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Our first 100 years, 1857-1957

The early days--1857-1900,   pp. 2-19 PDF (6.7 MB)

Page 9

  The 70's was the decade of the coming of
the utilities, for construction of the first plant
for manufacture of artificial gas was begun
in June of 1877 under the direction of S. D.
Carpenter. By late that year came the glow
of the first gas street lighting system, and the
twinkle of gas lights illuminating gay
dancers at old Turner hall.
  But the gaslight era was only the be-
ginning of the bright lights. It was on a
balmy Saturday night, Sept. 30, 1882, that
the world's first water-driven electric central
station began operation, lighting two paper
mills and a residence.
  Pioneers in the hydro-electric enterprise
were a handful of businessmen whose vision
probably was unparalleled in their time-
H. E. Rogers, A. L. Smith, H. D. Smith and
Charles Beveridge. They put their money and
their faith into the project, and they won
their gamble: on that night the Rogers mill,
the Vulcan Paper company and the Rogers
home glowed with a new light, each directly
connected to the generator.
  Scarcely had Appletonians become used to
their distinction of being electrically lighted,
crude though the original system was, than
the swiftly turning wheel of progress caught
up with them again. In 1886, after ground
work had been laid by George Kreiss, the
Appleton Electric Street Railway company
began operation, the little trolleys churning
across town from State and Prospect streets
east to the cemetery at the east end of Pacific
street. Interurban service connected Apple-
ton and Neenah-Menasha by 1898, and the
Kaukauna line followed in 1900. For thirty
more years, Appletonians and their visitors
"rode the cars," which finally were with-
drawn from service when motorcars and
busses came into their own.
  Life may have been more leisurely in those
days: ladies' taffeta skirts swept dusty side-
walks as they paid their calls upon one an-
other; boat excursions on the big lake and the
river; picnics at Telulah springs; entertain-
ments in Bertschy's hall-all these made the
social columns of the Crescent and accounts
Corner of Oneida and( College-Site of Zuelke Bldg.

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