Burnet County powers up
On this day in 1939, the first section of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative’s many miles of transmission lines was energized at Bertram in Burnet County, and the first of several thousand rural Hill Country families received electricity. During the 1930s farmers and ranchers across the Lone Star State banded together to form nonprofit electric cooperatives to apply for funds from the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). With money from the REA, they constructed their own power lines and repaid the loans from sales of electricity. The Pedernales Electric Cooperative included a network that spanned parts of Blanco, Burnet, Gillespie, Hays, Kendall, Llano, and Mason counties. Their initial REA loan of over $1.3 million for more than 1,700 miles of electric lines was the most money and longest mileage ever granted in a single approval, but the effort brought modern conveniences to thousands of thankful folks.