CULLMAN – Each year the month of December is filled with beautiful Christmas decorations. Brilliantly colorful lights are swirled around trees and line rooftops all over town. Christmas trees are adorned with exquisite ornaments and twinkling lights as stacks of perfectly wrapped presents lay scattered underneath. More recently, huge air-filled blow ups of Santa, elves and snowmen sit bloated in yards, giving off a faint hum from the machine that keeps them inflated.
Christmas music is played on the radio while parents read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” under the glow of a lamp as sleep children wipe their eyes and think of sugar plums and how they look dancing in their heads. Homes are filled with the sweet smell of homemade cookies as hungry teenagers continually click on the oven lights and sneak peeks at the delicacies in order to gain an idea as to when the delicious goodies will be ready to decorate and eat.
Did you notice something everything above had in common? Electricity! Many of us these days have no idea what we would do without wonderful electricity. It has made our lives so much easier and more convenient than ever before.
Cullman County went electric in 1936 and the very first power pole was installed in the Simcoe area. According to the Cullman Electric Coop’s website, “Cullman EC energized its first lines just east of the city of Cullman on Aug. 4, 1936, picking up 350 customers with 30 miles of line. Cullman EC was the second co-op in the state to incorporate, but was the first one to energize its lines.”
There are no known photographs of that first power pole but today a historic marker can be seen in the general area where it first stood. It is located in front of the Simcoe Community Center. The marker reads:
“The Cullman County Electric Membership Corporation was the first rural electric cooperative in Alabama to provide electricity. The cooperative was organized May 25, 1936 under an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Near this site on August 4, 1936, the cooperative’s power lines were first energized, supplying 350 co-op members with electricity.”
“The cooperative’s original incorporators included H.E. Heck, O.A. Ellard, W.F. Dahlke, Charlie Fehrentz, H.R. Lowry, J.S. Bland, W.E. Humphries, R. Lem Bates, W.E. Rainwater, Emmett S. Oden, W.L. Bowling, W.E. Ballard, C.N. Ruehl and W.T. Clemons. The first attorney was W.E. James. The cooperation was reorganized May 11, 1940 as Cullman Electric Cooperative. The cooperative serves people in Cullman, Lawrence, Morgan and Winston counties.”
Electricity is a great thing. It saves lives and makes life much easier for us. If you would like more information about Cullman Electric Cooperative, you can find them online at www.cullmanec.com, or you can give them a call at 256-737-3200 or 1-800-242-1806. They are located at 1749 Eva Road Northeast, Cullman, AL 35058.