Rural Electrification


When the first settlers came to the Curtisville area, they made their own candles from deer and boar tallow. The first church meetings were held by candlelight. Gradually, as the economy increased, the people began using kerosene lamps and lanterns. Travel too became less strenuous.

In 1932, local Curtisville township men, under the leadership of Manly L. Bell, began cutting poles from Dead Man’s Swamp to construct a powerline. The poles were carried on the backs of five men out of the swamp and loaded on a wagon. Manly Bell’s wagons and teams of horses then brought the wagon loads of cut poles into the village.
At the time of this electrification project, Manly Bell was working at a supply center for Consumer’s Power. Consumer’s, at the time of this project, were exchanging four-pin arms for six-pin arms on their utility poles downstate. Manly Bell was able to acquire the discarded four-pin arms for the Curtisville project. Consumer’s also donated some copper-clad wire. When the Curtisville exectrification project was ready to be strung with the donated copper-clad wire. Consumers rejected it and said that aluminum wire was required. The cost of this aluminum wire was $640.00, a sum that the Curtisville folks just did not have.

Bringing Electric to Curtisville

Curtisville men setting electric poles to bring electricity to the village

Bob Deacon, of Glennie, was a township supervisor at the time. He stopped in Curtisville one day to see how the power line was coming along. Manly Bell told him about the aluminum wire problem with Consumers. Mr. Deacon said that he would look into it. He returned soon afterwards with a check from the township for the needed six hundred forty dollars.

The holes for the poles were hand dug by Alvin Bell, Jim Heilig, Clarence Heilig, Manly L. Bell, Milton, Fred and Frank La Fleur and the Redmond boys. Kenneth Bell used his team to string the wire tauntly across the utility pole arms. The work wwas completed to the corner of Bamfield and Curtisville Roads by Christmas day, 1934.

The community was grateful and proud of their local men, for without their dedication and hard labor, Curtisville would have been without electricity for many years.


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Last updated on:  Thursday, November 22, 2018