Reeve Electric Association Plant

Also known as: Reeve Power Plant Museum, Federated Cooperative Power Association
RR 1, SW of Hampton, Hampton, Iowa

The first rural electrification co-op power plant west of the Mississippi River


Overview Looking Northeast

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in May 2021




Art modern style, poured concrete, power plant. It was the first co-op rural power plant west of the Mississippi. It went online in 1938 and was replaced by a larger power plant with more capacity. It went into standby mode in 1948 and was closed in 1950.

"On the north side of a graveled road in Franklin County, Iowa stands a gray concrete building enclosed by a fence and along a railroad track. The rolling fields, open prairie and the road and railroad are the same as 54 years ago. The first farmer-generated electricity to go out on farmer-owned lines in the nation happened here.

"Architecturally, the building is a relatively modest example of an art moderne influenced building with its horizontal bands of windows with metal frames, smooth wall finish, decorative stylized panels around the roofline and flat roof. The power plant has a basement and a large open room with windows on the east, south and west with small rooms on the north for office, tools and restrooms. There are two small doors and a large work area door. Except for the engine and generator, it is empty. The roof is a flat asphalt and gravel.

"The oil tank near the building is now gone and a cement cooling tank in the yard just west of the building is there, but the water-cooling louvers are gone. The cistern remains on the north side and also the 20 foot diameter diesel supply oil tank is in the yard. There are foul air in-takes along the south side.

"The building and site, known as the REA Plant, have not been used for electrical generating since 1950 and have not been vandalized nor restored. Several years ago it was purchased from the Rural Electric Cooperative by a local contractor and now he has given it to the Franklin County Historical Society. He kept his promise to not destroy the original power unit but did salvage the other three. The authenticity of the entire facility is evident and readily seen."

Quotation from the National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form prepared by Mrs. Robert Butson and Lowell J. Soike of the Franklin County Historic District, March 30, 1989. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 6, 1990
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Energy facility
Period of significance
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Contributing structures: 5
Contributing sites: 1
Non-contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • May 5, 2021: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • May 5, 2021: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status and added photos