An Iowa team of high school students takes first place honors in the National History Day National Contest for Junior Group Documentary, “Rural Electrification: Breaking Barriers with the Flip of a Switch.” This documentary was created by Addision Naslund, Ben Philips, Hayden Wahlberg, Josie Jacobs and Lainey Schuknecht of Akron Westfield Middle School.
Electricity was common in most U.S. cities and towns by the early 1900s. However, in 1923, 97 percent of the six million farm families in America were still in the dark. Remote locations and the expense of installing electricity created a barrier that left rural America behind. The Rural Electrification Administration was created in 1935 to provide loans and expertise to farmers who organized thousands of rural electric cooperatives. These cooperatives broke numerous technological and cultural barriers to bring electric service to homes and farms in rural America. Nearly 98 percent of U.S. farms received electric service within 30 years.