Playing ‘What if’ can be pleasant pasttime

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2015

Have you ever thought about people and places and how they might affect your life?

I have often wondered what would be the outcome if the L&N Railroad had never been built in this area. It opened up this area to a means of shipping and receiving from all parts of our country.

Then, there was this capable and smart young man from Tennessee. His name was E.L. More and he was president of the A&F Division of the L&N. He came to oversee the construction of the rails. While here, he saw an opportunity in sawmilling and eventually built one of the most modern, large sawmills in the area. It was known as the Horse Shoe Lumber Co. The big question for us today is what if E.L. More and his associate Cyrus O’Neal had not built the two hydro facilities at Gantt and Point A? There are those amount us who believe More and O’Neal took a giant, magic step forward in building the dams and providing low-cost electricity to a developing industrial area. The hydro facilities that are still operating today might not be there had it not been for these two individuals with foresight. Even the 1929 flood erased their dreams and further delayed their efforts, but their successors rebuilt the dams and re-started generation of current. Even today, as you cross the bridge in River Falls it is easy to see the river running rapidly if they are generating current. I am glad their efforts back then were an effort in the right direction. Without their efforts, the old Alabama Electric Co-Op might have gone elsewhere to open their headquarters. Without the very generous payroll through the years, and even now without PowerSouth, Andalusia would be a different place. I know we are proud things turned out as they did. Needless to say, playing “What If?” is a pleasant pastime.

One interesting sidelight is the turbines that generate the current have lasted over many years. One went out in the 80s, and another has just recently gone bad. Estimates are the cost of renewing one will be in excess of $250,000. They will have to do the work in the power house, as part of the turbine is not removable. The turbines are used every ay t here is water to turn them. The federal government regulates the water level in the lake. And they utilize the turbines and generate current when they can.

G. Sidney Waits

Andalusia Newspapers, Inc.