A photograph of the Lykens Power Plant of the Short Mountain Colliery, Lykens Valley Coal Company, Bear Gap, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, about 1922, shortly after it went into full operation.
Construction took place from about September 1919 into 1921. The purpose of the plant was to burn the refuse banks of culm to generate electricity for the colliery and the surrounding area. This culm, consisting primarily of coal dirt, was just south of the location of the power power plant, in an area just north of the Borough of Lykens. Approximately two-and-a-half million tons of this unsalable substance had accumulated there by 1919 and the pile was so high that residents of Lykens were unable to see the mountains to their north.
In the photo, Short Mountain rises behind the power plant. Berry Mountain, south of Lykens, is in the distance at left. The top of the breaker can be seen at the left, and a string of coal cars heading to or from the breaker can be seen at the right. Just south of the power plant (left of it in photo) was the pulverizing mill which took the culm on trestles from the mound, processed it, and then sent it into the power plant on a conveyor as fuel for the turbines which generated the electricity.
The power plant was constructed to save money on power generation and when completed provided a cheaper and more efficient form of power for the colliery. In addition, surplus electricity was provided to the Williamstown collieries, and for Lykens Borough and the town of Wiconisco.
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