Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Olmstead

Anyone ever seen the old white building at the mouth of Provo Canyon next to the river trail?  Signs on the road leading to it state "no trespassing."  I have never known what the building was used for, and thought that locals probably had some old lore about how it was haunted.  Today, I found out that that isn't true, and that the buildings are actually part of a hydroelectric power plant called the Olmstead.  Here is the original photo that I found in addition to the current one.  Although there is no date on it, it is probably after 1912

Photo courtesy of the Orem City Library

The Olmstead was originally built in 1903 and replaced the previous hydroelectric plant that was located at Nunn's park.  The plant generated power mainly for mining towns around Eureka.  The plant is currently owned by PacifiCorp and is still in use today.  Water is pumped from the little building at the top of the hill through the long pipes running down the mountainside into the red building on the right.  That is where the hydroelectric generators are, which create energy.  Cool, huh?

I recently heard about a new trail that they are going to put going right around here.  I looked on KSL this morning and there was a whole article about it.  There is a canal, called the Murdock Canal, that runs from the mouth of Provo Canyon up to the Jordan Narrows.  The canal is an open waterway and many people feel that it is dangerous.  Officials from several cities in northern Utah County decided to put the canal underground and then build a 21 mile running path on top of it.  I don't know where the path will be completed, but the pipework should be completed around April of 2012.  This path will link up to the Provo River Trail and will make a really nice addition to trails in Utah county.  For more info about it, click here.

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