Messrs. Wylie & Co. got possession of all the electric lighting business in town on Monday, and on that evening their new dynamos got to work on the incandescent light contracts. After the proper speed was secured the lights were all that could be desired—up to the brightest anticipations. The 16-candlepower lights are pronounced equal to the 50-candle-power of the other system, and the light is a soft, mellow one and pleasant to the eye.
The new electric light station has been a source of great attraction to our citizens this week, and all who have visited it are delighted with the working of the Edison plant. Everything is in apple-pie order, and the fitting up is highly creditable to Mr. Lynn and his staff of electricians, as well as to Messrs. Young Bros., machinists. A walk around town will show anyone how the coal oil lamp system of lighting suffers by contrast with the incandescent system. We have little doubt but that in a short time nearly every business place in town will use the new form of lighting.
Quite a crowd of our townsmen were attracted to the front of Mr. Wylie’s store on Saturday night last by the novelty of its being lit with gas. The light was bright and clear, and of course was much superior to coal oil. No. 2 was similarly illuminated, and it made the building look like a fairy palace. The new worsted mill is also to be supplied with gas. There will be an abundant supply during the coming election.
Carleton Place–First Electric Lights Installed:
In mills including Peter McLaren’s Carleton Place lumber mills in early 1880’s; first community lighting service, Carleton Place, September, 1885.
1902 – The closed Carleton Place sawmills and upper Mississippi reserve dams of the Canada Lumber Company were bought by H. Brown & Sons for water conservation and power development uses.
In 1909 Construction of a hydro electric power plant was begun by H. Brown & Sons at the former site of the Canada Lumber Company mills, after several years of preparation of the riverbed including tailrace excavation and building of a concrete millpond dam.
In July of 1937 Carleton Place resident Lionel Bigras saved the life of 6-year-old Margaret Violet King, daughter of Mrs. Clifford King. Young Margaret fell into the Mississippi River near the hydro plant about 200 yards from the town bridge early in the afternoon. BIgras dived three times into 15 feet of water to bring the child to the surface. CPR was performed by Wilfrid Bigras, employee at the Hydro plant, a cousin of the rescuer. Doctors Johnson and James of Carleton Place took charge as soon as they arrived at the scene. The Carleton Place girl was brought to the Ottawa Civic hospital where she miraculously recovered from her experience. Sadly, her father Clifford King, had lost his life by drowning in the Mississippi Lake only a year previous. But sad to say, the story did not end there.
Tara Gesner, our beloved reporter from The Carleton Place Canadian, has sent me a picture of the medal that Wilfred Bigras received that day for saving the Margaret King’s life. Linda Gesner, her mother-in-law, still has the medal. Wilfred Bigras was Tara’s husband’s great great grandfather. Thank you Tara for showing this to me!
This small orange notebook labelled “Memo, Electric Light Co., List of Users, etc. etc, and Notes “by the way”” was kept by W.A. Braedon. On the first page he has written: “Memo of parties using the Electric Light and date when they got the Light in Carleton Place”. His list begins September 28th, 1885. Homeowners were charged by the number of bulbs and the number of hours the bulb was turned on.
In 1905 Carleton Place street lighting was improved under a ten year contract, with introduction of a year-round all night service and erection of 150 street lights to supplement the arc lamp system. Photo-Info- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
On March 1st of 1948 Carleton Place Hydro manager M. W. Rogers reported power consumption had risen over the weekend. This was a very unusual situation, and he said the blame should be put on the Carleton Place housewives. Apparently, our lovely ladies refrained from operating electric machines and ironers on Monday and Tuesday. Rogers assumed they carried their washday work over to the weekend. Mr. Rogers hoped that fact would be reflected on Monday and Tuesday with a week-day reduction similar to that effected work. Mr. Rogers, had I been alive then, I would have been protesting in front of the Carleton Place Town Hall singing the very song I posted below. Geesh!