Celebrating 75 Years
Lacking the beneﬁts of electricity,a group of farmers got together to form a cooperative so all the area farms could receive electric service. As a result of their efforts, Western Cooperative Electric Association was incorporated under the laws of the state of Kansas in May 1945.
The months following incorporation were spent soliciting members,applying for REA loan money, obtaining right-of-way, staking lines, and ordering materials. Construction didn't begin until March 11, 1947.
Progress was slow due to material and labor shortages, but on Dec. 22, 1947, the long-awaited moment arrived.Western's president, Irving Walker,turned on the electricity in the garage at the Frank Landauer farm near Ellis. The ﬁrst light bulb glowed in testimony of our members'willingness and determination to help
themselves. Later, Mr. Walker recalled he had to stand on a half-bushel bucket to reach the pull-chain light ﬁxture.
About 30 families on Western's lines were able to enjoy electricity for the ﬁrst time by Christmas 1947. Western’s incorporators and original trustees were:
- FRED J. HAMBURG, Ellis
- ALVIN L. SALEEN, Ogallah
- IRVING WALKER, WaKeeney
- W. D. IKENBERRY, Quinter
- MELVIN REINECKER, Quinter
- L. R. MILLER, Quinter
- fC. W. KRAUS, Hays
- ED J. NIERNBERGER, Ellis
- WARD SULLIVAN, Hays
We’re thankful for their dedication to bringing light to our rural homes and communities.