The Pine-Strawberry Archeological and Historical Society (AHS) will preserve the 100-year history of the Arizona Public Service Childs-Irving hydroelectric system with an exhibit starting May 26, before the APS system is likely closed forever.
APS, the Yavapai-Apache tribe and a coalition of environmental organizations agreed to close the plant by Dec. 31, 2004 to restore full flow to Fossil Creek.
Full flow will allow three endangered species of fish to thrive in the creek, said Leslie Herrmann, an APS worker.
"Shutting down this particular plant will really be good for Arizona, and those species," Herrmann said.
"As the creek flows, minerals gather on the rocks. When enough are gathered, it forms a really nice habitat for the fish. It gives the shade and protection," she added.
Whether the plant closes forever depends on permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
"Nothing is certain right now because of all the things going on with energy right now in the country," she said.
One thing is for certain though, and that's the impact the APS plant has had on the history of central and northern Arizona, Herrmann said.
The energy provided by the plant was critical for the growth of the mining community, which brought workers and their families north.
"In its heyday, the plant really spurred employment in the area," Herrmann said.
Workers brought with them their wives and children, most of whom attended or taught at Pine-Strawberry schools, said Melvin Van Vorst, Pine-Strawberry AHS president.
The APS exhibit will include photographs and artifacts, maps, drawings and illustrations highlighting the plant's history and contributions to the community.
"The plant provides only a small portion of APS's total power, but I'll still be sad to see it go," Van Vorst said.
"Our top priority now is making sure the history is preserved."
The exhibit starts at 10 a.m. May 26. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.