McLean Electric Coop


McLean Electric Cooperative

The McLean Electric Cooperative was incorporated on August 27, 1945. Much work had been done prior to this time by different individuals to bring electricity to the farms of McLean County.

Earlier, at one of the first meetings called to discuss the subject, held at the Roseglen Hall, it was decided that McLean County should join the Verendrye Electric Cooperative at Velva, North Dakota. Membership was signed up accordingly. This went on until Claude Wickard, then the REA Administrator, issued an order that no money would be advanced to Verendrye to build in McLean County.

On learning of this decision, a meeting was held in Garrison on the afternoon of August 26, 1945 to discuss what, then, would be done to bring electric power to rural McLean County. As a result, the McLean Electric Cooperative was incorporated, and a board of directors was elected to serve until the first annual meeting could be held. Those serving on this board were: Walter Fiedler, President, Julius Mattson, Vice President, Ellen G. Stenson, Secretary-Treasurer, Emanuel Keck, Ralph Keel, Carl Hanson, Sarah McElwain, Arnold Hill, and Gordon Hacanson.

Before the first annual meeting, which was held on June 12, 1946, the county had been divided into nine districts, with one board member to be elected from each district to serve for a one-year term. Those elected as directors are this time were: Sarah McElwain, Gordon Hacanson, Julius Mattson, Leonard Borgen, Frank Stadler, Richard Thompson, Ralph Keel, Albin Liedholm, and Emanuel Keck.

The board was organized as follows: Ralph Keel, President, Julius Mattson, Vice President, and Sarah McElwain, Secretary-Treasurer. McLean Electric's first office was located in the basement of the Garrison Memorial Auditorium.

In April of 1946, Joe Walters was employed as easement coordinator.

McLean Electric Cooperative then applied for a half million dollar loan from REA, but before this loan could secure approval from Washington, a load of poles arrived on the track at Garrison. There was no money to pay the freight on these poles, so Julius Mattson and Arnold Hill went to the Garrison State Bank and signed a note for enough money to pay the freight so that the poles could be unloaded.

In 1947, the first construction contract was let to the low bidder, Charley Rue of Fargo. The first line was energized on March 31, 1947. This was the first line that served the boom towns along the highway to Riverdale.

In the fall of 1947, some of the farms in the Turtle Lake area received electricity. Here at Roseglen, the first farms received current on July 3, 1948.

Ralph Keel was employed as manager of the cooperative in March of 1947, and served until May 1, 1954, when Joe Walters took over. In 1967, when the Roseglen Golden Jubilee book was published, Joe Walters was still manager of the company.

In 1967, Julius Mattson, of Roseglen, was still serving on the board of directors, in the position of President. The Vice President was Frank Stadler, of Ruso. Harold Ziegler, of Emmet, was Secretary-Treasurer, and the other directors were Gerald Oberg of Wilton, John Forland of Turtle Lake, Eugene Zaderaka of Max, John Traub of Garrison, Evert Nelson of Washburn, and Elmer Zwicker of Turtle Lake.