Electricity came to Lincolnton in 1903. My mother, Sally Baker Heavner, was only 7-years old and the memory of this was stamped in her brain.
Oscar Shuford was living and working in Gastonia when J.T. McLean Sr. and his alderman voted to ask Shuford to come back to Lincolnton and head their newly-formed electric department.
Shuford, or Oscar, as he was called, began wiring the town. The first house to be wired was number 208, which is now 320 S. Cedar St. This was the home of E.C. and Mary Cline Baker and their daughter, Sallie Baker.
E.C. was a furniture dealer and undertaker for this area. When he signed the wiring agreement, the city agreed to replace the ornamental oil chandelier with an electric one.*
With the wiring complete, all the fixtures hung and the power connected, it was time to announce the lighting. On a cool, clear evening in 1903, a gathering of the populace of Lincolnton took place. My mother related the following:
â€œThe dirt sidewalks and dirt streets were filled with people. My father, mother and I were standing on the porch,â€ she said. â€œThe electrician went from room to room turning on the lights.â€
According to my mother, there was a collective gasp from the crowd. Some thought the house would catch fire, but they were wrong. There was no fire; instead, there were no more dim oil lamps or candles, just illumination.
A new era had begun.
David C. Heavner is truly one of Lincolntonâ€™s treasures whose writings grace the pages of the Lincoln Times-News.
by David Heavner