REA Power Plant Museum – “A Real Gem”

May 26, 1988, the Seabee Corporation (owners Don and Cathy Yadon) donated the R.E.C. Generating Plant south of Hampton to the Franklin County Historical Society. A dedicated group of volunteers then began work on the historic site. This is a brief summary of their accomplishments.

1988 Don Yadon, Hampton, no longer had a need for the facility and gave the Reeve REA Plant to the Franklin County Historical Society

1989 Franklin Historical Society members and other volunteers began renovation of the Reeve REA Plant. Work included cleaning the structure inside and out, installing new windows and a new roof, and painting the interior. Funds for the restoration included an Iowa Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grant, donations from the six counties in the original Federated REA, and Corn Belt Power as well as donations from other interested groups and individuals. Individuals from the community donated over 1800 hours of work.

1989 The REA Power Plant Museum was established with displays depicting farming and rural life both before and after the widespread introduction of electricity

1989 Reeve REA Plant was listed in the National Register of Historic Places

2002 REA Power Plant & Museum selected as a Point of Interest in the Silos and Smoke Stacks National Heritage Area

The REA Power Plant Museum provides an unparalleled opportunity for people seeking to know more about the sweeping changes accompanying the electrification of rural America during the 1930s, and the technology that brought and supported those changes. The Museum also documents what can be accomplished when people – in this case, farmers, engineers, educators, lawyers, politicians,…to identify but a few – focus their shared energy, vision and leadership to bring about productive change and improved general well-being of individuals and society. Located near the northern perimeter of one of Iowa’s largest electric utility wind farms, visitors to the Museum have – in the plant and wind towers – visual “bookends” to the technological changes spanning the over 75-year lifetime of the REA Power Plant.

FYI: The total output of the REA power plant with four diesels and generators installed was 3.685 megawatts. The total output of two Vestas V82 Turbines like those installed at the nearly Whispering Willow Wind Farm is 3.30 megawatts.