Acme Power Plant, 1947 from Ed Zowada Collection, Sheridan County Historical Society and Museum
Constructed in 1910, the Acme Power Plant sits on the bank of the Tongue River outside of Sheridan, Wyoming. The coal-fired power plant operated until 1976 and provided power to the local mines, coal camps, and the City of Sheridan. Later, the site was allegedly used for other, unregistered activities including car crushing and battery recycling. Areas around the site are frequently used for hunting, fishing, floating, and other activities. Many local residents still feel a strong attachment to the area because of a direct connection with people that used to live and/or work in the Acme community.
University of Wyoming Haub School Presentation at public meeting 1/24/2019
In the summer of 2018, students from the University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources compiled historical information on the Acme site and its relationship with community residents. While there was plenty of basic information on the site's history, it did not capture the emotional and social dynamics between the site and the people who lived and worked in the area. These narratives will help project partners gauge how residents feel about the building and site during future reuse discussions. As part of this effort, the students conducted personal interviews with several people with a past connection to the area. The final report, "The Power of Acme's Past: Historical Background and Personal Narratives", was completed in 2020. Other historic activities and landscape perspectives of the area will continue to be researched and documented as appropriate. A special thanks to all of the individuals who shared their stories.
Courtesy of Tom Ringley
1905: Federal Light and Traction Company (later known as the Sheridan County Electric Company) introduced round-the-clock electricity to Sheridan
1910: Power lines extended to Acme. Direct Current generator moved from Sheridan to Acme for newly established Acme Power Plant which was part of the Sheridan County Electric Company.
1947: Sheridan County Electric Company purchased by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co (MDU). Same year installed a 3,000 kilowatt steam turbine at Acme.
1948: Welch Coal Company established to provide coal for the Acme Power Plant.
1950: A 5,000 kilowatt steam turbine was added at Acme Power Plant.
1976: Acme plant closed rather than upgrading to meet EPA compliance. MDU advertised for bids to sell the plant on August 31, 1976. It was purchased by a private family and used as a warehouse.
1983: The Sheridan Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) passed a resolution authorizing the issuance of not more than $9 million in industrial revenue bonds to Perkins Power (Cody, Wyoming) for the purpose of purchasing, modernizing and operating the Acme Power Plant and a greenhouse.
1989: Report that Petro Oil and Gas of Beverly Hills, CA, agreed to a joint venture with Perkins Power to build a $50 million polyurethane manufacturing plant at Acme.
1991: Perkins Power files for bankruptcy. Acme Power Plant purchased from bankruptcy court by Hitexonics for $80,000. Joint venture planned fails and Black Diamond Resources became the default owner of the Acme Power Plant.
1993: Black Diamond Resources announces a plan to invest $12 million to make the Acme Power Plant a coal gasification plant by 1996. Months later the power plant and land was transferred to Golden Eagle Resources and then to Fort Acme. Zoning was changed from agricultural to industrial by Sheridan BOCC.
2000: Fort Acme assigned salvage rights to private individual.
2000: Ownership of the Acme Power Plant transferred to Diversified Resources.
2001: Private individual reassigned all salvage rights to Service Marketing, Inc. of Rockville, Minnesota.
2005: Ownership update.
2008: Acme Power Plant site approved by the Sheridan BOCC for use as a vehicle storage and disposal facility.
2017: Acme Power Plant purchased by Sheridan County Conservation District in cooperation with the Sheridan Community Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy.