Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 Seven sisters smokestacks, what were they? Previous Next
Top of pageBottom of page

Little_buddy
Member
Username: Little_buddy

Post Number: 49
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 2:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A good friend growing up, his dad worked at some place on the river that had seven smokestacks that they called sisters. went to a company picnic there once. He showed us how they take water or something from the river and how their filters cleaned out whatever was floating in. Interesting stuff
Top of pageBottom of page

Stinger4me
Member
Username: Stinger4me

Post Number: 135
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 3:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe they were on the Conner Creek generating station. The plant burned coal, made steam and used the steam to generate electricity. It was part of the Detroit Edison company.
Top of pageBottom of page

Eaglelv
Member
Username: Eaglelv

Post Number: 25
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 3:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I grew up with the view of the Seven Sisters and Two brothers out my bedroom window when I lived on the first block of Chalmers down by the canals. They were the exhaust chimney's of the Edison plant and were a fixture on the east side for decades. Not sure who gave them the moniker but it was gospel.
Top of pageBottom of page

Mikeg
Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 1421
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 3:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is a photo, courtesy of the WSU Virtual Motor City Collection.
Top of pageBottom of page

Dtroit
Member
Username: Dtroit

Post Number: 15
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 3:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They were also used by pilots ( during WWII I believe)to help them line themselves up with the runways at Detroit City Airport. They were a well known landmark for airplanes back in the day, much like "9 mile Marker" (the high rise on 9 mile near the lake) is to ships on Lake St. Clair.
Top of pageBottom of page

Norwalk
Member
Username: Norwalk

Post Number: 176
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 3:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They also left an impression on Frida Kahlo during her stay Here in Detroit.
Top of pageBottom of page

Andylinn
Member
Username: Andylinn

Post Number: 681
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 4:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i always heard it as two brother + seven sister... maybe that was just my family's thing, though... (there were 9 smokestacks originally... but some were torn down a few years ago...)
Top of pageBottom of page

Gistok
Member
Username: Gistok

Post Number: 6187
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 4:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Most of the east side folks I have ever known have referred it as "the 7 sisters and 2 brothers".

It was reminiscent of the great smoke stacks of a giant ocean liner...

Sadly the older 7 sisters were torn down about 2 decades ago.
Top of pageBottom of page

Raptor56
Member
Username: Raptor56

Post Number: 246
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 4:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought they demolished them in the mid 90's
Top of pageBottom of page

Douglasm
Member
Username: Douglasm

Post Number: 1002
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 5:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://aerialpics.com/C/edison .html

Raptor56 is correct. August 10, 1996 was the implosion date....
Top of pageBottom of page

Kathleen
Member
Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 2721
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 5:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here's a link to Lowell's webisode on this subject:
https://www.detroityes.com/industry /01sevensis.htm
Top of pageBottom of page

Iddude313
Member
Username: Iddude313

Post Number: 136
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 5:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What were they ?

They were beautiful!
Top of pageBottom of page

Charlottepaul
Member
Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2262
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 7:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

HA! Just like the soon to be built Cadillac Centre--nobody really likes the look of smoke stacks, but you learn to love them and they grow on you...
Top of pageBottom of page

Skylark
Member
Username: Skylark

Post Number: 19
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 8:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My dad used to call the stacks "The 7 sisters and the 2 sister-in-laws.
Top of pageBottom of page

Busterwmu
Member
Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 419
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 10:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the days pre-radar, mariners used to use the 7 sisters (and later their two brothers, or two ugly step-sisters) to get a bearing when crossing Lake Saint Clair and lining up with the entrance to the Detroit River. As built, the 7 (and later 9) stacks sat directly on a north-south line, which probably helped those City Airport pilots.

I believe the Conners Creek generating station, as it is today, is used as a peaker plant, coming on-line during the summer when demand is at its peak. It can also be used in the event that another generation plant needs to be shut down.
Top of pageBottom of page

Mikeg
Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 1423
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 6:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The link I provided above is to a 1938 photo of the original power plant.

Here is an aerial view from the DTE/WSU collection that was taken in 1981 showing the original power plant with the seven stacks plus the newer plant with the two stacks:

1981


Here is a recent aerial from Google Maps showing the remaining plant with the two stacks:

current
Top of pageBottom of page

Edziu
Member
Username: Edziu

Post Number: 22
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 11:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anyone hear of a pastry called 7 sisters? A seven layered, dry, chocolate covered cake.
Top of pageBottom of page

Scout
Member
Username: Scout

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 2:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Also called simply 7 layer cake...and it's delicious. My favorite comes from the Star Bakery, but it can be easily found in Hamtramck.
Top of pageBottom of page

Norwalk
Member
Username: Norwalk

Post Number: 178
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 4:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

And the 7 bothers can be found there as well
Top of pageBottom of page

Dhugger
Member
Username: Dhugger

Post Number: 386
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 5:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My dead father used to manage Conners Creek in the 60's. He took me on a tour in the massive loud plant. He ended up carrying me on his shoulders.

As an exercise, for Detroit Edison, my father was asked if he could develop a method for bringing the plant up from a cold start. They shut down the whole system. My father then had his team load up the boilers with tons of kerosene soaked railroad ties. (I think it was in the boilers...it may have been in another section) The whole process took 18 hours. Dad was really proud of this accomplishment. Detroit Edison recorded this process for emergency use.
Top of pageBottom of page

Silas
Member
Username: Silas

Post Number: 119
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 8:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My father told me that my grandfather worked on digging the foundation for the Seven Sisters power station.
He said that it took two guys on a shovel, one to hold it in place while the other pounded it in to the hard clay with a sludge hammer.
Top of pageBottom of page

Reddog289
Member
Username: Reddog289

Post Number: 230
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 1:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

even as a westsider i remember them, silas got me thinking of all the hard work that went into building all them old factories,power plants , etc.
Top of pageBottom of page

Mikem
Member
Username: Mikem

Post Number: 3562
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 5:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Conners Creek power plant was built during 1913-1915, but its construction and the installation of boilers and generators was delayed by the war, with the final generator installation in 1920. Upon its completion, it had doubled the generating capacity of the Detroit Edison company. There were 14 steam boilers, two per stack. The stacks were 352 feet tall, 17 feet in diameter. Not only were they the tallest structures in Detroit at the time, but the tallest smokestacks in the world.

The plant went through a major rebuild during the 1930s, and the expansion which added the two extra stacks took place from 1949-1951.

For Silas, this description of the foundation preparation is from Raymond Miller's "Kilowatts at Work", an early history of the Detroit Edison company:
quote:

The site chosen was the low swamp and flood land at the mouth of the small creek from which the name came. The harbor line was several hundred feet from the apparent shore of the river, with the ground between under three to five feet of water. The original twenty-eight acres of the site were purchased in November, 1913 at a mere $3086.97 per acre. A series of subsequent purchases, the most important of them in 1929, more than doubled the area to sixty-six acres and increased the average price for the total to $10,258.95 per acre.

The test bores revealed a subsoil structure similar to that which had made Delray such a problem. Rock was as much as 125 feet below the surface. The adopted solution to the problem proved reasonably satisfactory but quite expensive. Piles, forty to forty-five feet in length, were driven into the ground so close together that they were nearly touching; they were cut off at the water line to prevent rotting. On top of them a monolithic slab of reinforced concrete was poured: a one hundred foot mixing tower gave a continuous flow of concrete to create a solid stone mat of six and one-half to seven feet in thickness. An awe-struck Detroit noted that this demanded 9,000 piles, 23,000 yards of concrete, and 1,257 tons of reinforcing steel.




Top of pageBottom of page

Mikem
Member
Username: Mikem

Post Number: 3563
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 8:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Seven Sisters, flood-lighted for Light's Golden Jubilee, honoring Thomas Edison and 50 years of electric lighting, October 1929:


Seven Sisters 1929
Top of pageBottom of page

Detroitrise
Member
Username: Detroitrise

Post Number: 1422
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 8:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To make it short and sweet, the Seven Sisters were around Conner and Jefferson.
Top of pageBottom of page

Mikem
Member
Username: Mikem

Post Number: 3564
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 9:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here are two photos of the new boiler house (the one that still remains, with the two brothers on top) while under construction in 1950. The two generators to be installed will triple the capacity of the existing plant.






Conners Creek Power Plant 1950

Add Your Message Here
Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.