The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


November 17, 2012

First electric lights for Oneonta on Thanksgiving 1887


Previous city historians have written in their publications that the power plant was in the Oneonta gas house, then found on today’s James Georgeson Avenue, where the parking lot is between the mill race and Damaschke Field. 

However, both the Oneonta Herald and Daily Local wrote of how the new company had contracted with Sawen & Conant, of the new chair factory. This was in Oneonta’s East End, near the lower end of Rose Avenue. 

“A new 50-horse power engine, built expressly for electric light purposes, will there fore be added to the factory in addition to the 250 horse power engine which is to run the factory.” 

It would be another 10 years until Electric Lake was built to meet the increasing demand in the village for electricity, only a few hundred feet away from the chair factory.

Oneonta Electric Light and Power Co. contracted with the American System to furnish arc lights, and with Westinghouse for incandescent light. That first system was capable of lighting 650 lights in the village.

Residents began watching the progress of the company on Tuesday, Oct. 25, as the work of setting the electric light poles began. A contract with the village stated it would take about four weeks and that the light would be furnished free for the first three months. Stringing of the wires was reported to be under way by Nov. 3. 

“We have been told by parties that ought to know,” said the Daily Local, “that it will require three tons of copper wire to properly wire the business houses already subscribed to the incandescent system.”

The Daily Local also said the wires would run a course from the chair factory, “down to Hunt, along Hunt to Fair and from thence to Grand, Main, Maple, Centre to Church, Church to Chestnut, up Chestnut to Watkins avenue, Academy and Fairview to Main.” 

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