Janesville Electric Light Co.

1880 - 1908 - ?

Janesville company turned on the lights in 1880
The lights came on in Janesville in 1880, shortly after the Janesville Electric Light
Co. was incorporated on March 18, 1880.
Incorporators included Dr. Henry PALMER and W. T. VAN KIRK.
Capt. Pliny NORCROSS bought the plant afterward and expanded it. During
his ownership, the main buildings were situated at the end of one of two raceways on the Rock River that supplied the water power for the city's earliest and best known - at the time - industry: milling. The hydroelectric power plant was on the upper raceway between Milwaukee and Dodge streets.
NORCROSS also bought the waterpower at Fulton and Indianford and ran it
"in connection with the Janesville plant for the lighting of the city streets and the furnishing of motive power, etc.," according to a history of Rock County compiled in 1908 by William Fiske BROWN.
In 1904, NORCROSS sold out to M. G. JEFFRIS, Levi CARLE, T. O.
HOWE, Stanley SMITH and George G. SUTHERLAND.
They rebuilt and extended the plant. They bought the water power and buildings
owned by the old Janesville Cotton Manufacturing Co., the FORD Milling Co., which gave them control of most of the city's water power.
On the site of the old FORD mill at the west end of the upper dam, the new
partners built a modern power plant at a cost of $70,000 and rebuilt the plant on the lower dam. The company increased its capital stock to $100,000.
Before NORCROSS sold his interest, the electric company had started "in a small
way" to furnish heat by forced circulation of steam-heated water. The power company's new owners continued the practice, and "quite a number of business blocks near Milwaukee Street Bridge are heated in this way, among them being three entire JACKMAN buildings."
[Source: The Janesville Gazette, August 14, 1985, p. 7G; Courtesy of Lori]

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