Nelson County Historical Society

Cuttin' on the Lights

Rural Electrification

In 1937, only about 10% of Central Virginia's residents in rural areas had electric service. This exhibit tells the story of how Nelson County citizens met the challenge of bringing electrical power to a rural area by taking advantage of a Depression-era program run by the Rural Electrification Administration to organize the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. The exhibit includes an interactive map showing how electrical service was extended throughout the county, posters with a narrative and archival pictures, pre-electric appliances, early electrical appliances, including a refrigerator, sewing machine and antique radio, as well as oral history videos of the men and women who built the electrical system.

Created in cooperation with the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, this exhibit was made possible by a grant from the USDA Office of Rural Development and a matching grant from the Donovan Foundation as well as private donations.​

Resources for teachers and students