Lighting and Power

In the beginning the people in this town made their own candles by dipping. Some of the old ones were far from ornamental. After a time some lucky families owned a candle mold so they could pour the wax into the molds and do them faster and more perfectly.

After roads were made so that communication with the outside world was possible without great hardship, kerosene oil (at $1.00/gal. it is said) was brought to town and lamps were then used -- if one had a lamp. If not, a wick in the oil was fixed in many ingenious ways. Now, if not too tired, families could gather round and play games for a while in the long winter evenings.

Several houses in Andover and some in East Andover had gas lighting for a while. The gas was made with the use of carbide and water. Carbide had to be stored 100 ft. from the dwelling and an automatic valve dripped water on it as needed to make gas. Roger Thurston, Ronello Grover, Olney Farrington, and Bert Rand used this system of lighting. Some cars and bicycles had small carbide light systems.

Alma Hewey recalls that her father had gas not only for their home on the corner of Main and Newton Streets but at his saw mill at the end of Pleasant Street. Roger Thurston's home at North Andover also had gas lights.

Much later a few people had electrical power from batteries. These Delco systems, as they were called, seemed quite magical. Walter Barnes had a Delco system large enough to light not only his store but also Ike Mills' store, Arthur Lang's barber shop and print shop, and their homes, also. The Church had a Delco system of its own after a while, and how pretty the chandelier was!

Finally, in 1928, the Andover Power Co. was created. Capital stock was $50,000 (1,000 shares at $50). Officials included: President, Vice-President, Clerk, Treasurer, and Board of Directors. Clerk and Directors were elected by the Stockholders; the other officers elected by the Directors. In 1929 an agreement was made with the Rumford Falls Light and Water Co. to buy power. There were two agreements -- one dated July 27,1929, and the other Sept. 19, 1929, signed by Ralph D. Thurston and Hugh J. Chisholm. In effect the agreement was for Rumford Falls Light Co. to extend their transmission lines on the Andover Road about five miles to the intersection of the Rumford and Andover town lines and to enter into the sale of power to Andover for a period of ten years and not to be in excess of 25 Kilo Volt AMPS of electrical energy. This agreement conveyed all property to Rumford Falls Light and Power Co. via mortgage. Andover Power Co. had to maintain the lines.

On Oct. 21, 1939, there was a second ten-year agreement signed by Frank Newton, President of Andover Power Co., and Hugh J. Chisholm. A second meeting was called Nov. 1, 1939 at 7:30 p.m. of the stockholders at A. L. Lang's office to ratify and confirm renewal of contract and mortgage with the Rumford Falls Light and Power Co. On Dec. 31, 1947, a sale was made to Rumford of the entire property for only $2,500.00. A public hearing was held at the office of the Public Utility Commission in Augusta at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, 1947.

The sale consisted of:

Poles and fixtures

Conductors

Transformers

Street light equipment

Meters

Total

$662.50

1,185.00

265.00

237.00

150.00

$2,500.00

Arthur L. Lang, Clerk of Andover Power Co.

Commissioners at that time were: Frank Southard, James L. Boyed and George E. Hill

Corporate name of Rumford Falls Light and Power Co. changed to Rumford Light Co., Oct. 31, 1947.

Now in 1979 we have our power from the Central Maine Power Co. Rumford Falls Light and Power Co. merged with or sold out to C.M.P. Co. We can have all the electrical gadgets and so much machinery run by the mills, for a three phase line was needed. Now we can have the joys of washers, driers, T.V.'s, stoves, refrigerators, deep freezers and countless other conveniences -- if we can pay the bill.

Source: Andover: The First 175 Years, Prepared by the Andover Friday Club, Andover, ME (1979), pp 202 - 204, Reprinted with permission of current owner, The Andover Educational Fund, Inc.