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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Attalla in Etowah County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Electricity for the City of Attalla

 
 
Electricity for the City of Attalla Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim & Renda Carr, April 10, 2010
1. Electricity for the City of Attalla Marker
Inscription. In the fall of 1902, Captain William Patrick Lay, of Gadsden, began construction of a small hydro electric generating plant at the site of Wesson Mill on Big Wills Creek, just southwest of Attalla. The plant was constructed, in Lay’s words, “First to supply the City of Attalla with electricity; second, to pump water into a tall stand pipe which would furnish Attalla with water; and third, to demonstrate the possibilities and economy of hydro electric power for which I had been contending for a number of years preceding.” When the plant was completed, a line was strung from the 75-horsepower turbine driven generator, over the mountain to a light on a pole in the heart of Attalla. Captain Lay himself threw the switch, bringing electricity to the community.

Four years later, on December 4th, 1906, Captain Lay organized the Alabama Power Company. Drawing on the success of his experiment at Big Wills Creek, Captain Lay focused his attention on an ambitious plan to develop a high dam and power plant at Lock 12 on the Coosa River. Lock 12 dam, now called Lay Dam, was the first large scale hydro plant built by Alabama Power Company and along with subsequent hydro and steam generating plants, became the foundation on which the Southern Company system of integrated power companies is based today.

When Alabama Power
Electricity for the City of Attalla Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim & Renda Carr, April 10, 2010
2. Electricity for the City of Attalla Marker
Company reorganized in 1912 and acquired the Attalla system, it discovered that in order to enlist the support of Attalla in the Big Wills Creek project, Captain Lay had agreed to provide the city with free electricity for lighting. That agreement transferred to Alabama Power Company and to this day, schools and other city buildings have two meters--one for free lights and another for billed service.
 
Location. 34° 1.372′ N, 86° 5.345′ W. Marker is in Attalla, Alabama, in Etowah County. Marker is at the intersection of 5th Avenue Northwest and 4th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling north on 5th Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Attalla AL 35954, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First United Methodist Church Of Attalla (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); “The Junction” (approx. 0.3 miles away); Camp Wills (approx. 0.3 miles away); William Patrick Lay (approx. 1½ miles away); Camp Sibert (approx. 2 miles away); a different marker also named Camp Sibert (approx. 2 miles away); Dwight Mill Village (approx. 2½ miles away); Howard Gardner Nichols 1871-1896 (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Attalla.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Electricity for the City of Attalla Marker and Downtown Attalla, Alabama image. Click for full size.
By Tim & Renda Carr, April 10, 2010
3. Electricity for the City of Attalla Marker and Downtown Attalla, Alabama
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 19, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 910 times since then and 76 times this year. Last updated on May 26, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 19, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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