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PECO Delaware Station receives national and local historic designation

The concrete behemoth isn’t going anywhere

Fishtown’s The Delaware Station of the Philadelphia Electric Company, a monumental concrete electrical power plant that was built in 1917, has earned a spot in both the National and Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

Kevin McMahon of Powers & Company, Inc., who nominated the power plant for the National Register of Historic Places, told Curbed Philly that it was officially designated historic on August 10.

Two days later, it was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The PECO Delaware Station, formerly known as the Delaware River Generating Station, was designed by architect John T. Windrim and built by Stone and Webster. It's a massive 223,000-square-foot concrete behemoth that operated as a major electrical power plant until 2004.

During its most significant time period from 1917 to 1923, McMahon writes in his nomination that the Beaux-Arts power plant was groundbreaking in both its materials and methods:

Less visible to the public but nonetheless significant as a work of engineering, the building was the first major power station to be constructed of reinforced concrete rather than steel and, was the first to use certain innovative technologies in the generation of electricity.

Here’s the 5-plus-acre site that was officially designated historic:

This isn’t the last we’ll hear of the PECO Delaware Station. Today, it’s owned by Joe Volpe and Bart Blatstein, who bought the property for $3 million in August 2015 and have plans to turn the site into an events space with a banquet hall, restaurants, guest rooms, and surface parking.

It’ll also be featured in the forthcoming book Palazzos of Power by Penn professor Aaron Wunsch.