| History of Rochester | History
of Rochester's Water Works | History
of District Heating |
The City of Rochester installed a Holly water system in 1874 to provide fire protection in the downtown area, which is still in service. City residents were therefore interested in when Lockport inventor Birdsill Holly formed the Holly Steam Combination Company and installed the first commercial district steam system in that city in 1877. Rochester businessmen formed a corporation to build a Holly steam system the following year, and received permission from the Common Council to install pipes in city streets. This effort was not pursued, however, and in 1887 another local group formed the Rochester Superheated Water Company to install William E. Prall's new high temperature hot water system, which has been installed in Washington, D. C., and Boston. While the Common Council was studying their proposal, the American District Steam Company (successor to the Holly Steam Combination Company) also asked for permission to install pipes in the streets. Both companies were granted permission in May, 1888, but neither firm built anything.
The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Rochester was incorporated in 1886 and built an electric generating station just south of the Erie Canal on Exchange Street. The exhaust steam from the reciprocating engines was used to heat some of the adjacent buildings during cold weather. This plant was held in reserve by 1897 and converted to water power in 1900, although steam power was available for emergency use as late as 1909.
In 1894, the president of the Rochester Gas and Electric Company and other company officials sought permission to install steam pipes from RG&E's Station No. 2 to supply heat to their nearby properties on Furnace street near State and Mill streets. RG&E was willing to supply the steam, but was not interested in installing or maintaining the steam pipes. In 1904, the Rochester Railway and Light Company acquired RG&E and in 1907 agreed to supply steam to the Genesee Reduction Company plant north of their new Station No. 3. The company supplied steam from their gas plant on the east side of the Genesee River to the Bausch & Lomb Optical Company in 1909, and the following year Station No. 35 on Litchfield Street began supplying exhaust steam to the adjacent Utz & Dunn Shoe Factory and James Cunningham Son & Co. Automobile Factory. The Railway and Light Company also joined the new National District Heating Association, which had been founded the year before. Seven association presidents were RG&E employees, and annual conference was held in the city in 1914 and 1934. Steam was supplied to the Eastman Kodak office building on State Street in 1912, and around 1914 the company began supplying steam from Station #26, a former isolated plant in the Beehive Building between Aqueduct and Graves Streets.
The company changed its name to Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation in 1919, when it had 75 steam customers. By 1924 the company was serving 125 steam customers and started construction of a new plant on Lawn Street to serve the downtown business district. Station 8 opened in October, 1925, and two years later Station 9 began service in a separate industrial district at Lincoln Park on Mt. Read Boulevard. Steam sales continued to grow, and in 1946 a high pressure steam line was built from Station 3 (Beebee Station) to supply the downtown district, relegation Station 8 to backup and peaking service. The company overtook Indianapolis to become the fourth largest district heating system in the country, behind New York City, Detroit and Philadelphia. Rochester held this spot until 1969, when Boston captured fourth place.
Rochester, like many
cities, began to implement urban renewal projects in the 1960s that
removed several steam customers. It was thought at the time that new
development would result in even larger steam sales, but that proved
illusory. Around this same time state environmental regulators
forced the company to stop burning coal and the heating plants were
converted to oil and natural gas. This conversion was followed by
the oil shocks of the 1970s, which caused oil prices to skyrocket while
natural gas supplies were limited. RG&E lost half of its steam
customers by 1980, and a third of those remaining were considering
switching to individual boilers. The company looked at several
options and the Cogeneration Development Corporation proposed to replace
the steam system with a high temperature hot water network similar to one
they were building in Trenton, New Jersey. This company negotiated
with RG&E to buy heat from the Beebee station, but was unable to reach
an agreement. RG&E then decided to abandon the steam system, but
a group of customers resisted and formed the Rochester District Heating
Cooperative, which pried the system out of RG&E's hands in 1985 and
today operates a much improved network in downtown Rochester from a
refurbished Lawn Street Heating Plant..
| also see Energy | and Electricity|
1860 "Heating Buildings by Steam," Rochester Union and Advertiser, January 21, 1860, Page 2-2
1876 "A New Experiment--Mr. Holly Proposes to Heat Whole Cities by Steam--Some of the Benefits of This New Invention Explained--Likewise the Drawbacks," Rochester Union and Advertiser, December 1, 1876, Page 2.
Daily Journal, December 2, 1876, Page 1.
The Rochester Union makes itself merry over the proposition of Mr. Holly, of Lockport, to heat cities, &c., by steam. The Union calls it impracticable, and substantially treats it as a visionary scheme. It is, of course, unfair, as usual, in its deductions, and inclined to deride what it cannot, or for the sake of abusing somebody, will not, understand. The Union folk may yet see the time when they will be glad to have the steam turned off either under Mr. Holly's plan—or somebody's else in the "sweet by-and-by."
1876 "Heating Cities by Steam," Rochester Union & Advertiser, December 6, 1876, Page 2.
Brilliant Device," Indianapolis Sentinel, December 7, 1876,
Nothing Less Than to Heat a Whole City by Steam. from Rochester Times.
1877 "More About Heating Cities by Steam," Rochester Union and Advertiser, January 30, 1877, Page 2.
of the Holly Patent," The New York Times, March 26, 1878,
Lockport, N.Y., March 25.- The Holly Manufacturing Company, of this city, have just gained an important suit, involving the exclusive right of the company to construct water-works on the Holly system of direct pumping and without a receiver or stand-pipe. The suit was commenced about four years ago at Indianapolis, Ind., before Judge Drumond, in the United States Circuit Court, who decided, affirming the validity of the Holly patent.
1878 Announcement of the Holly Steam Combination Company Limited, of Lockport, N.Y. : for supplying heat to private dwellings and public buildings of every description, from a central point, through street mains and laterals, and to measure the steam used to each consumer.
Union and Advertiser, October 10, 1878, Page 2.
It is reported that the Holly Steam Heating Company are negotiating with parties in this city to have their system or heating introduced here. The company asks $75,000 for the exclusive right to use their invention in Rochester.
Holly System of Steam Heating," Rochester Union and Advertiser,
October 11, 1878, Page 2
Holly system of steam heating explained; costs compared with those of furnace system; introduction of system for city considered.
and Chronicle, October 14, 1878, Page 3.
The Lockport Union, of Saturday says: "A delegation of citizens from Rochester arrived here on the noon train, for the purpose of inspecting and negotiating with the Holly steam heating company, with a view of introducing the system in their city."
1879 Report upon the system of the Holly steam combination company limited, of Lockport, N.Y., by Herman Haupt, March 28, 1879
Heat and Power," Democrat and Chronicle, April 5, 1879, Page
Organization of a Company Under the Holley Patent - Capital $100,000.
Last evening a meeting of prominent business men and capitalists was held in the office of Mortimer P. Reynolds in the Arcade, to perfect an organization for the introduction of steam heat and power under the Holley system. The company was formed under the name of the Rochester Steam Heating and Power company. The amount of capital subscribed was $100,000. It is understood probably by the majority of our readers that the uses to which the steam;, furnished by this company, is to be devoted, are heating, supplying power to factories, etc., in short, for general manufacturing and domestic purposes. The officers of the company, elected last evening, are as follows: President - George C. Buell. Secretary - I. W. Butts. Treasurer - George E. Jennings. Trustees - George C. Buell, Patrick Barry. M. F. Reynolds, James E. Booth, Henry W. Craig, I. W. Butts, William S. Kimball, George E. Mumford.
Union and Advertiser, April 5, 1879, Page 4.
The Rochester Steam Heating and Power Company organized with a capital of $100,000.
Common Council," Democrat and Chronicle, May 21, 1879, Page
3. | part 2 |
The Rochester Steam Heating and Power Company asked permission to lay pipes under the street. Received, filed adn ordered published.
Aid. Crouch presented a resolution that the petition of the Rochester Steam Heating and Power company to lay pipes under the street be granted, upon the furnishing of a satisfactory bond in the penalty of $10,000, protecting the city against damage, and upon the compensation of $50 per mile. Adopted.
Council Proceedings," Rochester Union and Advertiser, May
21, 1879, Page 4.
The Rochester Steam Heating and Power Company requested permission to install pipes in the public streets, which was granted.
and Chronicle, November 17, 1879, Page 4.
The female department of the Western House of Refuge is now heated by the Holley steam heating process. The steam is generated in the boiler connected with the main building. The experiment was commenced Saturday night, and is said to work to a charm.
Water Company," Democrat and Chronicle, October 15, 1887,
Certificate of incorporation of the Rochester Superheated Water Company was filed in the county clerk's office yesterday. The object of the company is to supply heated water and steam for motive power, heating, cooking, and other like purposes. The capital stock is $150,000 and the number of shares 1,500. The trustees for the first year are: Theodore N. Vail, Boston; Richard A. Elmer, New York; Fred W. Kelsey, N. J.; John W. Martin, Marsenus H. Brlggs, A. G. Yates and John N. Beckley, of this city.
Pipes to be Laid," Democrat and Chronicle, November 2, 1887,
Application from the Rochester Superheated Water Company.
Lay Steam Pipes," Democrat and Chronicle, May 13, 1888, Page
An ordinance of the Common Council has been signed by the mayor giving permission to the American District Steam Heating Company of Lockport to lay steam pipes in the streets. A local company will at once be formed and work begun as soon as possible. The stock of the company will be $100,000, of which it is said $30,000 has been already subscribed. A building for the head quarters of the company will be erected on the bank of the canal near the Bee Hive building.
Morning Express, May 13, 1888, Page 3.
The American District Steam Company has secured a contract to operate in Rochester and will immediately begin laying pipes.
Busy Common Council," Democrat and Chronicle, May 16, 1888,
Report on the Rochester Superheated Water Company.
1888 Central station heating and power supply [by the use of superheated water], by Rochester Superheated Water Company
atlas of the city of Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Outline and
index map of the city of Rochester, Monroe County, N.Y
Page 2: Edison Electric Illuminating Company plant on Edison Street.
and Chronicle, June 12, 1889, Page 6.
A communication was received from the American District Steam Heating Company, which was granted permission a year ago to lay its pipes in the city with the stipulation that work should be begun previous to July 1. 1889, asking that the limit of time be extended to July, 1890. The extension was granted, on motion of Alderman Thayer.
and Chronicle, January 24, 1889, Page 6.
The Rochester Superheated Water Company has increased its capital stock from $150,000 to $250,000, certificate to that effect being filed in the county clerk's office yesterday.
and Chronicle, September 13, 1890, Page 5
The iron bridge bridge that the Edison Electric Company is building to throw across the canal from its works on Edison street to Aqueduct street, is nearly completed, and will be placed in position in about two weeks.
Light Company's Bridge," Union and Advertiser, September 29,
1890, Page 7
Edison Electric Light Company completes new bridge across canal. The structure will be used exclusively for the support of the heavy mass of electric wires at that point.
Important Conveyance," Democrat and Chronicle, July 25,
1891, Page 6.
A deed from Julius Judson and wife to tho Edison Electric Illuminating Company, conveying property on Mill street and Brown's Race, was recorded in the county clerk's office yesterday. Tho consideration is $91,000. There was also recorded a mortgage from the Edison Electric Illuminating Company to the Rochester Trust and Safe Deposit Company, as trustee, to secure tho payment of bonds issued, to the amount of $300,000.
Fire Insurance Map from Rochester, Monroe County, New York,
Plate 105: Edison Electric Illuminating Company plant on Edison Street
Fire Insurance Map from Rochester, Monroe County, New York,
Plate 206: Rochester Electric Light & Gas Co. Station #2 - Edison System
Plate 231: State Industrial School [formerly Western House of Refuge]
it's Steam Heat," Democrat and Chronicle, October 19, 1894,
Permission Asked for Laying a New System of Pipes in the Streets.
J. Lee Judson, George C. Hollister and other owners of property on Furnace street near State and Mill streets have obtained permission of the executive board to lay pipes through Mill and Furnace streets for the purpose of furnishing steam heat to their buildings in which various manufacturing enterprises are carried on. The heat is to be furnished by the Rochester Gas and Electric Company.
They are to give a bond to the city for the protection of the city from any injury that may be done to the water mains now in those streets. Besides the Judson factory and the Briggs building which is now owned by Mr. Hollister, the Hayden building on State street will be a customer for this steam heat.
It is also understood that several other large manufacturers whose factories are located in this section of the city intend to have their buildings heated by the Gas and Electric Company. The plan is to use the steam heat for heating purposes and electricity for motive power. In this way the boilers now in these buildings end factories will be done away with, and steam heat and electricity will take the place of boilers and coal. Incidentally the smoke nuisance will be done away with to some extent.
It was at first reported that it was the Rochester Gas and Electric Company that had applied to the executive board for this permission, but Mr. Hollister, who is an officer of the company, said yesterday that the company was not the prime mover in the matter, and that it is not interested except as to the matter of furnishing the steam heat and electricity.
Mr. Judson is the president of the Rochester Gas and Electric Company, and his factory is to be heated by steam and operated by electricity under the new arrangement. A 10-inch pipe will he laid in the streets and the steam will be conveyed through this pipe from the plant of the company to the factories of the customers.
Electric Lighting System of Rochester, N.Y.," by George B. Muldaur,
The Electrical Engineer 24(491):293-296 (September 30, 1897)
Page 293: Station No. 1. Edison street. Held in reserve.
for Race Rentals," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,
December 12, 1900, Page 12.
Commissioners of the Carroll and Fitzhugh race have begun an action against the Rochester Gas & Electric Company for the use of the water power used by Edison Station No. 1 of the Gas and Electric company. The sum demanded is $100, the rental for the past year. The action will be tried in municipal court.
book, city of Rochester, New York : carefully compiled from official
records and surveys. | Also here
Plate 2: Citizens Light and Power Company station; Rochester Gas & Electric Company Station #2
Plate 4: Rochester Gas and Electric Company plant on Edison Street [Original Edison station]
Districts with Hot Water," Democrat and Chronicle, October
6, 1905, Page 12.
System Company wants to Introduce Here.
Turbine for its Steam Plant," Democrat and Chronicle, May
17, 1907, Page 14.
Four Thousand Horse Power normal capacity, can be doubled.
Officials Examine Works," Democrat and Chronicle, June 6,
1907, Page 14.
Garbage Reduction Plant is in Full Operation.
Day in Descending Hill," Democrat and Chronicle, November
24, 1907, Page 17.
Transporting New Steam Turbine
Plans for Betterments," Democrat and Chronicle, October 29,
1908, Page 10.
Railway and Light Co. to spend $750,000 in 1909.
New low pressure steam turbine to take exhaust steam from the reciprocating engine and from it will develop the same amount of power generated by the reciprocating engine, thus getting from the same amount of coal twice the amount of power that was formerly possible.
Niagara Power Apparatus. The apparatus to be used in utilizing the Niagara power will be installed in the stations in Elmwood avenue, South Water street and elsewhere.
Plant to Use Electricity," Democrat and Chronicle, January
20, 1909, Page 14.
Railway and Light Company will also Supply Steam for Heating. The steam will come from the gas works, and will be transmitted to the Bausch & Lomb plant through conduits constructed especially for the purpose.
Power System of the Rochester Railway & Light Company," Electric
Railway Journal 33(8):128-132 (January 23, 1909)
Page 132: Stations No. 2 and No. 3 and Station No. 1, which is usually only run in cases of emergency, are the only steam stations of the company.
Power Kept in Storage," Democrat and Chronicle, February 20,
1910, Page 3.
Use Made of Steam from Exhaust.
Although it is expected that the complete Installation of machinery will not be effected until April 1st, fires were started under the boilers of the new power station of the Rochester Railway and Light Company in Litchfield street, Friday, and heat will be furnished hereafter to the Utz and Dunn plant nearby. One of the features of the new station will be the utilization of exhaust steam, otherwise wasted, for heating purposes in adjacent plants. By this arrangement It is planned to serve the Utz & Dunn plant.
Steam Utilized," Democrat and Chronicle, December 6, 1910,
The local lighting company has just completed a system of heating the factory of James Cunningham Son & Company, now building, with exhaust steam from the Litchfield street power station of the lighting company. A pipe connecting power station and plant has been placed, and through this steam will be forced Into the heating apparatus installed to the building.
of the City of Rochester
Page 1: Rochester Railway and Light Company Station No. 26 [Between Aqueduct and Graves]
Plate 4: Rochester Railway and Light Company Stations No. 2 and 3
Plate 5: Rochester Railway & Light Company Station No. 35; Utz & Dunn Shoe Factory; James Cunningham Son & Co. Factory
Plate 20: Rochester Railway and Light Company gas plant and Bausch & Lomb Factory; Genesee Reduction Company.
Engineer to Read Paper," Democrat and Chronicle, May 4,
1911, Page 19.
Roger D. DeWolf, of the engineering department of the Rochester Railway & Light Company, has been invited to present a paper on the preparation of a rational rate system for steam heating, hefore the National District Steam Heating Association, which meets in Pittsburg, June 6th to 8th. Mr. DeWolf qualified as an expert on the subject assigned, having given much time to its study along original lines and will undoubtedly accept the invitation. Delegates will gather for the convention from all parts of Canada and the United States.
1911 "Preparation of a Rational Rate System," by R. D. DeWolf, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association 3:97-111 (June 1911)
Fire Insurance Map from Rochester, Monroe County, New York,
Plate 5: Genesee Reduction Co. Garbage Disposal Plant. Power: Steam from elec. light station No. 3.
Page 6. Rochester Railway & Light Company Station No. 3; Steam supplied to Booth Bros., Noblu Soap Company and E. B. Leary.
Plate 7: Rochester Railway and Light Company Station No. 2; Hayden and Gorsline Building notes "Steam supplied to tenants."
Plate 12: Rochester Railway & Light Company East Gas Plant and Bausch & Lomb factory.
Fire Insurance Map from Rochester, Monroe County, New York,
Plate 253: Rochester Railway & Light Co. Power Ho. [Station No. 35] Supplies steam to the adjacent Utz & Dunn Shoe Factory and James Cunningham Son & Co. Factory
Fire Insurance Map from Rochester, Monroe County, New York,
Plate 375: Rochester Atheneum and Mechanics Institute
Plate 377: Site of original Edison station; Rochester Printing Co. and F.P. Van Hoesen Co. supplied with steam from Macauley-Fien Milling Co.; Cook's Opera House supplied with steam from Chamber of Commerce building. Also shows the isolated plant in the Bee Hive Building on Graves Street that began supplying steam in 1914.
in His Absence," Democrat and Chronicle, July 2, 1912, Page
R. D. DeWolf Elected President of Heating Association
of Raceway Finished," Democrat and Chronicle, July 30, 1912,
Station No. 3 is also having its share of work and a swarm of men is preparing to lay the pipes for furnishing steam power in the Eastman Kodak plant in State street. The beds for the new turbines have been placed and some time next month the new machines will be installed.
1912 Central Station Heating, by Byron Towne Gifford
1913 "President DeWolf's Remarks on Bleeder Turbines," Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association 5:141-142 (May 1913)
1913 "Operating Economies in Heating Large Factory Buildings," by Edward L. Wilder, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association 5:199-214 (May 1913)
Annual Report of the Public Service Commission, Second District, for
the year ended December 31, 1913, Volume III | also here
Page 328: Steam Corporations. Rochester Railway and Light Company
Revenue from sale of steam $44,940.99
Thomas H. Yawger," Electrical World 63(6):342-343 (February
Began service with the Edison Illuminating Company of Rochester, Dec. 1, 1888, as a helper.
Central Heating Plant," Democrat and Chronicle, May 27,
1914, Page 20
Sixth annual convention of the National District Heating Association.
1914 "See Steam-Heating Plant," Democrat and Chronicle, May 30, 1914, Page 11.
of the Sixth Annual Convention of the National District Heating
Association held at Rochester, New York (May, 1914)
Sixth Annual Convention held at the Seneca Hotel in Rochester, May 26-29, 1914.
Page 383-384: May 29, 1914. A special Pullman train filled with over one hundred and twenty-five of those attending the convention tour the American District Steam Company's plant in Lockport and factory in North Tonawanda. followed by a tour of Niagara Falls and a banquet at the Clifton Hotel on Canadian soil.
Permits Granted," Democrat and Chronicle, October 14, 1914,
To the Railway and Light Company, to construct an underground steam conduit in Aqueduct street.
1914 Seventh Annual
Report of the Public Service Commission, Second District, for the year
ended December 31, 1914, Volume III | also here
Page 305: Steam Corporations. Rochester Railway and Light Company
Revenue from sale of steam $53,525
1915 Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association (June 1915)
1915 District Heating: A Brief Exposition of the Development of District Heating and Its Position Among Public Utilities, by S. Morgan Bushnell and Frederick Burton Orr
1915 Eighth Annual
Report of the Public Service Commission, Second District, for the year
ended December 31, 1915, Volume III | also here
Page 320: Steam Corporations. Rochester Railway and Light Company
Revenue from sale of steam $68,114
Company Not Suffering for Coal," Democrat and Chronicle,
February 15, 1917, Page 17.
Rochester Railway and Light Company requests permission to shut off for a day the steam supply to the garbage reduction plant due to high power demand caused by ice blockade at Niagara Falls.
Bid on Rubber Hose," Democrat and Chronicle, August 23,
1917, Page 17.
The contract for supplying steam to the city garbage reduction plant was awarded to the Rochester Railway and Light Company on a sliding scale dependent on the price of coal.
Horsepower Saved," Democrat and Chronicle, December 29,
1917, Page 1y.
To be taken from heating system in a novel way.
1917 Annual Report of the Public Service Commission, Second District for the year ended December 31, 1917 Volume 1.
Book of the City of Rochester
Plate 1: Rochester Railway & Light Co. Power Station No. 26 [Between Aqueduct and Graves]
Plate 5: Station No. 35, Litchfield Street, Utz & Dunn; Cunningham
Use for Steam," Democrat and Chronicle, December 1, 1918,
New Industry Gets Supply for Railway and Light Company.
Yesterday marked the beginning of the use of this steam supply for curing tires, although for a decade the lighting company has been supplying steam for various industries, at the present time totaling several hundred.
Annual Report of the Public Service Commission, Second District, for
the year ended December 31, 1918, Volume III
Page 263: Steam Corporations. Rochester Railway and Light Company
Revenue from sale of steam $197,111
Number of customers 54
1919 Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association (June 1919)
1919 Company name changed to Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, November 10, 1919
Annual Report of the Public Service Commission, Second District, for
the year ended December 31, 1919, Volume II
Pages 269-270: Steam Corporations. Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation
Revenue from sale of steam $181,586
Number of customers 65
1921 RG&E News, Volume 8 (July 1920-June 1921)
News, Volume 9 (July 1921-June 1922)
Page 81: Number of steam customers 1911 to 1921
Page 192-193: "The Distribution of High and Low Pressure Steam from Station 34," by Julius J. Schenk
to Burn Pulverized Coal," Democrat and Chronicle, September
8, 1922, Page 27.
New Departure in Power Production Is Announced by Gas Corporation.
Auxiliary steam station of the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation.
L. Wilder," Bulletin of the National District Heating
Association 8(1):123-124 (October 1922)
Twelfth President of the National District Heating Association.
Steam Business," Democrat and Chronicle, November 22, 1922,
About fourteen years ago the Company started to sell steam for industrial and heating purposes on a small scale.
Over one hundred steam customers requiring over six miles of steam piping and using about 550,000,000 pounds of steam yearly. These consumers principally include manufacturing plants and offices located in the vicinity of the Company's three plants known as Stations 3, 26, and 35, located at Mill and Factory, Graves and Aqueduct, and Litchfield Streets, respectively.
News, Volume 10 (July 1922-June 1923)
Pages 39-42: The New Curtice Steam Line, by Landis Shaw Smith
Page 274: Another source of income about which the public is not so well informed is the sale of steam by the Company. At present there are over one hundred steam customers, requiring over six miles of piping. About 550,000,000 pounds of steam is used annually. Manufacturers, located near the Company's three plants are the principal customers. Station 3, 26 and 38 are located at Mill and Factory, Graves and Aqueduct, and Litchfield Streets respectively, are the steam plants. Some steam is used at either one hundred or one hundred ninety pounds per square inch from the boilers. Steam is used for heating from September until June at low pressure, at from one to five pounds per square inch. Some of the steam used for heating is waste from electric generation. The pipes are from one to sixteen inches in diameter and they are both underground and overhead. They must be insulated to keep the heat from escaping. Steam, like gas and electricity, is sold on a meter basis.
Steam Turbine to Add to Capacity of Plant Here," Democrat and
Chronicle, January 24, 1923, Page 18.
1923 Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association (June, 1923)
1923 "The St. Paul Street Steam Main," by Landis Shaw Smith, Rochester Gas & Electric News 11(6):139-142 (November 1923)
1924 RG&E News, Volume 11 (July 1923-June 1924) | also here |
1924 Gas and Electric News and Yearbook (February 1924)
J. Chapman Buys East Avenue Building for $1,250,000, Outbidding Rival By
Phone," Democrat and Chronicle, March 16, 1924, page 25. | Part
Included in Mr. Chapman's purchase is the power plant at the intersection of Euclid and Atlas streets in the rear of the East avenue building, also the tunnels under East avenue and Euclid street. enabling Mr. Chapman to furnish heat and power to much adjoining property.
1924 Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association (June, 1924)
Avenue Heating Plant Sold to Lighting Company by Chapman Estate for
$125,000," Democrat and Chronicle, October 19, 1924, Page
As was explained by Mr. Cadle, the purchase of the East avenue building heating plant, which also furnished steam for the Cutler building on the opposite side of the street, will not interfere with the corporation's plans to erect a much larger and thoroughly up-to-date central heating plant in Lawn street, in conjunction with the office, building and salesrooms which the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation will erect in East avenue, adjoining the Sagamore to the west.
Company's Steam Plant to Open in the Fall," Democrat and
Chronicle, March 23, 1925, Page 17.
To be Able to Supply Places Within 3,000-foot Radius of Lawn Street Unit.
Station Mains Started," Democrat and Chronicle, May 6, 1925,
Line to Serve East Avenue Building and Others; More to Follow.
of 2,800 k.W. Non-Condensing Turbine Used for Supplying Low Pressure
Steam to the Steam Distribution Station," by Roger D. DeWolf, Proceedings
of the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association
16:72-78 (May 1925)
[Turbine at Station #3]
1925 "Combined high-pressure power and heating plant for Rochester Gas and Electric Co.," by Roger D. DeWolf, Power 62:828-831 (December 1, 1925)
Conduct Hearing on Steam Franchise," Democrat and Chronicle,
March 16, 1926, Page 31.
The Law Committee of the Common Council will conduct a public hearing at 4 o'clock Friday afternoon in the aldermanic chambers on the ordinance providing for the sale of a steam franchise in Rochester. The franchise is sought by the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation, which has a permit to run steam mains under a number of streets, but now seeks a franchise. The corporation has a steam plant in Lawn street. Under provisions of the franchise, 2 per cent. of the gross revenues would be paid to the city.
Intended Ordinance Providing for the Sale and Grant of Franchise," Democrat
and Chronicle, April 6, 1926, Page 27.
Sale at public auction.
91. Authorizing Sale of Franchise for Distribution of Steam in Certain
Streets in the City of Rochester," Democrat and Chronicle,
May 4, 1926, Page 25.
Twenty-five year term
of the Seventeenth Annual Convention of the National District Heating
Association (June 1926)
Pages 106-125: "Exhaust Heating in Rochester, N.Y."
Pages 150-154: Developments in Rochester, by Roger D. DeWolf
Pages 206-217: New Station #8 in Rochester, by C. A. Woodruff
1926 "University of Rochester Installs New Heating Plant," by J. W. Gavett, Jr., Power 64(6):192-194 (August 10, 1926)
Gas & Electric News & Year Book, February, 1927
Pages 22-25: Helping to Heat Rochester Through Central Station Steam Service
The year 1926 closes the most favorable year that the Steam Department has experienced since its inception in 1910.
of the Eighteenth Annual Convention of the National District Heating
Association (May 1927) | also here
Pages 79-80: "Steam Main Construction, 1926, at Rochester, New York"
Pages 265-280: Report on First Year's Operation of 3000 K.W. Non-Condensing Turbine in Lawn St. Heating Plant of Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation," by C. E. Hague
Pages 289-371: Description of Lawn Street Plant, Station No. 8, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation.
1927 "Design of Lincoln Park heating plant permits future power generation," by K. B. Castle, Power 66:692-694 (November 8, 1927)
Gas & Electric News & Year Book, February, 1928
Pages 18-21: Progress in the Steam Department; Map of steam line additions in 1927 and buildings served by Lawn Street Station.
of Broad Street Bridge, Rochester, N.Y
RG&E's Station 26 is in the left center of the picture with the chimney, immediately to the left of the Aqueduct Building.
Gas & Electric News & Year Book
Pages 277-: Progress in the Steam Department
Company Acquires Stecher Heating Plant," Democrat and Chronicle,
January 15, 1930, Page 28.
[This plant was at 274 North Goodman Street on Anderson Avenue.]
Gas & Electric News & Year Book
Pages 291-293: Steam Sales, Generation and Distribution
Between an Industrial and Business Steam District," by Landis Shaw
Smith, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the National District
Heating Association 21:40-48 (June 1930) | Steam
system maps |
Steam heating from a central station in Rochester first started in 1889. The steam used was exhausted from the engine at an old Edison D. C. electric plant and sold to nearby factories and buildings at a low rate. There is little data available as to just how much steam was sold or how many customers were supplied, but this plant was in operation for ten years and was the beginning of district heating in Rochester.
In 1892, Station No. 2 was built near the present steam plant and supplied live steam at 100 lb. pressure and exhaust steam from the engines to two factories. Later, when Station No. 3 was built, these customers and others were tied in with the distribution system of Station No. 3 from which they are still being supplied with steam.
[Article about Stations #3 and #8]
President," Bulletin of the National District Heating
Association 15(4):143-144 (July 1930)
Landis Shaw Smith, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation.
of district heating in Rochester, N. Y.," by Landis Shaw Smith, Heating
& Ventilating 27:96-97 (July 1930)
Under the first topic Mr. Smith described the development or district heating In Rochester, N. Y., where his company is located. At first the service was limited entirely to the factory district and gradually grew until now the company has 134 customers using 820,000,000 lbs. of steam annually. In the business district, the service which was inaugurated in 1925, is now serving 154 customers with a consumption of 365,800,000 lbs. annually, so that the amount of steam sold in the factory district having fewer customers is over twice that sold In the downtown district.
Book and Rochester Gas & Electric News
Page 292: It also marks the discontinuance of one of Rochester's largest private boiler plants in favor of the more modern method of providing steam supply and is the first step in the development of a district steam system to serve many industries in the east side of this city.
of the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association
Pages 140-160: Operating data for Lawn Street Station #8 and Lincoln Park Station #9
of the National District Heating Association
Page 15: Rochester, New York. The Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation operates three separate systems in the city of Rochester, one serving the commercial district and the other two serving industrial districts.
This company serves a total of approximately 315 consumers, 25 of whom are company departments. It has 81,094 ft. of steam mains in the distribution system and 18,063 ft. of return mains. The steam sold in 1930 totaled 1,349,230,000 lb., and of this amount 172,942,800 lb. were sold to company departments.
Steam service to industrial users was begun several years ago in the vicinity of the company's electric generating station, which happened to be located near an industrial district. The station is a condensing plant, and steam is bled from the turbines at two different pressures to supply high- and low-pressure distribution systems. A general district-heating service is carried on in this vicinity in addition to the industrial service.
In the Lincoln Park district a group of varied industries use large amounts of process and heating steam. A plant is located nearby for the purpose of supplying steam service and to generate electricity. The initial installation was placed in operation in November, 1927. It consists of two 9580-sq. ft.. Bigelow Hornsby boilers burning powdered coal. A 3000-kw. extraction non-condensing turbine was installed and placed in operation as soon as the load justified it, which was in January, 1929.
Steam pipes in the industrial district are laid in split tile conduits, and the nature of the district permits burying them only two or three feet underground. Many extensions to mains and additions to the equipment were made in 1930 to care for an increased demand for steam.
Page 267: Fig. 111: Location of Lawn Street Station of the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation with Reference to the District Served: Fig. 112: Location of the Lincoln Park Station of the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation with Reference to the District Served. | pdf |
1933 "District Steam Heating an Adjunct to Industry," by Alfred T. Veness, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association 24:82-84 (June 1933)
1934 "Smoke Inspector Scans 1,850 Stacks in 30-Year Effort to Make Rochester One of the Cleanest Cities in State," Democrat and Chronicle, January 7, 1936, Page 15.
a City ... The Progress of District Heating in Rochester," by Landis
Shaw Smith, Gas
& Electric News 18(4):108-115 (May, 1934)
Page 109: Rochester, the third city to have district steam heating, started its first service in 1889.
1934 "Welcome to Rochester N.D.H.A.," Democrat and Chronicle, June 12, 1934, Page 17.
1934 "Heating body will convene in City today," Democrat and Chronicle, June 12, 1934, Page 17.
1934 "The Silver Anniversary Convention," Bulletin of the National District Heating Association 19(4):111-112 (June 15, 1934)
1934 RG&E News, Volume 18, No. 11 (December, 1934)
1934 Proceedings of
the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association
Twenty-Fifth Annual Convention Held at the Sagamore Hotel, June 12-15, 1934.
1935 RG&E News, Volume 18, No. 12 (January 1935)
Bulletin of the National District Heating Association 22(4)
(July 15, 1935)
Cover photo: Lawn Street station of the Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation
Book of the City of Rochester
Plate 1: Lawn Street Plant
Gas and Electric New and Yearbook February 1936
Page 41: Toward District Heating Besides the large major steam plants, some of which are shown on page 11, the Company operates Station 11, formerly the plant of the Stecher Lithographic Company.
1936 "Rochester Constructs High Pressure Steam Line to Supply Large Clothing Factory," by A. T. Veness, The Bulletin of the National District Heating Association 21(3):103-104, 116 (April, 1936)
'top' plant for Rochester," Power 80:197-200 (April 1936)
New 6,000 kW topping turbine at Station No. 3.
'top' plant for Rochester," Power Plant Engineering
40:206-217 (April 1936)
New 6000 kw. High Pressure Extension to Station No. 3 of the Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. Incorporates Complete Automatic and Centralized Control System
1936 "Developing District Steam Service," by Landis Shaw Smith, Rochester Gas and Electric News 20(10):318-319, 334 (November 1936)
1936 "The Story of the
Development of Electric Utilities in Rochester," by Thomas H. Yawger, Rochester
Gas and Electric News 20(8):256-263 (September 1936)
Page 258: Third Central Station. Edison Electric Illuminating Company. The exhaust steam was discharged into the air or as the temperature varied, was used to heat some of the adjacent buildings.
1937 "Number of Steam Customers, 1919-1937," from Rochester Gas & Electric Lantern Slide Collection, University of Rochester River Campus Libraries, Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation
1937 "District heating in Rochester," Heating & Ventilating 34:55 (May 1937)
1938 RG&E News, Volume 22, No. 6 (July, 1938)
1939 "Public Notice of Change in Steam Rate," Democrat and Chronicle, August 12, 1939, Page 21.
1941 "Electric Smoke Eliminator Installed at Lawn Street Plant, Rochester, N.Y.," The Bulletin of the National District Heating Association 26(2):51 (December, 1941)
Heating in Paris," by Philippe L. Schereschewsky, Proceedings of
the Annual Convention of the National District Heating Association
34:20-23 (June, 1943)
Page 22: We found very useful examples of operation at high pressure in existing systems. I am specially glad to mention here the system in Rochester, N. Y., where I was very kindly welcomed when visiting the U.S.A.
New President," Bulletin of the National District Heating
Association 28(4):162-196 (July 1943)
Julius J. Schenk, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation.
Rochester, New York," Bulletin of the National District Heating
Association 30(2):68 (January 1945)
Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Company, "The Boston Store", a very big department store with twenty-three acres of floor space has been taking its entire steam and power service from the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation since May 1942.
Approves Construction of Two Lines," Democrat and Chronicle,
July 5, 1945, Page 22.
Project Will Link Three Stations, Cost $300,000.
Construction of two interconnecting steam lines linking up three of Its stations at a cost of $300,000 has been approved by directors of the Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, President Herman Russell announced last night. The project will be construction of a high pressure steam transmission line connecting: Station 3, near Platt Street bridge, with Station 8 in Lawn Street in rear of the RG&E office building in East Avenue. The line will be of special steel, 10 inches in diameter, and a mile long and will run along the Genesee River through the old Johnson and Seymour Race, in North Water Street. Costing an estimated $238,000, the new line will provide an interchange of steam between the two stations and give greater diversity in use of equipment. While providing some extra steam capacity, ita principal advantage, Russell said, will be to furnish another source of supply to customers now using steam heat and now served from Station 8 in case of a breakdown. The new line will be used only as connecting link and no new steam heat customers will be served directly from it. The project calls for installation of a pressure and temperature reducing station at Station 6, in South Water Street, near Broad Street. In addition to the main steam line, another connecting line between Station 8 and Station 35, located in Litchfield Street, will be constructed at a cost of upwards of $60,000. Completion of the two lines is expected by late fall or next spring.
1945 "Notice of Sale at Public Auction of Franchise for Distribution of Steam in Certain Streets in the City of Rochester," Democrat and Chronicle, September 17, 1945, Page 20.
of Price for Sale of Steam Franchise to Rochester Gas and Electric
Corporation," Democrat and Chronicle, October 12, 1945, Page
Price of $325 at public auction.
1945 "Dry Milk, Rochester's Newest Industry," by Landis Shaw Smith, The Bulletin of the National District Heating Association 31(1):29-30 (October 1945)
1945 Proceedings of
the Rochester Common Council
Page 452: November 13, 1945. Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation is making application to the Public Service Commission for authority to exercise the franchise sold to it by the City of Rochester pursuant to Ordinance No. 45-256. adopted by the Council of said City September 11, 1945, which sale was approved by Ordinance No. 45-301 adopted by the Council of said City October 9, 1945, which franchise is dated October 11, 1945.
Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation hereby agrees if and when the Public Service Commission shall approve the exercise of said franchise dated October 11, 1945, that this corporation will surrender the franchise sold to it pursuant to Ordinance No. 91 adopted by the Council of said City April 27, 1926, which franchise is dated August 12, 1926.
Said surrender shall become effective as of the date of the acceptance by this corporation of an order of the Public Service Commission approving the exercise by this corporation of said franchise dated October 11, 1945.
Gets OK to Widen Steam Area," Democrat and Chronicle,
November 2, 1945, Page 37.
Along with permission to invade new areas, as the result of many requests from the districts for the steam service, the utility will construct two interconnecting lines linking three of its stations. Station 3 Platt Street, Station 8, Lawn Street, and Station 35, Litchfield St. Work on the extension is now underway, and steam service to parts of the new district is anticipated shortly.
The new districts are: District 1 Atlantic Avenue, University, North Goodman, Monroe. Meigs, Alexander, South, Troup, Reynolds, Main West, Broad, Jay, Scrantom, St. Paul. Clinton, Ward, Joseph, Central, Lyndhurst and Union. District 2, Jay, Ames, West Avenue, Lincoln Park to Chili Avenue. Only commercial users will be serviced.
1946 "Funeral Set for De Wolf on Wednesday," Democrat and Chronicle, February 4, 1946, Page 17.
New, Mile Long, Ten Inch, High Pressure Steam Transmission Main at
Rochester, New York," by J. J. Schenk, Proceedings of the Annual
Convention of the National District Heating Association 38:216-226
[Steam Line from Station #3 to Station #8]
1948 "Desuperheater Operation on District Heating System in Rochester, N.Y.," by Julius J. Schenk, The Bulletin of the National District Heating Association 33(4):161-163 (July 1948)
Celebration in Rochester," by Landis Shaw Smith, The Bulletin of
the National District Heating Association 34(1):9 (October 1948)
The company is third in the list of the pioneers of the district heating industry, having started service in 1889. It now serves 400 steam customers, including many of Rochester's nationally known commercial and industrial concerns, from four district steam plants. It is the fifth largest steam service system due to its large industrial loads.
Book, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation, October 1948
Page 14: Steam for heating buildings and other uses came into the Rochester picture also in 1889 when the community became the third in the nation to have this service. Several years before the first Rochester electric company was formed, Birdsell Holley was developing the original district steam system in Lockport, N.Y. A few years later steam for heating buildings and for process was was being piped under the streets and sidewalks of New York.
In Rochester steam from the old Edison plant near Erie Canal at Exchange Street was being sold to nearby buildings, including the Athenaeum (now the Rochester Institute of Technology), stores and taverns. This early service was augmented by the erection of Station 2 near the Upper Falls. Some buildings in the heart of the old flour milling district are still purchasing steam after 60 years of continuous service. The old porcupine boilers at Station 2 have long since given way to modern powered coal at Station 3, located on the river near the Platt Street bridge.
Launches New Projects at $600,000 Cost," Democrat and Chronicle,
July 20, 1949, Page 15.
New Main to Improve Downtown Steam Service
The new line will enlarge the steam distribution system at RG&E that now is the fifth-largest in the country. The utility owns the longest high-pressure steam line in the world, according to engineers.
Heating Handbook, Third Edition, National District Heating
Pages 21-23: Rochester, N.Y. The four plants of the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation of Rochester, N. Y., the third oldest system in the country, serve the greatest number of industrial customers of any district steam company. Many users are regular seasonal heating customers with incidental water heating, etc., such as are found in other cities. In addition to these customers, the Company has acquired during the more than 55 years of its district steam operation a substantial number of customers that use steam for industrial and process uses. These latter uses represent a large and varied assortment and include most of those shown hereafter in Chapter 14. New industrial uses are continually being added and there seems to be no end to the applications.
Most customers are served at a high pressure, nominally 100 psi. A number of customers near the steam generating plants are served with low pressure steam, nominally 5 psi, mostly during the heating season.
The boilers are equipped-with superheaters and steam is distributed and often delivered superheated. Powdered coal is used exclusively in the three largest plants; stokers are used in the fourth. The coal for two plants requires trucking for relatively short hauls, while the two other plants are on railroad sidings. Some steam is generated at 150 psi but most of it is at 350 and 675 psi. Five extraction, noncondensing type turbines, totaling 12,000 kw, are installed in several of the district heating plants and the exhaust steam from these turbines is delivered to the steam-distribution system. Thus, a relatively small amount of by-product electricity is generated in the district steam plants and delivered to the Company's electric system.
Some mains are installed in private rights-of-way mostly within buildings. Several mains in the factory areas are constructed above ground and supported on piers or on 'A' frames. Main construction since World War II has been largely of prefabricated unit design and expansion of the pipe is provided for with expansion loops or changes in direction of the pipe wherever possible.
During 1946 there was installed a 650 psi, 10 in. transmission main about one mile long between the main factory district plant and the main commercial district distribution system. A large portion of this main was constructed above the ground along existing Company-owned rights-of-way and through a Company-owned former raceway beneath a city street. It now provides an added safety factor in steam supply and facilitates dispatching steam requirements in the downtown area. An additional transmission main was constructed in 1949.
Future plans contemplate the consolidation and interconnection of the downtown systems by tying together the ends of the long steam main extensions and the further development of the high-pressure steam service for industrial uses.
Page 143: Steam distribution map, Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation.
Page 146: Distribution System Statistics
1953 "We've Spent More than $1,000,000 to Cut Down Our 'Smoking'," Democrat and Chronicle, October 18, 1953, Page 84.
to Connect 2 Steam Stations," Democrat and Chronicle,
January 23, 1954, Page 9.
Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. will construct a steam line from its Lawn St. station to connect with the smaller Anderson Ave. station as soon as weather permits, Ralph H. McCumber, manager of electrical and steam operations, disclosed yesterday. Purpose is to strengthen the present system, particularly the Anderson station, which serves mainly industrial plants in the area. The 9,000 foot steam main will follow a route from Lawn St. to Court, East Ave. to Prince, north to College Ave. and east to Anderson.
H. Yawger Dies; 'Mr. Electricity,'" Rochester Democrat and
Chronicle, March 27, 1954, Page 81,
Thomas H. Yawger, 89 years old. Worked in the original Edison station starting in 1888, 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
1954 "Additional Generating Equipment at Station No. 9 of the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation," by George M. Johnson, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the National District Heating Association 45:106-108 (May, 1954)
1954 "Smoke Goes Out as Steam comes In!," Democrat and Chronicle, October 31, 1954, Page 39
Two-Mile-Long High Pressure Steam Main Installation at Rochester, N.Y.,"
District Heating 40(4):140-142 (April, 1955)
From Station 8 on Lawn Street. Next fall several of the buildings of the Women's College of the University of Rochester will be served by this steam main.
1957 "RG&E Steam Keeps Air Clean," Democrat and Chronicle, January 13, 1957, Page 13.
R.G.&.E. Story, A history of Rochester Gas and Electric
Company of Rochester, NY. | Chart
of RG&E's corporate predecessors | also here
Page 20: A third electric company, incorporated as the Edison Electric Illuminating Company, made its bow on April 23 of that year. It was located in Exchange Street, near the Erie Canal, in the vicinity of the present War Memorial Building. It was strictly a steam plant and the exhaust steam was discharged into the air. In cold weather this steam was used to warm some of the adjacent buildings, thus serving as a forerunner of the present large R.G.&E. steam heating business.
Page 26: Plants for the production of steam for commercial heating are located in Lawn Street and Mt. Read Boulevard.
Page 29: At the end of 1956 the R.G.&E. had 191,150 electric customers, classified as follows: Residential, 169,477; Commercial, 19,493; Industrial, 1,004; Miscellaneous, 1,176. There were 617 steam customers, classified as follows: Commercial, 470; Industrial, 120; Municipal, 25; Residential, 2. During 1956 total electric revenue was $33,108,128 and steam revenue, $3,942,365.
Page 46: R.G.&E.'s District Steam Heating Service. It started in 1889 when Rochester was the third city in the United States to go into the steam heating business
and Construction Period of the School and Hospitals 1921-1925,
by George H. Whipple, M.D.| pdf |
Page 10: It also was decided to place the power plant between the University's new River Campus and the Medical School and Hospital area, where it could be serviced by the Lehigh Valley Railroad with considerable advantage in the delivery of coal. After discussion and comparison of prices, it was thought best to build this plant for coal fuel rather than to purchase heat from the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation. Without doubt, that was a sound decision. It was decided to purchase electricity from the utility corporation rather than to manufacture it.
Bunyan ... or Tom Thumb," by Henry A. MacGregor, District
Heating 52(4):140 (Spring 1967)
In the year 1965, the amount of steam sold in the City of Rochester for commercial, industrial and heating purposes by the RG&E was the fourth largest in the United States and Canada, following New York City, Detroit and Philadelphia in that order.
The estimated potential load increase, as the redevelopment of the downtown area takes place, indicates that the demand for steam will approximately double the existing load. This could move the RG&E into third place among the nation's steam selling utilities.
of new gas-fired steam generator at Rochester, New York," by Henry
A. MacGregor, District Heating 54(3):20 (Winter 1969)
For Station No. 9
1969 "Urban Development Project at Rochester, New York," by Henry A. MacGregor, District Heating 54(4):16-17 (Spring 1969)
RG&E Polluting the Air?," Democrat and Chronicle,
January 31, 1971, Page 3F.
We recently converted one of our downtown plants to complete gas firing.
waste disposal plans for Rochester and Monroe County, by
Rochester Engineering Society, Rochester, N. Y.
Volume 2, pages H48-H58: The sale of steam energy
1973 "Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation: Fifth Largest Steam Producer in the United States," by Wilbur Mitchell, District Heating 58(4):16-17 (April-May 1973)
New President," District Heating 59(1):3 (July-August 1973)
Alvin B. Spetz, Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation
1976 "Monroe County Resource Recovery Project," by D. Carlson and D. Spencer, Proceedings of the Mineral Waste Utilization Symposium 5:196-203 (April 1976)
in the Eyes of the Beholder: The Utility Company," by M. John
Corson, RG&E, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the
International District Heating Association 68:73-83 (June 1977)
Page 82: One promising possibility is a 100% RDF-fired boiler which would supply steam for RG&E's downtown steam network. If this concept becomes a reality, it would replace steam now supplied from oil-fired boilers.
S. Smith, RG&E retiree," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,
August 30, 1977, Page 13.
Landis Shaw Smith, Sales superintendent, dies age 81. He retired in 1960 after 40 years at RG&E.
Monroe County Resource Recovery Facility," by David B.
Spencer, Proceedings of the Mineral Waste Utilization Symposium
6:204-210 (May 1978)
A 20-year agreement has been reached between Monroe County and RG&E for purchase of the RDF product. The agreement required RG&E to utilize as much fuel as is possible up to the maximum available from the facility and to pay 100% of the net value of coal saved after adjustments for all incremental costs incurred by RG&E for co-firing of RDF with pulverized coal.
1978 "Owners get steamed over heating costs," Democrat and Chronicle, September 15, 1978, Page 1B. | Part 2 |
Circular, Issue 8826, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau
of Mines (1980)
Pages 50-51: Monroe County Resource Recovery Facility, by D. B. Spencer
1980 "RG&E steam-heat business evaporating," Democrat and Chronicle, June 1, 1980, Page 1B. | Part 2 | Map of Steam Service Territory |
heat's future cloudy," Democrat and Chronicle, June 4, 1980,
Page 1B. | Part
No new information in RG&E report. Also an article "Midtown Plaza saves cash with its own heat system"
New President," District Heating 66(1):3 (3rd Quarter 1980)
Robert Botsford, Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation
of the International Conference on Prepared Fuels and Resource
Recovery Technology (February 1981)
Pages 165-108: Raytheon Service Company Experience & Programs in Resource Recovery
1981 "RG&E Steam System 'can be saved'," Democrat and Chronicle, February 8, 1981, Page 1F | Part 2 |
1981 "The Rochester Steam Story," by Robert E. Botsford, Superintendent of Fossil, Hydro and Steam Production, RG&E, District Heating 66(4):9-11, 13-15, 17 (2nd Quarter 1981)
1981 Potential Opportunities for Revitalization of the Rochester, New York Steam District Heating System, by Robert E. Gant, Michael A. Karnitz, Carroll W. Easton and Carl H. Thiele, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, September 1981.
$13 million plan will revamp steam system," Democrat and
Chronicle, October 18, 1981, page 1F. | Part
New heating and industrial customers might be attracted, utility says.
1982 "Potential Opportunities for Revitalizing A Steam District Heating System: A Case Study of Rochester, New York," by Robert E. Gant, Gant Scientific Consultants and Michael A. Karnitz, Energy Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, District Heating 67(4):24-30 (Second Quarter 1982)
1983 "RG&E warns its steam customers; It's too expensive," Democrat and Chronicle, January 25, 1983, Page 1A. | Part 2 |
of Public Hearing on Proposed Issuance of Bonds," Democrat and
Chronicle, April 3, 1983, Page 10F.
$18 to $20 million to the Cogeneration Development Corporation for the development and construction of a hot water district heating system connecting multiple users in the City of Rochester, County of Monroe, and State of New York.
1983 "Downtown may get new heat system," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, April 5, 1983, Page 1A | Part 2 |.
system proposal for city clears a hurdle," Democrat and
Chronicle, April 22, 1983, Page 12.
Cogeneration Development Corporation.
hopes to save steam-heat system," Democrat and Chronicle,
February 21, 1984, Page 6B
A private developer, Cogeneration Development Corp. of New York City, tried last year to establish a hot-water system in downtown Rochester but the company was unable to reach an agreement with RG&E on buying waste heat to provide the hot water.
No. 84-19, "Opinion and Order Concerning Steam Service and
Determining Revenue Requirement," July 11, 1984, State of New York Public
The company is directed to file, within thirty days of the date of this Opinion and Order, a proposed plan for abandoning the steam system by October 1, 1985.
1984 "High Costs Force RG&E to Quit Steam Business," Democrat and Chronicle, July 17, 1984, Page 1. | Part 2 |
the cost of failure," Democrat and Chronicle, July 25, 1984,
Page 1B | Part 2
| Part 3 | Part
County explores options after decision to cut losses, shut its resource recovery plant.
1984 "Rochester Forming a Cooperative," District Heating 70(2):26 (4th Quarter 1984)
1984 "Building Owners Seek Takeover of Downtown Steam Heat System," Democrat and Chronicle, November 15, 1984, Page 10D.
Dreamer," Democrat and Chronicle, December 16, 1984, Page
F-1 | Part 2 |
Meet David E. Thurston: engineer, idealist, advocate for a steam heating system he doesn't want to see go up in smoke.
1985 "Delco to begin building steam generating facility," Democrat and Chronicle, January 31, 1985, Page 10D.
1985 "Steam system study says cooperative of local firms could charge lower rates," Democrat and Chronicle, February 20, 1985, Page 40.
1985 "Steam co-op urges property owners to join," Democrat and Chronicle, March 6, 1985, Page 10D | Part 2 |
co-op has financing," Democrat and Chronicle, March 30,
1985, Page 12C | Part
Yesterday the cooperative received RG&E's letter of intent to transfer a portion of the steam system (primarily within the inner loop) to the cooperative.
1985 "Order Confirming Abandonment Date," April 3, 1985, New York State Public Service Commission
1985 "Oct. 1 Still Last Day for RG&E to Provide Steam, but ...," Democrat and Chronicle, April 4, 1985, Page 14D
Proceedings Sixty-Sixth Annual Conference of the International
District Heating and Cooling Association (June, 1985)
Pages 110-116: "Formation of the Rochester District Heating Cooperative," by Armand A. Lartigue and David W. Wade
1985 An act to authorize the county of Monroe to participate in the Rochester district heating cooperative, incorporated. August 1, 1985.
1985 An act to amend the public service law and the transportation corporations law, in relation to commission jurisdiction with respect to non-profit steam cooperative corporations. August 1, 1985.
1985 "Steam System Takeover Delayed to November," Democrat and Chronicle, September 12, 1985, Page 12D.
ready to boil," Democrat and Chronicle, December 4, 1985,
Temporary boilers installed at Lawn Street Plant.
report of the Public Service Commission of the State of New York
Pages 37-38: RG&E Steam System Transfer
RG&E began steam service to downtown Rochester in 1889 and in the 1920s offered service to industrial customers in the separate westside district. In the 1970s, RG&E's steam system began losing customers due to economic conditions.
In 1982, the company was directed to file a long-range plan that would examine, among other things, the possibility of converting Bee Bee Station to coal, scaling down the syste,m, and eliminating one or both of the steam districts. The company's report, issued on January 24, 1983, reached the conclusion that its district steam business could not be returned to economic viability and the company should inform its customers that they should convert to alternatives as soon as possible.
An expanded proceeding to examine the steam system report was instituted in April 1983. After over eight months of the evidentiary hearings process, the Commission issued an Order on July 11, 1984, which directed RG&E to submit a detailed plan for abandoning the steam system by October 1, 1985.
As a result of the Order, the Commission invited consumers to comment on the proposal to abandon the system. After reviewing all the comments, the Commission accepted RG&E's revised financial assistance plan for conversion and confirmed the October 1, 1985 shutdown date.
Several large steam customers of RG&E then formed the Rochester District Heating Cooperative (RDH), a nonprofit cooperative specifically organized to acquire the steam system and reconfigure the system to operate in Rochester's central business district.
After numerous meetings, RG&E and RDH reached an agreement to transfer portions of the RG&E system to RDH. The Commission ruled in early October 1985 that the transfer of property to RDH would be a non-utility transfer and, as such, would not require explicit Commission approval.
RG&E finalized its agreements with RDH to transfer a portion of its downtown steam system and steam Station 8 to RDH . For those customers who have had difficulty converting from the system, RG&E and RDH have worked out an agreement to provide service until the conversions are completed.
1985 Deed from Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation to the Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc., December 19, 1985, book , page
1985 Deed from Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc., to the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority, December 19, 1985, book 6830, page 95
and Chronicle, January 31, 1986, Page 32.
The Rochester District Heating Cooperative, providing steam heat to about 40 members, was inaugurated yesterday at the power plant on Lawn Street. The building was dedicated to Armand A. Lartigue, president of RDH. The cooperative has taken over the steam system abandoned as unprofitable by Rochester Gas and Electric Corp.
1986 Rochester district heating system reconfiguration : technical and economic feasibility : final report, by Resource Development Associates, Inc., Dayton, OH.; Rochester Gas and Electric Corp., NY.; New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany. January 1986.
District Heating Cooperative Starts Business," District Heating,
71(3):34 (1st Quarter 1986)
Inaugural ceremonies were held January 30, 1986 for the Rochester District Heating Steam Cooperative, the first cooperative in New York State. This capped off more than a years effort in closing the $9 million in industrial revenue bond financing and purchasing of Station 8 and the reconfigured district heating system from Rochester Gas and Electric Company.
The coop is currently purchasing steam from RG&E until the installation of leased package boilers. A contractor has been selected for construction of a permanent boiler plant on Lawn St. The headquarters for the staff will be 50 Chestnut Plaza, eleventh floor, immediately adjacent to the plant.
Proceedings Seventy-Seventh Annual Conference of the International
District Heating and Cooling Association (June 1986)
Pages 141-150: "The Rebirth of District Heating in Rochester, New York," by William C. Hanselman & Elliott G Jennings
Pages 235-247: "Financing the Rochester District Heating Cooperative," by Linda S. Costello
New York: A District Heating Case Study, September,
1986. United States Conference of Mayors
Page 3: In March 1985, a letter of intent was signed between RG&E and RDH for transfer of a portion of the steam system
System Lowers Rates," District Heating and Cooling,
72(2):42-43 (4th Quarter 1986)
The Rochester District Heating Cooperative, another customer owned and operated district heating system, was able to lower its steam prices 19 percent after one year of operation. On September 1 average prices were
lowered from $18 per thousand pounds to $14.19.
The reduction in price was due to the cooperative purchasing self-help gas from producers rather than buying gas from the local utility. Additional cost saving measures being investigated are cogeneration and installing condensate return lines.
The cooperative currently has 40 members, and discussions are in progress with the developers of a new Hyatt Hotel.
1987 "Morin unveils proposal for incinerator," Democrat and Chronicle, October 23, 1987, Page 1 | Part 2 |
1987 "Chronology of Monroe County's Resource Recovery Facility," Democrat and Chronicle, October 23, 1987, Page 8B
1987 "Questions & Answers Concerning Lucien Morin's Solid Waste Proposal," advertisement, Democrat and Chronicle, November 1, 1987, Page 7B.
1988 Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc. A Winning Team, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, June 1988
1988 "Copper grinches steal the warmth from city workers," Democrat and Chronicle, December 14, 1988, Page 1. | Part 2 |
at the Cooperative," by Bea Slizewski, District Heating
and Cooling 74(3):6-7, 9-10, 42 (First Quarter 1989)
Rebirth of Rochester's Steam System Delivered by a Most Unlikely Coalition.
1991 "Iola Powerhouse: Monroe County Optimizes Fuel-Use Strategies," by Henry Manczyk, District Heating and Cooling 76(4):23-24 (Second Quarter 1991)
Proceedings of the Eighty-Fourth Annual Conference of the
Inaternatonal District Heating and Cooling Association (June
Pages 121-129: "Rochester District Heating Insurance Case Study," by Howard Cone
1996 "We're Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary," Democrat and Chronicle, January 22, 1996, Page 4.
1996 "We're Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary," Color version
1997 "Steam-heat bill aids competition," Democrat and Chronicle, June 25, 1997, Page 4-B.
2007 "From Steam to Hot Water and CHP: University of Rochester Converts," by Morris A. Pierce, District Energy 93(3):19-22 (Third Quarter 2007)
2011 "Steam power offers Rochester viable green energy option," by Jim Durfee, Robert Business Journal (February 11, 2011)
2014 Aerial Photo of the Beebee Station
RG&E Beebee Power Plant – Just Before (and during) Demolition,
August 30th, 2016
Includes pictures of the old steam turbines that supplied the district steam network and a picture of a plaque affixed to the Platt Street bridge overlooking High Falls and the power station that reads: “In 1889 Rochester was the third city in the country to have a steam heating system, ending much of the smoke nuisance downtown. Citizen’s Light and Power Co.’s combined steam and hydroelectric power plant was established in 1892 on Brown’s Race and Mill Street. In 1904 Citizen’s merged with RG&E.
2017 "Rochester District Heating Cooperative finishes infrastructure updates," by Velvet Spicer, Rochester Business Journal (September 27, 2017)
2017 Franchise Map, Rochester District Heating Cooperative (November 15, 2017)
2018 Kodak Utility Service History
2021 Rochester District Steam System, presentation for Rochester's Rich History, April 17, 2021 | YouTube video of presentation |
Archive issues of the RG&E News hosted by the RG&E Pioneers Club
Pioneers of RG&E - A Newsletter for Retirees
Rochester District Heating Cooperative
Gas & Electric Corporation
Additional information, suggestions,
questions, and corrections are always welcome and can be submitted to:
Morris A. Pierce
Department of History
364 Rush Rhees Library
University of Rochester
Rochester NY 14627-0070
© 2020-2022 Morris A. Pierce