SWRE History Snapshot
The Con-8 School Student Reporter
The following material was provided byJack Culvahouse, son of former SWRE trustee Dick Culvahouse. It is a series of excerpts from the weekly newspaper of Consolidated-Eight (Con-8) School, a rural school formerly located 13 miles east of Blair, Oklahoma in Kiowa County. This material is used by permission of and with much thanks to Mr. Culvahouse.
THE CON-8 SCHOOL
Southwest REA Meeting Held
February 2, 1938
At the Cold Springs meeting of the REA attended by Con-8 officials Tuesday, the possibility of getting a highline through here was brightened considerably.
Work on a project in Caddo county has already been started to extend a line through Cooperton, Sedan and Cold Springs. Since project officials are quite sure the line will reach Cold Springs, it will not be hard to get enough subscribers to bring the line on to Con-8, according to Superintendent C.L. DeWees, who with the school board members, attended the meeting.
Editor's Note: SWRE was often called "the REA"in those days. From this point forward, we will replace "REA" with "SWRE" in the articles quoted on this web site.
SWRE Will Aid Farmers
February 10, 1938 - An Editorial by Joy Shockley
The idea of having electricity in his home, which used to be just a "farmer's dream," is about to become a reality. Since the federal government is attempting to equip all rural homes with electricity all that is needed from the farmer is a little cooperation.
Although the wiring of a home for electricity would not cost enough to make you forego any pleasure, the profit in the long run would be great. Eyestrain saved for the farmer and his family by good lights is only one of the many ways in which he can save money.
So if the farmer has been looking upon the SWRE project as one of those "new fangled" ideas that won't amount to anything, he should learn more about it before giving his verdict.
Electricity Plan Approved
March 10, 1938
Friday night of last week many people of this community met at Con-8 for the purpose of signing applications for SWRE. The exact number of applications obtained to date is not known as many are still signing up.
For those who desire to sign up there will be plenty of blanks which can be secured. As soon as possible all applications will be pooled together at the school house and then taken to Tipton.
If it is found impossible to extend the line past the home of any of the subscribers, the $5 included with the application will be returned.
Editor's Note: SWRE's membership fee is STILL $5 today.
School Assured of Power
September 30, 1938
Officials have given assurance that rural electrification will be extended to Con-8, it was announced this week.
Electrification will be brought to the school house from Warren, and extended to those subscribers off the main line. Approval of the plans made is expected from Washington within 40 to 60 days.
At the present time, 100 men are working out of Tipton setting poles to support the electric wires. Those poles have been put up to a point two miles north of Friendship.
Line By February
October 13, 1938
If the SWRE schedule works out as officials and signers hope, a large part of the farmers in this community will need no longer to envy their city cousins. In fact, if the truth were known, and it is now being made known, the city cousins will be envying their rural relations for the farmers will get their electricity at a much lower rate than will the people in town.
Although the SWRE plans for this community have already been sent to the bureau in Washington for approval, Mr. DeWees and Mr. Jennings of Tipton added 14 more signers to the list of 30 already signed for electrification. This new number makes a total of 44 Con-8's residents who are saying, "let here be light."
Editor's Note:SWRE's rates are STILL comparable with all area utilities.
SPECIAL BULLETIN! SPECIAL BULLETIN!
October 28, 1938
WORD HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. THAT THE SWRE PROJECT FOR CONSOLIDATED EIGHT HAS BEEN GIVEN GOVERNMENT APPROVAL!
This means that now all that is needed is the letting of contracts and the beginning of construction of lines to his community.
Electric Route Set
November 23, 1938
Officials in Tipton report as soon as the line is designed, specifications drawn up and bids submitted to contractors, actual construction will begin.
The main line will run from the river to Con-8 School. The south branch will run from the school to a point two miles south, then two west, one south, one east, one south and then east through Centerville. The north branch will run two miles north of the corner at Z.M. Stockton's, then one mile east, and two and a half miles north. Cold Springs also has enough applicants to run the electricity through that section. The cold Springs line will join the Con-8 line at the home of W.L. Bock.
First Signs Revealed
January 13, 1939
The first signs of electricity for this community were revealed this week when surveyors started staking for the poles. With this sign of actual work, several land owners who had been holding out rushed to sign up.
It is not certain just when the line is to be up, but from the looks of things, it may not be long. Surveyors have placed stakes over almost the entire route of the proposed line.
Modernize Country Homes
January 13, 1939
Soon community homes will be flooded with bright electric lights. Each day we find the country becoming more modernized and gaining every convenience possible, gradually catching up with the city, which for so long has had all the advantages.
The school house will be a much brighter place at night, making it possible for the audience to see the characters of the plays better, and more pleasant for other activities of the year.
The basketball players will not have to squint their eyes to be able to see the ball.
There will be no bang, bang of the Delco or the whiz of the wind chargers. There will be no worry about your radio battery. You may just sit back and watch your brightness burn,listen to your radio - and pay your bill every month.
Editor's Note: "The Delco" was a generator owned by the school on site to provide what electricity they had.
Work To Begin This Week
February 8, 1939
The construction of the SWRE line is scheduled to begin the last of this week.
Everyone is urged to get his house wired as soon as possible since the entire project must have two customers per mile ready before the electricity will be turned on. Those who have signed up for the electricity will be
given preference on the labor, officials have said. Those who want to work on the project will be given a chance to do so.
Electricity On Its Way
February 24, 1939
Poles to carry electricity into this community have been insulated and are now being set up. Wiring of the school and teacherages will be started Monday.
Delco Dies of Broken Heart
February 24, 1939
Some people may believe that the old 1916 model Delco power plant was the victim of a mechanical breakdown when its last wheeze Monday afternoon turned out to be a death rattle. But those at Con-8 know it merely died of a broken heart when it learned that the SWRE project was nearing completion.
As a result of this premature death of the local lighting system, both the school and the teacherages will be in the dark until the SWRE line is finished, because the old Delco is beyond repair.
Final Work Underway
April 7, 1939
Because of the lack of electric power, the PTA was unable to hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday. Officials report that the meeting will be announced as soon as the lights are on.
The installation of transformers in this district is the last milestone before the completion of the SWRE line here.
As a warning to the signers who do not intend to begin using the current now, Tom Moran, SWRE Manager announced this week that the Federal government requires all signers to pay for the service charge whether they use any current or not.
Wiring Close To Complete
March 10, 1939
Nearly all of the houses in this community have been wired and are ready for the electricity, reports Tom Moran, General Manager of SWRE.
Wiring of the gym and teacherages has been completed. The school building did not have to be rewired, but the basement and stage needed rewiring, and all the switches were checked by Warren Clark, the electrician in charge, who will also inspect the entire circuit in the school house.
Local people will get their first look at the new lights in the school at the Open House, which will be held as soon as the electric power is turned on.
U.S. Gives "Go" To SWRE
May 5, 1939
Word was received this morning from Tom Moran that meters for the electricity will arrive in Tipton this morning and permission has already been received from the federal government to turn the current on just as soon as these meters are installed!
Sweetness & Light Reigns
May 18, 1939
The first signs of an electricity line to enlighten Con-8 and the surrounding communities was about January 13, 1938. Although preliminary plans were made at the time, the "juice" was not turned on until Tuesday of last week. The "stalling off" of the power caused quite a delay in several of the activities of the community, but everything is running in double time now, and it seems that this lost time will be regained in a short while with everyone entertaining electrical appliance salesmen with all kinds of electrical "gadgets."
September 8, 1939
D.A. Jones, prominent farmer of this community, was elected a member of the board of directors of Southwest Rural Electric earlier this summer. This association, which was known to us as "the REA" in its infancy, has numerous members here and at Warren.
This board of directors has the power to hire and fire all employees of the cooperative and formulate its policies.
Editor's Note: SWRE's board is still elected by the members from the districts they represent. They still set policy and select the Chief Executive Officer who hires and fires all employees. Mr. Jones was the first trustee from district one. The second trustee from that district was Dick Culvahouse. Current trustee Don Ellis is the third representative from district one to the SWRE board.