Created By: Coleman Memorial Museum
Ellendale Power Plant
Electric power in Ellendale is so constant and reliable that most residents hardly give it a thought. Prior to 1914, however, Ellendale had no central source of electricity. Some businesses, and the State Normal & Industrial School, had their own small generating plants, and some of these ran wires to neighboring businesses to supply lighting needs. When Ellendale city fathers decided in 1906 to install a new street lighting system, they chose gas lighting, and the most populous streets were laid with acetylene gas lines, fed by an acetylene production plant at the west end of town.
In 1914, however, Ellendale gained its first real electrical generating plant. Demand for power grew rapidly as customers utilized more and more appliances, and the plant was enlarged several times. In 1935, ownership of the generating plant and distribution lines was consolidated under an entity called Dakota Public Service Company. In 1945, MDU (Montana-Dakota Utilities) took ownership of the system, and built a new plant, which was finished in 1947. The new plant provided more than enough power for the town, which grew rapidly following World War II.
In the next two decades, Ellendale was tied in to three long-distance power lines, and the need for a local generation plant diminished. The power plant, which is visible in the foreground of the photograph here, was decommissioned in the early 1960s.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Ellendale - Tour of the Core City