I'm putting Aaron Wunsch's and Joseph E.B. Elliott's forthcoming book Palazzos of Power: Central Stations of the Philadelphia Electric Company, 1900-1930 on my reading list for the fall. Cribbing now from Princeton Architectural Press' website:
"If it isn't Electric, it isn't Modern." Such was the slogan of the Philadelphia Electric Company, developer of an unprecedented network of massive metropolitan power stations servicing greater Philadelphia at the turn of the twentieth century. These once-brilliant sentinels of civic utility and activity were designed to convey 'solidity and immensity' in an age of deep public skepticism. They now stand vacant and decaying, a blight in the eyes of city planners and a beacon to urban explorers. The first book on the buildings and machines that made possible the electrification of the United States, Palazzos of Power offers a visual and analytical exploration of architecture, technology, place, loss, and reuse. With a foreword by David Nye, this collection of Joseph Elliott's beautiful large-format photographs reveal the urban landscape, monumental spaces, giant machinery, and intricate controls that made up the central station. Aaron Wunsch's essay provides historical context on the social and political climate.