This is a historic picture, taken circa 1900, looking west on Main Street.
Picture: Circa 1900
Electricity had not been installed to the town.
The poles that are visible in this picture are telegraph poles. According to Ms
Christine Rowe Hollins in her article in the October 1991 issue of the News-Democrat &
Leader; "It was December, 1919 when the first resolution was passed to install
electricity and 'running water' to the town. In August, 1921 Auburn-Woodburn Electric Co.
was granted permission to start erecting poles, pending sale of franchise. In October
1921, the franchise to furnish electricity was sold to Auburn-Woodburn Electric Co. There
was to be a minimum of 36 street lights with 16 to be 100 watts and 36 to be 60 watts at a
cost to the town of $1000 yearly. They were to be turned on as "early as
necessary" and to be turned off a midnight except "when the moon is
shining" to give sufficient light and then the lights were not turned on. Bills were
paid to this company in October and November of 1922 and September of 1923. On August 7,
1923 the franchise was sold to Kentucky Utilities. In November, 1923 the bill was paid to
both companies, thereafter to Kentucky Utilities." Christine goes on to say that
"Guthrie Coke was owner or part owner of the Auburn-Woodburn Electric Co." She
also says that "The first street light I saw was on N. College at Ice House Hill
(where gas transformer is now). We were coming from Bucksville in a buggy in the early
evening and there in the middle of the street, strung from poles to each side, was this
"bright" light up in the air with no apparent support." She continues to
say that "it scared the hack out of her."
One notes that the street is not paved. This did not happen
until 1929. According to Ms. Christine Rowe Hollins "in 1928, Main Street was in such
bad shape (it was gravel) that improvements were necessary from W. City limits to the
bridge at E. City limits, by putting in curbs, guttering and paving. The State Highway
Department is to help because they consider our Main Street a necessary link in The Dixie
Highway. The bid for curbs and guttering was let to C. B. Peart at a cost of $9532 and work
was done in 1930. The bid for surfacing was let in June 1930 to Campbell and Company of
Bowling Green at a cost of $19,989.37 and finished in December 1930."