Cheyenne County Rural Electrification Assn.
March 31, 1941
(Taken in part from the original minutes.)
Persons interested in Rural Electrification met in the Legion room of the city auditorium at Sidney. Mr. George Phillips, Manager of Pine Bluffs R.E.A. Cooperative, told the history of the R.E.A. and Miss. Elenor Wilson, R.E.A fieldwoman from Washington, D.C., and Mr. Walter Phelan, attorney from Cheyenne, gave talks and answered questions.
Thirty-six people voted in favor of forming a temporary organization and elected Art Borcher chairman, Louis Miller secretary, and Etheline Swanson treasurer.
One person from each precinct was appointed to a committee to contact persons in their precinct and neighborhood and explain the R.E.A program and collect membership fees ($5.00):
Precinct Committeeman Precinct Committeeman
Gurley Ross Handley Colton H. Courtney
Davison Raymond Pelster Union Valley Clyde Beof
Trognitz Ed Ericson Eagle Luke Chichester
Lodgepole Wayne Bond Pleasant View A. Shubarta
Bunker Hill Paul Meyer Potter George Coulter
Huntsman Louis Miller Garden D. D. Kastens
Bronson Harry Anderson Deuel Joe Lindley
Chambers Ed Nelson Banner Joe Larson
Lorenzo Ed Meyers Peetz Anton Nelson
Sidney Ralph Laffler
At a meeting of committee members on August 9, 1941, Art Borcher reported that the Rural Electric Association of Pine Bluffs had voted to accept the Cheyenne County Rural Electrification Association as an extension to their company. He also reported that 358 farmers had signed applications and that 396 miles of line had been mapped out.
(Excerpts from recollections of Mrs. Theo. Smith)
“It was shortly after this that the war broke out and everything was stopped for the duration. After the war, when material was again available, it seemed to us that Pine Bluffs was doing all the work on the west end of their system and we on this end were standing by anxiously waiting, but nothing would happen. I also think that Pine Bluffs was sorry of the annexing. So after various meetings, we voted to dissolve membership. So now we had to start all over again.”
Wheat Belt Electric Membership Association
August 28, 1946
“So now we had a name, board members, no money and no members. So we first had to negotiate for aid, and hire a manager. Also a place of business had to be found. Mr. Abe Moore was chosen as manager and a little white house, one block south and half a block east of the main intersection was our first office.” (938 Jackson St, Sidney)
Board of Directors….
Arthur Borcher, President
Theodore Smith, Vice President
Harold Spiker, Secretary – Treasurer
(Mr. Spiker advanced $200 to defray initial expenses – to be repaid as soon as funds became available.)
Wheat Belt one year later (August 1947):
390,264 kWh Sold
$ 512.00 Payroll (3 employees)
$ 165.27 Expenses
The first lines constructed by Wheat Belt were energized in October, 1948. It was also that same month and year that the building and land at 2104 Illinois Street was purchased at auction for $29,450 from A.S. and Clare Hardy.
Wheat Belt becomes a Public Power District. The first meeting of the Wheat Belt Public Power District was held on December 7, 1954, and the rest, as they say….. is history.
Wheat Belt Board of Directors 1950: Seated: Ted Smith, Vice President; Harold Spiker,Secretary-Treasurer; WayneBond, President; Arnold Peeks; Anton Nelson; George Zimmerman. Standing: Raymond Weed; Thad Patrick; Maurice Konkel, Attorney;Charles Ham, General Manager; John Hornicek.