REA begins bringing electricity to rural Texas

March 9th, 1936

On this day in 1936, a fifty-eight-mile power line near Bartlett, Texas, was energized, according to some sources the first in the nation under the Rural Electrification Administration. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt began the REA in May 1935, only about 2 percent of the farms in Texas (and only about 10 percent nationally) had electricity. The REA was originally intended to be a large-scale depression relief agency like the Work Projects Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, but became a lending agency instead with the passage of legislation cosponsored by Sam Rayburn. The $33,000 loan to a group of farmers at Bartlett was one of the first ten loans made by the REA. The REA had an incalculable impact on life in rural Texas, especially in the Panhandle, which had become something of a proving ground for New Deal programs thanks to the influence of Marvin Jones, chairman of the House Agricultural Committee. The REA first brought electric power to the rural Panhandle in Deaf Smith County in 1937. By 1965, instead of only 2 percent of Texas farms with electricity, there were only 2 percent without electricity.

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REA begins bringing electricity to rural Texas

March 9th, 1936

On this day in 1936, a fifty-eight-mile power line near Bartlett, Texas, was energized, according to some sources the first in the nation under the Rural Electrification Administration. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt began the REA in May 1935, only about 2 percent of the farms in Texas (and only about 10 percent nationally) had electricity. The REA was originally intended to be a large-scale depression relief agency like the Work Projects Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, but became a lending agency instead with the passage of legislation cosponsored by Sam Rayburn. The $33,000 loan to a group of farmers at Bartlett was one of the first ten loans made by the REA. The REA had an incalculable impact on life in rural Texas, especially in the Panhandle, which had become something of a proving ground for New Deal programs thanks to the influence of Marvin Jones, chairman of the House Agricultural Committee. The REA first brought electric power to the rural Panhandle in Deaf Smith County in 1937. By 1965, instead of only 2 percent of Texas farms with electricity, there were only 2 percent without electricity.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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