The Center Creek Hydroelectric Power Plant, located at 190 West 200 South in Parowan, was associated with the development oh hydroelectric power in Parowan. Parowan, originally called Center Creek, was settled in 1851, and was principally based on “the presence of plentiful fuel, water, good soil for agriculture, and a large deposit of rich iron ore.”
One of the most important political, social, and agricultural developments in Parowan between 1900 and 1940 was the movement of farmers from town residences to their farming acreage, which was necessitated by homesteaded laws which required families to live on their active farming property. With this change, agriculture became commercial farming rather than self-sufficient truck farming, and large scale water projects were undertaken to facilitate the change. Telephone lines reached Parowan in 1903, and electricity arrived in 1907. the first power plant (near Parowan) was built in 1906 at the mouth of Parowan Canyon.
In 1925, Parowan City built the Center Creek penstock, or aqueduct, in order to harness some of Center Creek’s water for the generation of electricity for the residents of Parowan City. The small plant at the mouth of Parowan Canyon was later moved into town in 1952, and rebuilt at the corner of 200 West and 200 South where it stands today.
Photographs from 1975 show that the original brick building was much in the same appearance as the current structure is today. Photographs from 1975 and 1983 show the associated substation enclosure that was on the north side of the power plant. Only concrete platforms and a small wood tower structure remain in the fenced enclosure that once contained towers, transformers, and insulators.
The penstock has remained in use since the mid-1920’s, although segments were replaced through the years. The original penstock consisted of wire-wrapped wood pipe, which was later replaced with steel pipe in varying diameters along the route from the diversion dam in Parowan Canyon to the plant in town.
The Center Creek Hydroelectric Power Plant and Penstock underwent a major upgrade and replacement project from November 2014 – August 2015. Nearly the entire penstock was replaced with new HDPE and Ductile Iron Pipe. The new penstock follows the same general alignment of the original penstock until the mouth of Parowan Canyon, at which point the new penstock continues along SR-143 to 300 South, where it turns and follows 300 South to 200 West. The new penstock was also buried, in contrast to the original penstock that was mostly installed above ground. As part of the upgrade project, all of the power generating equipment in the power plant was replaced with a modern Pelton Wheel Turbine-Generator system. The exterior of the building remains much the same, with the exception of a new roof and new windows and doors. The interior of the building was renovated to accommodate the new systems. The new Center Creek Hydroelectric Plant was commissioned in September 2015.
- Parowan, Utah