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Excelsior Cooperative run first power grid in Bulloch
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.

Part Two

Electrical contractor Julian Tillman's men ran the first 32 miles of wire for the new Excelsior Electric Membership Cooperative's rudimentary power grid in five days. The first regions to get these new power lines were to be the communities of Adabelle and Register.

According to the March 16, 1939 edition of the Bulloch Herald, Tillman's men had now erected 248 miles of line approved for the first phase of the project.

With this success, it was decided to add another 187 miles of additional power lines in Bulloch, Candler and Evans counties.

In the Feb. 1, 1940 edition of the Bulloch Herald, it was announced that the EEMC had arranged for three different demonstrations of the benefits of this new electric power for use in both the home and around the farm.

The first demonstration was the "Farm Electric Equipment Show." The event was erected in a huge field. Numerous tents were set up, in which truckloads of all kinds of the newest electric-powered farm equipment.

In order to power these implements, electric motors were set up. They ranged from the smallest, a one-quarter horsepower motor, all the way up to the largest, a seven and one-half horsepower motor. With the devices running, the farmers could see how these devices could save them both time and money.

The second series of demonstrations consisted of REA Home Economist Thelma Wilson meeting with at several locations with area housewives. At these meetings, she showed off electric household appliances, from the electric clothes washing machine to the latest in electron irons.

The third series of demonstrations took place out in the country, where the "Farm and Home Travelling Demonstration Coach" crisscrossed the county's back roads.

Operated by Joe McGee, a former Georgia Farm agent and honor graduate of the Georgia State College of Agriculture, this vehicle could seat as many as 20 people. His job: show how electricity could simplify life on the farm.

Inside, he had an area with all of the electric kitchen appliances set up, which he be demonstrated to the farm wives. He also had numerous farm implements on hand, which he then could demonstrate to the farmers outside.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming response soon convinced the Excelsior board to request permission to erect an additional 150 more miles of line. This extension, known as the "C" Project, cost only $600 per mile of line strung, far below the original lines' cost.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at

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