Excerpt from Nuggets of History by Birdell Paine Butson
Franklin County Leads Out
…The 4th honor began in 1936. At that time, most of the farmers did not have electricity. Cities and towns had electricity, but they were never interested in making the price reasonable for farmers. So Manning Howell (the county extension agent) put an article in the local paper and asked if farmers wanted to build an electrical generating plant using farmer-owned electric lines to have the joy of electricity. Not many responded for it was the intensely cold winter of 1936 and most people were more concerned about warmth. But in two years the project was accomplished! The plant was built, the generator was installed, the poles and lines were up and the first electric power came online in 1938. Many local young men worked on the project for many months. A contractor, O.J. Stackhouse of Geneva, told us in detail of how they warmed the sand and cement used in the building. Now, the former REA generating plant southwest of Hampton is a most interesting museum.
Mrs. Butson has written a great little book about her memories of Franklin County. You can order it by sending (or dropping off) a check for $10 made payable to Birdell Butson at the Franklin County Historical Museum. The mailing address is FCHS Museum, P.O. Box 114, Hampton Iowa 50441. The physical location is the museum building on the fairgrounds. Mrs. Butson will be donating a percentage of her sales back to the Historical Society.