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Electricity first comes to Bulloch County in 1901
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the formation of Bulloch County.


The Bulloch Herald's issue of Jan. 18, 1901 contained an article on one of the first small devices which displayed the usefulness of electric power for household items.

It "is a small clock mounted on a wooden box containing a storage battery. Set in the top of the box in front of the clock is a tiny electric lamp with a switch handy."

"Placed at night on a stand by the bedside it can be reached by stretching out a hand, or left on the mantel, where a turn of the switch throws a bright light on the face of the clock."

In addition, the "storage battery (will) last for months." The Statesboro News issue of March 28, 1902 declared “Statesboro will soon have both...Electric Lights and Water Works.”

It revealed that “The Mayor and Council (have) agreed (that) the town of Statesboro ought to have Water Works and Electric Lights." Therefore, “a corporation will be formed."

They suggested a name for it, "something like the Statesboro Water and Electric Co., and (promised that) in the course of a year the town will have the benefit of both light and water.”

“Mr. W.D. Davis already has a good artesian well and has pipes in town. Larger pipes will be laid (so that) sufficient (water) pressure will (be available in case of fires.”

Furthermore, “The citizens will have the advantage of good water at a low rate: and (the) electric lights will be a big improvement over kerosene lamps. Statesboro will then begin to look like a city sure enough.”

This “will be one more forward step in making Statesboro the best town in all this section. Every citizen of the town will have the chance to take stock in the enterprise and it will be a home institution.”

One month later, an article entitled "Electric Lights" in the Statesboro News' issue of April 25, 1902 revealed that "The money has been subscribed for the erection of an electric, water, and power plant."

"The citizens (promptly" made up the necessary amount to put (into) operation the entire plant (at a) cost in the neighborhood of $15,000. The council (will) grant a franchise to the new company (for) twenty years."

Furthermore, the town will "operate the electric light system and the water system, manufacture ice, and furnish motive power all by the same company."

On March 27, 1903, the Statesboro News announced “Bonds Win. The People by a Large Majority vote for Light and Water” in the "election held (on) Wednesday.”

Thus, "the proper authorities should (build) a first-class electric plant, and furnish the town with plenty of water, (and then) Statesboro will be lit up like a city set upon the hill.”

As a result, “A thousand electric lights will cast their radiance over the town, and dispel the darkness and gloom which now settles over us and her people will be treated to good water from some deep well.”

The paper joked, “Our thirsty inhabitants will be able to quench their thirst without having to swallow wiggle-tails in surface wells, (adding) Statesboro proposes to (march) at the head of the column” of progressive cities.

Then, the June 28, 1904 issue of the Statesboro News reported that "the city council decided to build the electric light plant and water works on the lot near the Central Depot recently purchased from W.D. Davis."

Finally, the Oct. 28, 1904 issue of the Statesboro News declared “The Light is On,” (as) “Statesboro was bright from one end to the other, (and) in a few days, the old Kerosene lamps will pass away.”

The Statesboro News issue of Feb. 3, 1905 citizens felt the “Lights Should Burn All Night,"(and revealed that) a large number of stores, banks, and residences have been wired."

The newspaper suggested "it would be good policy to run the plant all night instead of only to 12 o’clock, (as that was) “the very hours the town is most exposed to burglars and evil doers."

And, while the overall "cost may be a little higher, but (as to) the service, (once) thoroughly perfected, (most of Statesboro's residents) will be well-pleased.”


Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail him at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

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