|Dynamos, similar to these, were used by the Odell factory to supply electricity to light the city. Image: Scientific American, April 2, 1881 |
Odell Brings Electricity to Concord
The history of public services - telephone, electricity, and water - which changed the lives of the citizens of Concord, can be traced back to the late 1800s. On February 16, 1889, the Concord Board of Commissioners approved J. M. Odell's proposition to light the town of Concord and awarded him a twenty-year contract to provide such services. A special meeting was then called on February 18, 1889 where the formal agreement was entered into by the commissioners and J. M. Odell.
According to the agreement between Mr. Odell and the commissioners, the street lights would burn during the night hours, seven days a week with the exception of moonlit nights when the lamps would not be lit. In addition, the necessary equipment to supply electricity to homes, churches, and businesses would also be put into place.
The power for the dynamos to produce the electricity was to be supplied by the Odell factory engine. "This is just another very important step forward in the progress for which Concord is becoming justly noted," declares the writer for Concord's local paper, The Standard.
On May 10, The Times reported that all of the churches would be lit with electricity. "The Presbyterian has it, the wires are up in the Lutheran and nearly in place in the Methodist church."
The Concord Electric Light Company continued to progress, providing more customers and businesses with electricity until March 14, 1904 when the City of Concord purchased the company from J. M. Odell and the other stockholders.
Courtesy Concord Library, Lore Local History Room