Radial Brick Smokestack – Deadwood, South Dakota

by | Sep 6, 2018 | Check This Out, Things to Do | 0 comments

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This brick structure before you served as the foundation base and clean-out chamber that supported the 135-foot smokestack. Once part of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad Powerhouse complex, this brick feature was created in 1901 and helped supply electrical power to the interurban trolleys that traversed between the cities of Deadwood and Lead.

Based on historic photographs, the foundation for the smokestack was nearly as tall as the roof of the one story powerhouse. This feature was constructed of solid, high density, load-bearing brick. The entire brick structure became a solid mass with no voids upon its completion.

The circular space above the smokestack foundation was revealed during the cleanup and stabilization of the brick feature. This area was later identified as the cleanout chamber for the smokestack. Steel rungs were embedded into the masonry to provide workers access to clean and inspect the interior of the smokestack.

Brick used to construct the smokestack foundation were designed using the dry-press process. The brick clay was first mixed with a minimal amount of water and mechanically pressed under high pressure. Next, the mixed clay was mechanically extruded and cut with a wire to the correct length. Bricks of this type were most likely manufactured somewhere in the Midwest and brought by train to Deadwood.

The manhole located next to this feature was unearthed during the construction of the park. Directly above the manhole, is a ductile iron pipe that once served as the sewage pipe for the homes above on McGovern Hill. This manhole and iron pipe was a later addition to this area and was installed sometime after the demolition of the Powerhouse and its smokestack.

Did you know?

The height of the Burlington Powerhouse smokestack would have been determined by the draft required and to get smoke and gases above the stagnant valley air.

Smokestacks are a type of industrial chimneys that serve two purposes: 

  • Ventilation of smoke and gas
  • Increase airflow into a furnace, thus improving fuel combustion.

Location

44° 22.284′ N, 103° 43.743′ W. Marker is in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Lawrence County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Charles Street (CanAm Highway) (U.S. 85) and Cedar Lane, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located in Deadwood’s Powerhouse Park, along the Whitewood Creek boardwalk, about 130 yards north of the George S. Mickelson Trailhead and west of the trailhead parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 32 Charles Street, Deadwood SD 57732, United States of America.

Erected by

The Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission.

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