Rural Electrification Introduction

Rural Electrification: Outlet For Change

By the 1920s most city and town residents had access to electricity in their homes, businesses and schools. Indoor lights, home appliances, industrial machines and indoor plumbing were all run by electric power. Electricity made many jobs easier.

But electrical power lines did not often extend beyond city boundaries and electricity was available to few rural residents - about 25% in 1930. As a consequence, rural life had changed very little since the late 1800s and heavy manual labor was a necessity for men, women and children at home and on the farm.

This exhibit tells the story of how electricity eventually reached rural residents, both in central Wisconsin and in the rest of the United States, and how it changed their lives.