In 1899 a man named Charles H. Baker built the first underground hydroelectric power plant just at the bottom of Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State.
Unemployed and ravaged by the Panic of 1893, Baker, an engineer for the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railways, wanted to exploit the drop in elevation of the falls for the purpose of producing energy. During these very tough economic times he managed to build the first completely underground hydroelectric power plant in the world.
Harnessing the velocity of the elevation drop and water current to produce electricity!
Such a novel concept! Such a triumph against all odds!
I cannot help but notice the parallels between Baker’s thinking of the past, and the Digital Investor ethos of today because now It’s a time for a change to creative thinking.
Thinking creatively and thinking outside of the box has a history of repeated success, that is a fact.
PANIC OF 1893
During the 1870’s – 1880’s the United States had undergone a vast economic growth and expansion due to higher than normal commodity prices.
However, as with every economic boom there is always an economic bust. Thus, economic problems began to present themselves.
- The Argentina wheat crop failure and coup in Buenos Aires abruptly ended any further investment in this market due to a crash in wheat prices.
- Speculations in real estate collapsed in South Africa and Australia.
- Uncertain about the future, European investors began a run on gold that was stored with the U.S. Treasury.
The result of the panic was shockingly unprecedented and would yield serious economic consequences.
- Prices in the stock market declined.
- 500 banks were permanently closed.
- 15,000 businesses were shut down, never to open their doors again.
- The unemployment rate hit as high as 43% in Michigan, 35% in New York, and 25% in Pennsylvania.
The Panic of 1893 had caused a full-blown economic crisis within the United States of America and citizens had grown increasingly doubtful of any type of recovery.
CHANGE TO CREATIVE THINKING
During his employment years as an engineer, Charles H. Baker would routinely pass by Snoqualmie Falls. He imagined If there was a way to utilize the raw energy of the drop in elevation that the falls produced and he set out on a mission to expose it.
When Baker lost his employment because of the Panic of 1893, he pitched the idea to his father, William T. Baker, to acquire the falls and surrounding lands.
Although the project may have seemed to be cumbersome, it proved to be rather simple to a highly skilled engineer such as Charles H. Baker.
First, a cofferdam intake was built to seal off the left bank of the falls to be used to block the water intake. Heavy-duty steam-powered drills were used to bore a vertical shaft from the intake to the cavern. A horizontal tunnel was also constructed which met the vertical shaft at the cavern.
The water from this shafting system was fed into four large Pelton turbines with 1.5 MW Westinghouse generators. One single generator produced enough energy to power several city blocks.
The generators were online and began to transmit power to both Tacoma and Seattle by July 31, 1899.
In 1903 the Seattle Electric acquired Snoqualmie Falls Power Company. That same year Charles H. Baker’s lost his stake in the deal when his father William died, and he experienced financial difficulties.
It was the end of the road for Charles H. Baker, but not the end of the road for his idea.
By 1957 a second plant had been fully operational and upgraded to include a penstock system which flowed to three additional Francis-turbine generators.
In 2013 the plant and surrounding land were both upgraded and renovated to produce 54 megawatts of energy and promote recreational tourism with the Snoqualmie-Baker area. The hydroelectric power plant now has the generating capacity to power approximately 35,000+ homes.
After several business consolidations, Seattle Electric Company became Puget Sound Energy which now has full control of plant and generates approximately 32% of their energy through various hydroelectric sources.
Hard to believe that the succession of such a project began with one man’s willingness to simply change his thinking.
In March, President Trump was touting the “best economy ever” and “record-low unemployment” when it was hovering around 3.5%. By April, the US has lost over 20.5 million jobs. The preceding 10 years jobs market had expanded by roughly 20.2 million jobs.
More than a decade of job gains erased in the month of April.
Last Thursday the Department of Labor announced the latest U.S. initial jobless claims at a whopping 860,000 per week. Although new jobless claims are well below the March anomaly of 7,000,000 per week, they remain to be historically higher than the pre-pandemic levels of 200,000 per week.
On Friday the official unemployment rate stood at a whopping 8.4%. The US has not seen unemployment rates this high since The Great Depression in 1939.
Now, I understand, nobody could have forecasted a global pandemic of this proportion. And, it’s truly sad seeing the number of infected and deaths mounting around the world. In addition, many will be returning to work once the quarantine is lifted and stay-at-home orders are relinquished.
But, many will not.
There are many businesses that are closing their doors permanently and I don’t think life will be returning to normal in the foreseeable future. We are living during unprecedented times, in which, I genuinely believe that any scenario is possible.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
Just the same as Charles H. Baker changed in the past, now it’s a time for a change for many.
There are innovative ways for you to prepare yourself, regardless of any economic condition. And they make sense regardless of any type of outcome.
For example, building an online business is a safe bet regardless of any economic condition. And, it can be done with the use a quality laptop such as Lenovo ThinkPad P73, Apple MacBook Air, or Lenovo Chromebook Flex 11.
Through mastering the areas of education, finance, simulation, income, and travel you can turn innovative ideas into real-life examples, just like Charles H. Baker. The creation of a passive income lifestyle with an online business, destination location real estate, and the stock market combined with living a lifestyle of travel freedom is at your fingertips.
Change to creative thinking.
That is the Digital Investor ethos, and we look forward to connecting with you on this journey.
To your passive income lifestyle.
Justin Ash, Founder/ Member