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134 Years Ago Today: Wyoming’s First Electric Lights

The Warren-Nagel Mansion was the first home in Wyoming with electricity. Wyoming State Archives.
The Warren-Nagel Mansion in Cheyenne was the first home in Wyoming with electricity. Wyoming State Archives.

Today marks an interesting anniversary in Wyoming history. 134 years ago, on January 5, 1883, Cheyenne became the first town in the west to install electric lights.

Wyoming’s facination with electricity began five years earlier when Thomas Edison and a group of scientists conducted an experiment near Rawlins. According to local legend, Edison reportedly advanced his idea for the electric light bulb while fishing at Battle Lake, near the town of Encampment.

By August of 1882, the Brush-Swan Electric Light Company of Cheyenne was established as the only commericial electricity plant in the region.

After the first electric lamp was constructed downtown in January of 1883, wealthy citizens and businesses began lighting thier own homes using battery power. Frances E. Warren, who would go on to become Wyoming’s first governor, was the first to install electricity in a private residence.

Later that year, the City of Cheyenne contracted Brush-Swan to wire electric light polls across the downtown streets. By February of 1884, “arc lights” were hung over every interesection in town.

In 1900, the Brush-Swan Electric Light Company was sold to the newly formed Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Company, which continued to illuminate the Capital City for over 100 years.

Did Thomas Edison Invent the Light Bulb in Wyoming?

 

 

 

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