The youngest of these buildings is the Huber Coal Breaker, built in 1938 in Ashley, Pennsylvania, to crush the coal from the nearby anthracite mine. The breaker is designed to separate out impurities of slate and stone and to grade the coal from chunky steam coal for boilers, right down to pea coal for stoves. It was abandoned in 1976.
How did that happen? With a whimper. The buildings were commissioned in a fanfare of progress but, at the end, their owners crept out of them. In the instrument room of the Richmond power station, paper litters the floor. In the loading tower, the operator’s seat is waiting.
Pictured: Port Richmond, Pennsylvania The Philadelphia Electric Company power station, built in 1925. This is the control room. The instrument gauges will never again go above zero