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Public Buildings > Power
Electric and gas power for Gainesville citizens became available (sporadically) on August 25, 1887, when James W. Graham, F. W. Cole, and H. E. Taylor formed a company called Gainesville Electric & Gas. GE&G received a city franchise to distribute manufactured gas to individual homes; in exchange for the franchise, they agreed to furnish two electric lights on the Square and illuminate the city clock until midnight each night. Over the years, the service became more and more inadequate, and with the move of the University of Florida to Gainesville the situation became critical. In 1911 there was an argument over a $7.30 charge for the city's street lights. The city refused to pay, so the company turned off the lights-and the city cancelled the franchise. Many citizens wanted the city to go into the power business, and the City Council offered to buy the electric part of GE&G. The offer was rejected and the company threatened to shut the plant down. The city sued and won-this is reputed to be the first time a city sued to force a corporation to comply with its charge under a franchise. GE&G was forced to supply power to Gainesville until the city's new plant was ready. The new power plant, the result of that squabble, is shown in this photograph taken in 1912. This photograph was from the collection of Clarence O'Neill, long-time Gainesville City Clerk.
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