The City sold its remaining steam equipment and built a modern all-diesel engine power plant on North Union in 1927. This was paid for with the voters’ approval to issue $300,000 in bonds. The building is 130" 8' long, 85" wide, 59" high, and contains a full 12" basement. This fireproof building was made of concrete, pressed brick, and steel. Foundations for the engines were isolated from the building to eliminate the transmission of vibration when the engines operated. To muffle the noise caused by air intakes, large air suction chambers were constructed within the engine foundations, and the air filters were located outside of the building. Also located outside of the building were the fuel storage tanks that supplied the engines with diesel fuel. Gas-fired boilers were used for heating the fuel oil, and gas-fired radiators were used to heat the building. The switchboard was centrally located on the south side of the engine room, near the generators.
This plant contained the largest group of Nordberg diesel engines in the world. Nordberg ended diesel engine production in the mid-1960s. The building housed ten generating engines, of which the second and third engines from the Cleveland Avenue Plant, as well as the fifth engine, no longer operate.
In September of 1995, the 11th engine was donated to "Friend Ships
" by the Ponca City Board of Commissioners
and is being used to help power one of their ships. "Friend Ships" is a nonprofit corporation that operates a fleet of vessels staffed entirely with full-time, 100% unpaid volunteers. Surplus commodities, volunteers, and ships are used as tools to make the program able to collect, transport, and disperse humanitarian aid on a massive scale and to provide life support services to nations in a cost-effective manner.