Therefore, before the construction of the towers on Octyabrskaya square, it was CHPP-1 that became the “face of Norilsk” and the main entrance to the village. A spacious alley led to the building, where the energy workers themselves planted oats and tundra willows and even heated the soil with a water economizer so that the greenery would take root better. In front of the main entrance there was a board of honor, portraits of leaders hung, and in summer there was even a gurgling fountain – the first in the village. A small, probably the first in Norilsk, monument to Lenin was also erected there. The central alley of this “town of power engineers” even had unofficial names: first Lenin square, later – the Alley of Advanced Workers.
This is how Norilsk journalist Anatoly Shevelev wrote about CHPP-1 in 1943.
“Even on the outskirts of Norilsk, from the window of the train going around mount Schmidt, you can see a magnificent structure in the northeast of the tundra. Seeing the power plant, the passenger judges the whole of Norilsk in advance. It’s like the “front entrance” to the polar village…
In the spring of 1943, a real duel with dirt began at the thermal power plant; people came to the plant office and demanded work:
– I’m going to make a fountain! – suggested water supply master Vyskrebentsev.
Shield duty officers Shiryaeva and Lozhievskaya, Komsomol laboratory assistants Lyubov Hudonogova and Valentina Gukova expressed a desire to plant flower beds. The state farm obtained 3 000 flower roots. After work on a sunny polar night, they came to the factory yard and planted flower seedlings in the flower beds until the morning. Among the workers at the thermal power plant were gardeners, agronomists, and sculptors.
…The factory yard was covered with pebbles, masons built a fountain reservoir from broken bricks, concrete workers lined it, plumbers supplied water, gardeners laid out green areas and planted flowers in flower beds. From the factory yard, the struggle for cleanliness and culture moved to the workshops – to the boiler room, to the machine room – to the turbines, to the main control panel, in the station laboratory. People came to work with pots of flowers and bouquets of tundra greenery. The guard on duty, Yulia Shiryaeva, collected dirty rags from the workshops, washed them herself, and, when she came to work, wiped off the dust. Komsomol member Marusya Ubiennyh cleaned the filter taps to a shine every day.
The workers pulled hoses to a huge height under the very vaults of the station and “swept” the boilers with compressed air. In the boiler room, they blew off dust from the metal frames and whitewashed all the pipes. In the turbine hall at a height of 25 meters, people climbed the trusses for two nights in a row, filling the cracks between the reinforced concrete slabs, from which drops of the insulating oil-bitumen layer fell onto the turbine. The intense heat took the people’s breath away. But they moved from one farm to another, eliminating droplets dangerous to turbines.
In the turbine room, turbine operators’ assistants Tonya Dumskaya and Nadya Tintulyak came to work an hour before their shift and washed the tiled floors. Paths and rugs appeared at the entrances. Seeing how dozens of people were wielding rags, brushes and brooms, the cleaners were amazed:
– What happened to our guys? Just yesterday they were walking on the parquet floor in dirty boots, but today they enter the workshop as if it is their own apartment!
…Once a tour from the design department came to the thermal power plant. Even those who designed this station did not expect to see such exemplary order and cleanliness. Seeing the sparkling floors, the designers took off their galoshes and carried them in their hands while they were inspecting the station…”
In the History Spot photo project’s previous publication, we told how the first Norilsk residents had to deal with a black blizzard.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive