We flip a switch and the lights come on... It's a simple action we take for granted, but until 1934 most of Edina did not have electricity.
Electric power came earlier to Morningside, Country Club District and housing areas at the north end of the city, but rural Edina had to wait.Residents of Cahill community, located in southwest Edina near 70th Street and Cahill Road, were so thrilled with getting power, they celebrated throughout the year, according to Dorothy Grant Palmer, a long-time resident.
"In the early 1930's the entire Cahill community was still not being supplied with electric power. Even telephone service was very limited - only a few fortunate people were lucky enough to have telephones. It was in 1934 that North States Power finally brought electricity to southwestern Edina. As the electricity was turned on in the various homes, 'light up' parties were held to celebrate the 'blessed event'. It was a year that was filled with many happy social gatherings. Even the little group of Lutherans, who met in the Cahill School house, had a special gala dedication to celebrate its first service with electric lights."
Dorothy wrote down her memories of living in the Cahill community during the 1930s and 40s, and submitted her essay, "A Wedding in a One Room School House" to us in 1985 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her wedding in Cahill School, which served as a church for the few Lutherans in the mostly Irish Catholic neighborhood. That church later became Calvary Lutheran, now located at 6817 Antrim Road in Edina.
What were you doing when the lights went on in Edina? Did you attend any "light up" parties? If you have photos of any of the events or memories to share, please contact me.
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