• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


“AND SO THERE WAS LIGHT” In the town of Union – 1922

                   The town of Union - 1922


Ninety one years ago from this year of 2013, the arrival of electricity came to Union, West Virginia. It arrived on Thursday night , April 13, 1922.   It was said that people were dancing in the streets.  Looking south along the tree lined Main Street of Union, electricity had arrived in the town and showed the presence of the utility poles.  The only building clearly visible in the picture above is now the home to The Monroe Watchman Office.

There is no doubt that the electricity supplied more light than the ancient oil street lamps that had been in use for a long time.  The movement to bring power to the area had begun a year before in 1921 to form a connection with the Virginia Western Power Company at a point near Fort Spring.  The Delco system would provide power for the merchants, lights for the town and limited power for other uses, but would not go beyond the town of Union.

Things were proceeding slowly and at times articles appeared in the newspaper pushing the project by appealing to the women.  Until the arrival of electricity, many of the homes were using acetylene gas generators, and of course oil lamps.  The town’s gas street lamps had to be lit one-at-a-time by hand, and it was someone’s task to do so each evening at dusk.   One article pointed out that the wiring of a house could be done for $30-$40 dollars while an acetylene generator would cost $200-$300 dollars and even after it was installed it required maintenance and actually cost more to operate and give less light than the electricity.

On October 1921, wire was being stretched and poles were being set in the town of Union, and people were urged to proceed with house wiring so that when the current was available, the power company would have enough customers to keep the individual cost down.   The final stages were slowed by winter and a few difficult times with obtaining right-of-way, but finally the day had arrived and the lights came on in the town of Union.

It was announced in the Monroe Watchman …..Albert Sidney Johnston, editor, wrote:  For the first time ever in history, the old county seat village of Union was lighted by electricity last Thursday night, April 13, 1922.  On the afternoon of that day, the electric current was switched on at the Virginia Western Power Company substation on this side of Fort Spring and sent its potentialities across the country side.  At night every house which had been wired and made ready for the vibrant visitor was bright with its radiance.  Fort Spring was aglow.  Sinks Grove took up the wondrous trail and Union heard and obeyed the command:  “Arise, Shine, for thy light is come.”


Excerpts taken from an article in The Monroe Watchman of 1998

Written by Jay Banks                         Picture submitted by Bob Pomphrey