IT’S DONE – AND LOVELY! • July 11, 2015


Nocturne – The S.U.M. Great Falls Power Plant

Ink, inked collage, grey wax pencil and surface alteration on paper. 18″ x 24″



Happy Saturday afternoon Everybody –


At last, I’ve finished my Power Plant picture! Wow, it was a long time on the boards. I don’t want to get caught up in another one like this for awhile, but I am pleased with the end result. It’s a potent picture. If you want a really good look at it, you can find a higher resolution large image (and three detail views) here:


Are you’re wondering about the S.U.M. in the picture’s title? It stands for the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. Envisioned and championed by Alexander Hamilton, The society was founded in 1791 as a private, state-sponsered corporation meant to establish industry along the Passaic River, especially at the Great Falls, which offered a fantastic opportunity for hydro-power.


The power plant (also water powered) began generating electicity in 1914, and continued to do so until 1969, when the low cost of fossil fuels and high cost of replacing aging equipment forced closure. The oil crisis of the 1970’s changed that equation. Three new turbines were installed and the plant was rededicated in 1987. It’s still in operation. The best part though, is that one of the old turbines was left in place. As you look at my drawing, it’s behind and below the window on the right.


I’ve become quite fond of this grand old building.


Have a fine weekend –


Your Buddy Bill



PS: just for fun, here is the old turbine. The thing that looks so much like a giant pink stovepipe is where the water came down, hitting the turbine’s blades and forcing it to spin around a horizontal axis (just like the wheels on your car do). This in turn spun the generator (in the green housing). While the setup is no longer functional, I’m so glad it remains as a piece of history.




The photo below is of the three more modern turbines, which spin in a vertical axis. Usually only one or two of them are in operation – the river has to be quite high before there is enough water to power all three.