Weatherford Municipal Power and Light

front elevation

The City of Weatherford sought a grant from the Works Progress Administration to construct a city-owned power plant (Shumaker, 1940).  Bond issues in the amount of $250,000 were approved by the community to build the municipal light plant (Two bond issues, 1937).  Update:  I located a 1939 newspaper article that indication the contracts for the construction of the power plan were let on September 14, 1939.  The low bid was $129,833.09 for the plant construction and installation of machinery.  The Eugene Asche Electric Company of Fort Worth won the contract for installing the distribution system and street lighting, at a cost of $88,912.73 (Weatherford to build power plant).

sidewalk stamp

I have been unable to locate documentation, after days and days of searching newspapers, that WPA funds were actually granted.  The closest I can come is that there is evidence due to the WPA stamp on the sidewalk that the agency was at least involved in constructing the sidewalk.  While I think it is likely that the grant was awarded, based on other WPA and PWA activity in Weatherford–in terms of buildings and grants–there is so far no definitive information that I can find in spite of scouring newspaper archives from 1937-1940, university archives, and any possible lead turned up on a routine Google search.  If anyone out there reading this has some source, I throw myself on your mercy to please let me know where it is.  This building–and its story, which you can read by checking out Charles Shumaker’s dissertation from 1940 (see link on reference at end of story), is too valuable to be lost.

The building was constructed by Fairbanks, Morse, and Company, and completed in 1940.

Out front of the building sit a tractor and a road grader, which pre-date the building, but nonetheless are worthy of publicity.

grader manufacturer

J. D. Adams founded his production company in 1897 and operated it until his death in 1924 (J. D. Adams & Company).  In 1929, his sons formed a corporation, which operated until 1955 when the company was purchased by LeTourneau-Westinghouse, who retained the Adams brand name until 1960 (Berry, n. d., Historical Equipment Association).  Adams was the inventor of “the first successful leaning-wheel pull grader in 1885.

grader

An Adams’ advertisement from The Road-Maker: A Monthly Journal Devoted to the Practical Problems of Highway Transportation, 12(1), January 1918, advises:

The Adams-Leaning-Wheel Grader can quickly prove to contractors and road officials that by leaning its weight against the load, it moves much more dirt with less power, at a consequent saving in cost.

tractor

Today the plant is still operational and occasionally utilized to generate power when the cost of market power rises above the cost of generation. (History of Weatherford Electric, Weatherford Utilities Department, weatherfordtx.gov)

References:

J. D. Adams & Company, Manuscripts and Rare Books Division, Indiana State Library.

Shumaker, C. S. (1940). The Weatherford Municipal Light and Power Plant.  Dissertation retrieved from http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc75604/

Two bond issues voted by Weatherford citizens. (24 November 1937). Vernon Daily Record, p. 1.

Weatherford to build power plant. (September 15, 1939). The Mexia Weekly Herald, p. 1.

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This entry was posted in Art Deco architecture, Art Moderne, New Deal Administration, Texas, Works Progress Administration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Weatherford Municipal Power and Light

  1. socialbridge says:

    Fascinating to learn about this company and the invention.

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