Golden Power

March 28, 2020

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 6PM yesterday, there were 180 “confirmed, probable, or suspected or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 5 deaths and 24 are hospitalized. There are 16 known cases in Golden.


Golden Business News

10AM-2:30PM Grateful Bread is open this morning. They will be using a take-a-number system instead of asking people to wait in line. When you arrive, approach the door and take a number. One of the employees will stand in the parking lot, holding a white board showing the next number. (Innovative!) They will have focaccia, Belgian dark chocolate chip cookies, and dozens of their regular favorites.

4-9PM The Buffalo Rose is offering a nice selection of take-out food–appetizers, salads, burritos, hot sandwiches, kids menu, deserts…even adult beverages to go! Add a bottle of wine or a can of beer or cider to your dinner order. Place your order online or by phone (720-638-5597) and they will bring your meal to your car at the curb.

12-7PM Are you ready for some variety? Golden City Brewery is offering 4-paks with your choice of ten different beers, growler fills, and (here’s the variety part) flights-to-go! You choose the beers and they’ll fill five jars for you to take home and enjoy. (We’ve been enjoying their Social Prohibition Hazy New England IPA this week.) The Brewery’s take-out hours are 12-7PM Sat & Sun | 3-7PM Mon-Fri.


A Golden History Moment


Electric Poles on 15th Street, circa 1900
Click to Enlarge.

Golden has had electric power since 1887. M.T. Morrill was working as a schoolteacher in Georgetown in the 1880s, but was keenly interested in electrical power generation. As a sideline, he built the first electric light plant in Georgetown. When the time came for the City of Georgetown to contract for a larger scale plant, they gave the job to someone else. Georgetown’s loss was Golden’s gain. Morrill moved his equipment to Golden in 1887 and persuaded our City Council to allow him to illuminate our streets.. He and his wife both attended classes at the School of Mines to expand their engineering skills.

Upon receiving approval from the City in August of 1887, Morrill and his team immediately began sinking poles and stringing wires. By December of that year, we had lights on our principle streets and in some of the buildings. Opera House events became very bright, dazzling affairs.


Rate Card – Click to enlarge.

Morrill’s firm was called the Golden Illuminating Company because at that time, “illuminating” was seen as the main job of a power company–there were few other uses for electricity in 1887. Rates were determined by “Candle Power” and time of day. Customers purchased their lamps, fixtures, and cords from the power company.

Within a few years, other uses began to develop. Golden had an “electric steam laundry,” which was located right at the power plant. The Transcript acquired electric presses and became one of the company’s biggest customers. One of the downtown merchants (Nick Koenig) acquired an electric cigar lighter and that was a focus point of his advertising for months to follow.


Golden Illuminating Company on Jackson St., between 12th & 13th
From the 1893 Golden Globe Industrial Edition
Click to enlarge

The plant ran on steam, and so burned coal. The number and size of boilers increased as demand for electricity increased. Imagine having a coal-burning power station half a block east of Washington Avenue! Over the years, the possibility of using water power was discussed, but water was so precious that people didn’t like the idea of allowing anything to interfere with the flow of water to Golden. In about 1906, the Golden Illuminating Company began buying its power from a Denver firm and was able to stop generating it on Jackson St.

In 1903, the City renewed its contract with the Golden Illuminating Company, effectively granting Morrill a monopoly on electric lighting in the Golden area. The arrangement was mutually beneficial. With continuous equipment upgrades, the company was able to reduce the cost to consumers by 20% in 1907.

Morrill sold the company in 1915 and died two years later. He is buried in the Golden Cemetery.


Many thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and many thanks to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!