AKA: Powerhouse Science Center, Sacramento, CA

Structure Type: built works - industrial buildings - power plants

Designers: Dreyfuss and Blackford, Architects (firm); Polk, Willis, and Company (firm); Leonard D. Blackford (architect); Albert Milford Dreyfuss Jr. (architect); Willis Jefferson Polk (architect)

Dates: constructed 1912

2 stories

400 Jibboom Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

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The facility served as a high-voltage transformer substation and an auxiliary electricity generation plant for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (P, G and E) in Sacramento, CA. The utility expanded the plant in 1924, installing a large steam-powered turbine generator. P, G and E closed the generation facility in 1954.


In 2016, the Powerhouse Science Center had plans to rehabilitate the abandoned power station into a children's discovery musuem, comparable to the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. The Sacramento museum's web site stated in 2016: "We will revitalize the historic PG&E Powerhouse building - listed on the National Register of Historic Places - and incorporate Robert T. Matsui Waterfront Park into a dynamic new campus right on the Sacramento River. The new Powerhouse is just a fifteen minute walk up the bike trail from the California State Railroad Museum. The New Powerhouse is the first step in the revitalization of the waterfront, and will bring over 20,000 visitors a month into downtown Sacramento to enjoy - and learn in - our twenty first century science center. The New Powerhouse will have over 25,000 square feet of exhibit space including a full-dome digital planetarium theater, an all new Challenger Learning Center, and all-new interactive exhibits in earth sciences, conservation, physical sciences, astronomy, and space sciences." (See Powerhouse Science Center, "About Us," accessed 08/26/2016.) The architectural firm of Dreyfuss + Blackford had the commission to renovate the building, which had an estimated opening of 2018.

PCAD id: 20482