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Perry K Steam Plant

366 Kentucky Ave

The history of 366 Kentucky Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana, is closely tied to the development and transformation of the city’s energy infrastructure. The site is best known for housing the Perry K Steam Plant, which has played a significant role in providing energy to the downtown Indianapolis area.

The Perry K Steam Plant began operations in 1893 under Indianapolis Light & Power as the Kentucky Avenue Station, initially producing electricity to power the new electric lights developed by Thomas Edison. This marked an important milestone in the city’s modernization efforts. By 1905, the plant began converting to a steam production facility, providing heat to large buildings and industries in downtown Indianapolis. Over the years, the plant evolved and expanded its services, contributing to the city’s economic and industrial growth.

In March 2000, Citizens Energy Group acquired the Perry K Steam Plant and its associated facilities, integrating them into its thermal division. This division now manages one of the largest district steam systems in the United States, supplying heat and hot water to over 200 commercial buildings and industries. Additionally, the plant supports chilled water facilities that cool more than 60 large buildings in the downtown area.

The site’s transformation also mirrors broader changes in urban infrastructure and planning in Indianapolis. The original design of the city’s streets, conceptualized by Alexander Ralston in the early 19th century, was significantly altered by mid-20th-century urban development projects. The construction of major buildings like the Indiana National Bank headquarters and the Indianapolis Convention-Exposition Center led to the truncation of Kentucky Avenue, reflecting the dynamic changes in urban planning and development strategies over time.

The Perry K Steam Plant has faced environmental and health-related challenges typical of coal-fired power plants. Studies have highlighted the significant emissions from the plant, including CO2, SO2, and NOx, contributing to air pollution and associated health risks. Efforts to convert the plant from coal to natural gas by 2014 aimed to mitigate these environmental impacts.

Today, 366 Kentucky Avenue stands as a testament to the industrial and urban evolution of Indianapolis, reflecting both the advancements in energy production and the changing landscape of the city​ (Citizens Energy)​​ (Global Energy Monitor)​​ (Historic Indianapolis)​.

Because of the very interesting and industrial landscape, Many photographers and artists have made the Steam Plant the subject of various beautiful images!

Ryan
Author: Ryan

I Love the city of Indianapolis. Art, real estate, small biz and model trains. :)

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