"Georgetown Powerplant Museum" Top 5 Page for this destination Museums / Theaters Tip by glabah

Museums / Theaters, Seattle: 16 reviews and 29 photos

  Georgetown Powerplant Museum: once vital to city
by glabah
  • Georgetown Powerplant Museum: once vital to city - Seattle
      Georgetown Powerplant Museum: once vital to city
    by glabah
  • part of massive steam turbine in Georgetown Plant - Seattle
      part of massive steam turbine in Georgetown Plant
    by glabah
  • Entry to Museum is Marked, but Hard to See Anyway - Seattle
      Entry to Museum is Marked, but Hard to See Anyway
    by glabah
  • Small Turbine and Generator for Excitor Coils - Seattle
      Small Turbine and Generator for Excitor Coils
    by glabah
  • Outdoor Live Steam Model Railroad Group - Seattle
      Outdoor Live Steam Model Railroad Group
    by glabah

Being the first building west of the Mississippi constructed with steel reinforced concrete, the Georgetown Powerplant was also a significant landmark in power plant development and is significant due to the preserved first generation steam turbines. There are also a number of other preserved pieces of equipment at the facility. However, the facility will likely significantly change next year or sometime in the coming years, as the soil is highly contaminated around the plant due to the many decades of industrial use in the surrounding area. Therefore, a project to dig up all the soil around the plant and process will be starting soon, or it is rumored.

Most of the equipment is not possible to operate due to its huge size, but there is one small steam engine that was originally used in one of the buildings in downtown Seattle to provide draft air for the boiler, and is a near duplicate of one or two engines similarly used elsewhere in the power plant but difficult for visitors to see due to their location. Thus, every once in a while, this example engine is fired up by compressed air.

The museum is only open to the public during the 2nd Saturday of every month, from 10 to 2.

During certain 2nd Saturdays, there is a model engine group that brings antique small engines and reproductions of small steam engines and operates them inside the building. If the weather is reasonably good, currently there are some outdoor model railroad clubs that operate some live-steam models on the outdoor model railroad. However, operation of the outdoor railroad equipment may not be available if the soil conservation project has started.

The museum also contains a number of oddities, including a fire truck historic to the city of Seattle as it was the first engine-powered fire truck the city owned (as opposed to horse drawn), plus various other odds and ends that should be on display elsewhere but currently no display location has been found.

There are several web pages about the power plant and the museum, but there does not appear to be any official web sites for the museum organization at this time. The powerplant itself is still owned by Seattle City Light, and the web page listed below is from their system.

Getting Here:

Getting to the power plant museum can be a bit of an adventure. The official address is 6605 13th Avenue South Seattle, WA 98108, but most places will have trouble finding this, and even Google maps doesn't really give an accurate idea of the location if you just use the address. Google maps does know right where it is if you type in the entire name of the museum, however. When what is now Boeing field was built in the 1920s, the entire area around the power plant changed, and so roads that used to exist simply don't any more. Most likely, this is why it is hard to get a really accurate idea of the correct location using just the address.

The nearest significant street intersection is Ellis Avenue South & South Warsaw Street. From this intersection, turn towards the airport (southeast) onto Warsaw Street. This is a narrow, dead-end industrial street. You will then need to make an immediate left turn into a fenced-off area. Once inside the fenced area, go directly east on the paved surface, then directly south. There is a sign at the entrance to the fenced area, but it is hidden behind a smoker's improvised shelter (see photo 3) for a nearby industry. You will see the powerplant building looming over Warsaw Street and finding you way back there should be fairly easy once you get into the fenced off area, and there are some signs directing your way, but some of them are hard to see.

Getting here by public transit from Seattle involves using bus route 60 or 124 (previously service was on the 131 but references to that route are out of date), which stop at Ellis and Warsaw. There isn't a traffic light here, but thankfully on the Saturday I visited there wasn't such a huge amount of traffic that it was difficult to cross. Buses going north do not run on Ellis, directly in front of the museum. Instead, there is a stop on Carleton Avenue (2 blocks west on Warsaw) for going back to Seattle or if you are arriving from the south. Bus stops for route 106, the Seattle to Renton route, are located about 1/4 of a mile north of the plant at 13th Avenue South & Bailey Street, if an additional option is desired.

Additional Photos:

See also:

My Georgetown Powerplant Tip located in the Georgetown, Washington section.

My Additional Photos of the Georgetown Powerplant Museum from December of 2010.

As of December of 2010, the museum was being used to store the locomotive and cars of the Anacortes Railway, and I have a few photos of that equipment also, as it existed inside the museum.

Website: http://www.seattle.gov/light/georgetownsteamplant/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 19, 2015
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