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The First Time Electricity Came to Walhalla

From the "Walhalla Chronicle", Friday, February 15th, 1884



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Walhalla led the world in electrifying the Long Tunnel Mine in 1884

Walhalla was the last mainland community to be connected to the electricity grid in December, 1998, but it had led the country more than a hundred years earlier, as this brief article from 1884 illustrates:

"On Tuesday evening last the battery, chamber, etc. of the Long Tunnel Co. was lit for the first time with the electric light, and attracted much attention. The new innovation is a decided improvement on the old style, and will prove a very agreeable change to the employees of the company. So far, everything has worked most satisfactorily in connection with the installation, and the manner and dispatch with which the plant has been erected reflects great credit on the Electric Co. and their representative, Mr John Booth."  


Honorary League Life Member Ollie Dobratz points out that while Walhalla thus briefly led the world in providing (very limited) public electric street lighting, that this was not necessarily for any especially benign or high-minded civic reasons.

Wood piles at the junction (35K bytes)

Rather, with the deforestation of surrounding hillsides, locals found it increasingly difficult to keep the home fires burning, and temptingly easy by comparison to help themselves, after dark, to the stores of mine timber that were kept in huge stacks where Stringer's Park now stands in central Walhalla (see above). Providing electric lighting at the junction was one way for mine management to combat this midnight pilfering.


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