The Steam Power House

History of Franklinville, NC: Steam Power Machine

The Steam Powerhouse was built in 1919 as one of the last actions of Hugh Parks as CEO of the Franklinville Manufacturing Company.  Superintendent George Russell created a coal-fired steam turbine generating station that not only supplied electricity to both cotton mills, but to the entire village of Franklinville.  Coal was brought in on the railroad and fed into two huge boilers. This powered a Westinghouse steam turbine to generate electricity. The expense of the installation, completed in 1921, caused a reduction of stock dividends which let to the shareholder revolt in 1923 that sold the company to David and John Clark, founders of Randolph Mills, Inc. By 1925, the local coal-fired powerhouse was made obsolete by the availability of power transmitted to Franklinville through the Carolina Power and Light distribution system.  The cost of purchasing power was much cheaper than generating steam and electricity locally, and the powerhouse was closed. The chimney was demolished in 1975.


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