I must be of a small minority, because I like old power plants. I do not feel the hatred so many individuals express toward such facilities. Growing up during the 1960s and 1970s I quickly learned to appreciate the efforts of people like C.C. Sheldon, Harold Kramer, C.W. McConaughy, George E. Johnson, Senator George W. Norris, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. I grew up thrilling to stories of power and irrigation projects being built, and the stringing of wire into rural districts.

As a rail fan I learned of such people as Samuel Insull, William Brown McKinley, and James Buchannan Duke. These men were responsible for building some of our nation's most successful mass transit systems. However, they also built notable power utilities: Midwest Utilities Company, North American Power & Light Company, and the Duke Power Company. Sam Insull actually owned Nebraska power utilities like the Central Power Company and the Northwestern Public Service Company.

My interest in the Depression Era Nebraska hydroelectric plants sparked an even more intense interest in the many small hydroelectric plants that had been built prior to 1930. In studying this subject I learned about the many local grain millers who ventured into the electric business, installing small generators on the open flume turbines that once powered their milling machines. I also learned of local business leaders who built small hydroelectric, oil-engine, diesel, and steam power plants to bring electric lighting to the towns of rural Nebraska. My book shelves now have numerous texts and periodicals about the primitive machines that lit up Nebraska in the first half of the 20th century!

It is both thrilling and sad to see an old power plant demolished. Like a lot of people it is thrilling to watch a controlled demolition. It is sad, however, to see a familiar landmark come down. I observed power plants like the IPS Hawkeye, NPPD Ogallala, and NPPD Kramer Station being torn down. It is VERY sad, when a by-stander gets seriously hurt, like the 44-year old gentleman who had his leg severed when a piece of shrapnel hit him during the demolition of the 1948 Kern Power Plant of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

There was a video of the newer smoke stack at the High Bridge Power Plant of Xcel Energy (Northern States Power) being demolished. How many people know there has been a coal-fired power plant at High Bridge since 1923?

Even though we face the challenges of anthropogenic climate change in the early 21st century, I do not feel the animosity many activists express against the electric industry. Personally, I believed building power plants was a noble endeavor, the means by which our forbearers delivered people from darkness and hard labor. I still believe that, whether the power plant be a coal-fired facility or a wind farm. These installations provide electricity for mass-transit systems, industry, commercial districts, residential neighborhoods, and farms. I find a rare and exciting beauty in power plants, pole lines, and substations. My heroes were and are inventors, scientists, electrical engineers, power plant operators, and line workers.