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Klickitat PUD

In The Beginning

Shirley Temple was Hollywood’s number one box office attraction. Babe Ruth had just been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree was just four years over. A new federal law set a minimum wage and maximum work week —- 25 cents an hour and 44 hours.

The year is 1938, the day is the 8th of November, and by a vote of 2,219 to 1,920, Klickitat County created a public utility district. Tired of waiting for investor-owned utilities to provide their rural homes and farms with electricity, local citizens decided to provide it to themselves.

The PUD’s first priority was to start stringing lines in Trout Lake and the Glenwood Valley and the first happy customer was Frank Ward and his rock crusher near Glenwood. By mid-1941 the PUD had 225 customers and electric ranges replaced wood cook stoves, electric lights replaced lanterns and refrigerators shoved iceboxes out the kitchen door.

“When we’d hook a place up we’d turn on the power and the man would run for the workshop and the woman would run for the stove,” Allen Beeks, a 40-year lineman remembered in 1993.