Monadnock Moments No 47: Electricity Comes to Keene
It was more than 110 years ago, in June of 1886, that the Thompson-Houston Electric Company was granted a license to erect poles and run wires for Keene’s first electric light system. The first generator was located on Emerald Street and was supplying power for street and commercial lighting by August. The first electric street light was put into service on Roxbury Street on August 28, 1886.
The Keene Gas Light Company, which had provided gas lighting for the city since 1859, purchased the electric generating plant from the Thompson-Houston Company in November of 1886. The Keene Gas Light Company under the leadership of President John Henry Elliot, expanded the Emerald Street facilities and began to offer electricity among its services.
The conversion to electricity was gradual, with gas lighting remaining in use for many years. In 1908, the name of the Keene Gas Light Company was changed to Keene Gas and Electric Company. Two decades later, in 1926, the Company was merged with several other New Hampshire companies to form the Public Service Company of New Hampshire.