as of 2009. Better than nothing?

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© T.E. Rinaldi, 2006