Nothing Lasts for Long
This old power plant in my hometown has been on my good-intentions-to-shoot list for decades. When I finally got around to it, was I ever in for a surprise — a surprise I did not want. Keep reading and you'll see why.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas
Back in May of 2013, we published a story and pictures about the impending demise of the old Arkansas Power and Light generating plant in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, my home stomping grounds. The plant had long since been closed, stripped of its equipment, and subsequently abandoned to the elements. The current owner felt it was necessary to demolish the aging structure, which in reality, had long since passed the point of no return.
Despite the decrepit conditions, the demolition of the generating plant was still like losing an old friend. In the time since we published the May 2013 story, the demolition has been completed, save for the stacks, which are still standing tall. We have added a picture of the premises as it is now — you'll find it at the end of this story. Let's take another glance at “Just in the Nick of Time.”
The stacks for the old plant stand like sentries for the once-proud structure.
Among the Last Shots 'Fired'
Originally Published on Sunday, May 19, 2013
For reasons, the origin of which I cannot plumb, on the afternoon of April 13, 2013, I was moved do something that had been simmering on the backburner of my good intentions file for years, to wit: Shoot the old Arkansas Power and Light Company plant on Fourth Avenue in my home town. Since I have now lived here for 50 years and noticed the old abandoned structure the first week of my residence, I can say to myself, "Self, it's about time, what's the holdup been?"
On that day in April, I shot the building with light from the east and decided to return later in afternoon hours and shoot it when the west end was nicely illuminated. Not learning my lesson the first time, on May 18, when I returned for the afternoon shoot, I discovered that someone had started demolishing the old structure. For whatever providential prodding it was that made me finally get off my duff on this project, I am eternally grateful. The pictures in this series are no doubt some of the last to be shot of the old structure.
After I went back to get afternoon shots, my intentions were to head back to the east side in the morning to get more details of the tall windows, a task which turned out to be impossible. The bare vines you see in the pictures had fleshed out with deep greenery in my absence. The windows will never again be a photographic target.
The Price of Procrastination
Behold, the price of procrastination. Had I held out longer, I would have had a pile of rubble to shoot.
The structure was far beyond reclamation, and sooner or later it would have probably collapsed had the demolition not begun. Nevertheless, for a malcontent such as myself, it is like losing an old friend and a familiar sight that always stirred a little imagination. And not being able to shoot those windows is a good reminder of that deprivation is frequently the price of procrastination.
Lights Out at the Light Plant
The stacks of the former Arkansas Power and Light plant were spared demolition indefinitely and stand tall to remind us of the days when many cities and towns boasted their own power generation plant. Most of these were referred to as “the light plant.” For this one, it’s lights out. For the curious, the domed thingamabob in the background is part of a Liberty Utilities plant. They provide nice, clean water to our city.
See more of the old plant,
including a peek inside one of the stacks,
the west look at the plant, and some
of the gory details of old-time construction
and subsequent demolition carnage.
See it all at
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.