The Electric House
According to Howard Gibbs of PEPCO, the “Oakland Terrace substation” was located at 10614 Brunswick Avenue. He could not determine when this substation was originally put into service, but it was decommissioned in 1971. He found photos of the substation that may have been taken in the 1950s.
Electric power is distributed at a high voltage to substations, where it is converted to neighborhood power lines. This substation was decommissioned when PEPCO switched from 13 kV to 69 kV supply in order to service a larger number of customers. The new substation is located in Kensington.
Howard recalls articles in the PEPCO company newsletter in the late 1970s about people purchasing decommissioned substations and converting them into homes. The walls are thick and the floors are concrete, making them more difficult to modify - but quieter - than a traditional house.
Shelly Goodman is the current owner of the house on Brunswick. She says the house was originally bought by a local realtor named Ed Schultz. According to Shelly, Mr. Schultz purchased several PEPCO substations and converted them into residences for rental. He eventually sold the home to Shelly, who was the first owner to actually live in the house.
Over the thirty-two years she has lived in it, she has made many improvements to the former PEPCO substation. Some of these include fixing interior walls, using a jackhammer to cut through a wall to excavate windows, and renovating the kitchen.
Some of the unique features of the house include walls that are 2½ feet thick, venetian blinds that are painted on interior walls, and an oversized chimney that was built to harness a possible explosion from the substation. Shelly also says that her upper floor bedroom is built with steel and brick. It is so solid that she has hung a swing inside.
Courtesy of Aaron and Megan Garnett