Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station
PROPOSED RESTORATION PROGRAM
May 22, 2001
Prepared by: Glenn Rittenger, PE
288 Hill St.
Milford, MI 48381
Table of Contents
Program Objective 2
Building Requirements 5
Site Requirements 7
Flume and Spillway Requirements 9
Power Generation Requirements 11
Maintenance Requirements 16
Estimated Cost Outline 17
Immediate Requirements and Priorities 19
The Village of Milford was founded in 1832 at the location where the Pettibone Creek empties into the Huron River. The site was selected because of its available water power.
At least fourteen mill sites are known to have existed in the village and township. Today, all that remains are historic markers and old photographs.
The Ford Motor Company, Pettibone Creek Hydro-
The structure, known as the Ford Powerhouse, is owned by the Village of Milford and
is located in the community’s Central Park. The building is recognized as having
historic significance and the Village has sought assistance in planning and funding
its renovation. A requisite of the project is that the renovation should provide
The Milford Historical Society has named the Milford Village Ford Powerhouse Restoration Committee to work with the Village of Milford in restoring the building and determining a use that would be beneficial for both the Village and the community. The committee’s goal is to historically restore the building, meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings; to prepare the building for occupancy and use consistent with applicable Parks and Recreation zoning; and to provide for interpretation of the site.
The intent of this report is to outline the general requirements necessary to restore the building meeting these objectives. This report also presents information on the requirements to utilize the existing infrastructure and available water power to generate electricity. The generated power would be utilized for the building, the municipal well house, iron extraction plant and park lighting; to provide a utility cost savings for the Village.
The results of this plan would be approximately 700 square feet of barrier free space on the main level of the building, with a barrier free unisex toilet room. The basement would contain what exists there today as well as the new mechanical and electrical equipment required for the operation of the building and power generation. The surge tank would remain in the tower of the building. The basement and tower levels would not be barrier free compliant.
The Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station was built by Ford Motor Company in 1939, in conjunction with the Huron River Station, to supply power for the new carburetor plant. The Milford Plant was Henry Ford’s twelfth in his series of “Village Industry” projects that utilized existing mill sites to generate electrical power for the manufacturing plants.
The Pettibone Station was powered by a 48 inch steel flume, or pipe, that was installed from the station to the south end of Moore Lake. The length of the flume is approximately 3400 feet. The total power that can be derived from a hydroelectric plant is based on the total head pressure or elevation of the water and the available water flow. The installation of the flume took advantage of the series of mill pond dams on Pettibone creek to achieve a 50 foot head of water to operate the station.
Once inside the building, the 48 inch diameter pipe is split to feed two hydraulic turbines in the basement. A shaft then connected each turbine to a generator located on the main level. The two generators were rated at 75 and 62.5 KVA. When synchronized with the other sources, the power was distributed to the manufacturing plant via underground cables across the lower mill pond. Both hydroelectric stations could be operated from the control room in the manufacturing plant.
The large tank in the tower of the Pettibone station is connected to the 48 inch flume in the basement and acted as a surge suppressor to absorb the shock of the moving water when the turbine gates closed.
The Pettibone Station was decommissioned around 1953 and acquired by the Village of Milford in 1970. Since it's retirement, much of the original equipment has been removed or vandalized. Presently there is water flowing through the flume and turbine casings from Moore Lake and is discharged into the creek below the station.
The station is located at 225 West Liberty Street (Sidwell Number 16-
The Manufacturing Plant and Hydroelectric Stations were designed by Albert Kahn Inc., Detroit, Michigan, Job No. 1726. Albert Kahn designed many buildings for Ford as well as the Fisher Building, General Motors Building and several buildings for the University of Michigan. Some of the original drawings for the manufacturing plant and flume construction are on file at Albert Kahn’s office. The drawings for the Pettibone Station have not been located. The building is a contributing structure in the North Milford Village National Historic District recently approved by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.
Cornerstone Architects have been hired to provide pre-
The following information outlines the general renovation requirements for the building structure, both exterior and interior.
1. Asbestos and Lead Abatement
2. Masonry Repairs
3. Roof Replacement
4. Selective Demolition
5. Windows & Doors
6. Stair Handrails
7. Quarry Tile Floor
8. Toilet Room
9. Prep and Paint
10. Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
11. Lighting, Power & Communications