In 1903, Greenville was a town of just 3,500, governed by a Board of Alderman. Homes were dimly lit by kerosene lamps and the town's street lamp lighter, Henry Duff, had a secure job. The town's water supply consisted of cisterns, the town pump, and surface wells kept on back porches.
The "sewer system" was just a series of open pits in backyards--sometimes located within arm's reach of drinking wells, a perfect breeding ground for typhoid fever and malaria.
With an eye toward progress, on April 7, 1903, a $65,000 bond referendum for water, sewer, and electric system was passed by a vote of 187 to 11. Two years later, on March 20, Greenville's new generator was cranked up and lights illuminated the downtown for the first time. The curious crowd, which had gathered for the occasion, shouted its delight. All, we assume, except for Henry Duff, who surely sensed that his lamp lighting days were numbered.
And so, the Water & Light Commission was established in 1905 with about 72 electric and 30 water customers. The gas system came a few years later, in 1925.
Since 1905, Greenville Utilities has grown to become a vital part of the community. There have been many changes, but one thing has remained constant--our dedication to personal service at the lowest reasonable cost. We are and always have been a public power utility, owned by the people we serve.
Click on this image to see a booklet we created to celebrate our centennial in 1905.
Click on the image below to see a full size ad about GUC's history and how we've changed since 1905.