Polk County Rural Public Power District – The Beginning
Electrical service, which we all accept today as a way of life, was not available to most farmers and ranchers in the early 1930s. Even the smaller communities had no electric service unless they generated their own.
In the spring of 1935, the Council of the Swede Home Church appointed Petrus C. Nelson and Alex Adelson as a committee to see if enough people in Polk County would be interested in organizing a Public Power District. A meeting was held in the Swede Home Church parlor on May 6, 1935, and as a result, a district was organized. Petrus Nelson was elected president of the new district and Agvall S. Torell was elected secretary. Swede Home was chosen as the place of business for the district. Nine directors were elected to the board, one from each precinct as follows: Petrus C. Nelson, Maurice G. Lindburg, C. B. Knerr, Victor Thelander, George H. Bond, William Kosch, Albert Schulz, Fred Cockson, and Adolph Grossnicklaus.
A loan in the amount of $367,500 was approved by the Rural Electrification Administration in October 1936 for the construction of the first lines. In April 1937, Sandberg & Johnson Construction Company was awarded a contract to build lines. Mr. G. E. Ekstrand was employed as Project Superintendent, and in June 1938 the energization of the lines was celebrated. Mrs. Milo Austin had the honor of closing the switch, which started the electricity flowing in the lines.
The City of Stromsburg connected to the lines of the new District in November 1941. The District's offices, which had been located in the lower level of the Stromsburg Bank building since 1937, moved to its present location in 1950. A dedication ceremony was held in December of that year.