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Let There Be Light: The Story of Rural Electrification in Kentucky

Overview

Until the mid-1930s, much of rural Kentucky-like much of rural America-lay in darkness as soon as the sun set. Farmers and their families labored much as their forebears had for centuries. While most city and town dwellers enjoyed the blessings of electric lights and the labor-saving devices and comforts that electricity brought, power providers saw rural areas as unprofitable for electrification.

The seed of change was planted in 1935, when ...

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More About This Book

Overview

Until the mid-1930s, much of rural Kentucky-like much of rural America-lay in darkness as soon as the sun set. Farmers and their families labored much as their forebears had for centuries. While most city and town dwellers enjoyed the blessings of electric lights and the labor-saving devices and comforts that electricity brought, power providers saw rural areas as unprofitable for electrification.

The seed of change was planted in 1935, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the executive order establishing REA—the Rural Electrification Administration, which authorized the creation of regional electric cooperatives in which farmers and their families could become member-consumers of power at reasonable cost. From this humble beginning have grown the twenty-six cooperatives that now provide electricity throughout rural Kentucky.

Most of today's rural Kentuckians take electric power for granted. But in the 1930s and '40s, it took individuals with vision and energy to get the cooperative idea off the ground. One such individual was J.K. Smith of Meade County, who early saw the enormous possibilities of the cooperative model and worked to bring it to fruition. Smith was followed by a host of enterprising leaders all across Kentucky who shared his vision of a better life for Kentucky's farm families.

Together these men and women worked to create the needed corporations and the physical infrastructure and to persuade an occasionally reluctant rural population to accept a new way of life. Farmers could now work in lighted barns, use electric milking machines, and get weather and market reports from a radio. Housewives could enjoy electric stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, and electric irons. The days of dawn-to-dusk drudgery and dark nights were a thing of the past.

Let There Be Light is the story of the humble beginnings, the early struggles, and the ultimate triumph of the electric cooperative idea in Kentucky. Much of the story is told by the individuals who lived it-men and women who recall the years of work to create the electric companies, and today's cooperative leaders who carry on a tradition that has changed the landscape of the Commonwealth ending the drudgery of former days.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780975503737
  • Publisher: Plum Lick Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 1,448,104
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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