Anyox Powerhouse No. 1
Anyox Power House No. 1
Anyox Power House
Anyox Powerhouse No. 2
Anyox Power House No. 2
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Anyox Powerhouse No. 1 is a large, rectangular tripartite brick and concrete former hydro-electric power generating station located within the abandoned Anyox copper mining and smelting community in northwestern British Columbia. The building is situated adjacent to Falls Creek on the shore of Granby Bay in Observatory Inlet, approximately 145 kilometres north of Prince Rupert. The historic place consists of the building and its immediate surroundings.
Built in 1911 by the Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting and Power Company, Powerhouse No. 1 is primarily valued for its historical association with the resource extraction and power generation industries that have long been important in the history of British Columbia's north west. It is also valued for its physical form in relation to its function as a hydro-electric generating facility, for its location in relation to the natural landscape, and as a memorial to the former community of Anyox.
As part of the Anyox site, Powerhouse No. 1 typifies mining development in the region, in which evolving transportation patterns opened up new areas for exploitation and new technologies determined the types of materials which could be exploited. The Granby operations, begun in 1910, were considered the most important on the coast of British Columbia at that time, and the Powerhouse one of the most up to date. Powerhouse No. 1 was the heart of the industrial operations and community, providing electricity for the smelter, machine shops and other mining operations, as well as the town, until the mine closed in 1936. The electricity produced by Powerhouse No. 1 enabled the maintenance of a thriving and sophisticated company town despite the remote location.
Powerhouse No. 1 is also valued for its design, building materials and aesthetic qualities. Constructed of brick and steel, the building is 50 feet wide by 180 feet long, with concrete foundations laid on solid rock. The bricks came from Sidney Island and, later, the Anyox brickworks. The building is a massive yet elegant structure with a large unobstructed interior space. Ten bays with curved window openings and clerestory windows along both sides of the upper portion of the roof contribute to the impressive facade. A 15-ton crane, used to move the machinery, runs the entire length of the interior of the building.
The building is further valued for the vestiges it contains of early hydro-electric technology related to the mining industry, as well as for its relationship in design, materials and function to the Anyox dam, the source of water for the Powerhouse.
Powerhouse No. 1 is also valued for its location at Granby Bay and within the Anyox site. The powerhouse, mine and smelter were sited on the west shore of Observatory Inlet adjacent to Falls Creek, to take advantage of the water source for hydro-electric power generation. The steep hill behind the building was optimal for the location of the penstock coming from the dam and reservoir. Granby Bay itself is a deep-water, landlocked bay, conducive to shipping, and Anyox became a northern terminal for the three main Coast steamship lines. The building's location continues to be important today; Powerhouse No. 1 is currently proposed for rehabilitation as part of a revived hydro-electric generation site at Anyox.
The native vegetation immediately surrounding the building has scientific value as an indication of the regeneration of nature after the devastation caused by the sulphur gas emitted by the smelter, which destroyed the original flora and fauna on the site. There is also scientific value in the physical and technical relationship of this building to the five ore bodies associated with the Hidden Creek mine, located a mile from tidewater and at 900 feet above sea level.
Powerhouse No. 1 has social and cultural value as a place of nostalgia and memory for people who once worked there, and for their families who have heard the stories of this place.
Source: Kitimat-Stikine Regional District Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of Anyox Powerhouse No. 1 include its:
- remote location
- siting in relation to the former Anyox mine and smelter complex, town, dam and ore bodies
- direct connection and relationship to the waterfront of Granby Bay
- spatial layout of the building parallel to the waterfront and at the foot of a steep slope below the remains of the smelter
- location adjacent to Falls Creek
- views from the inside of the Powerhouse to Granby Bay
- native vegetation on the bank behind the building and along Falls Creek
- immediate surroundings including the foreshore flats in front of the Powerhouse
- penstock (water pipe) still in place on the slope behind the Powerhouse
- physical form as a hydro-electric power generating station
- brick construction with interior steel structural system
- concrete foundation on solid rock base
- large bays with curved window openings in the brick walls with curved clerestory windows above
- large unobstructed interior space
- openings in the concrete foundation that illustrate the flow of water into the Powerhouse
- millrace openings that illustrate the water flow out of the Powerhouse and onto the adjacent tidal flats
- monitor roof shape and metal roof material with exposed rafter ends
- small six-over-six windows within the larger openings
- remains of the massive power plant machinery
- machinery crane including track
- internal roof truss system
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Mineral Products Manufacturing Facility
- Power Generation Facility
Architect / Designer
Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting and Power Company
Location of Supporting Documentation
Kitimat-Stikine Regional District Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection