Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

The Electrification of Daggett County


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The Electrification of Daggett County


Daggett County, home to the hydro-electric juggernaut Flaming Gorge Dam, did not receive electricity until well into the 20th century.

Though it is now home to the hydro-electric juggernaut, the Flaming Gorge Dam, Daggett County, in the northeastern frontier of Utah, did not receive electricity until well into the 20th Century. Portions of the county were first electrified during the Great Depression. Electricity powered Civilian Conservation Corp camps. The crews in the CCC camps worked throughout Daggett County building parks, water systems, roads, streets, and other civic improvements.

However, the first public electricity came to the City of Manila during the 1930s from a diesel generator in the garage of Nels Philbrick. Philbrick used the generator to run his garages machinery. Electrical wires were strung from Philbrick’s generator to power the nearby Manila school. At that time, there were only 411 people in the entire county.

Daggett County was not truly electrified until the 1950s when the area became a project for the Rural Electrification Administration. The REA crossed the county with electrical power. Daggett County had become part of the electric age. Shortly thereafter Daggett County became home to the Flaming Gorge Dam. The first of three hydro-electric generators for the dam went into service on September 17, 1963 when then President John F. Kennedy threw a switch in Salt Lake City bringing the generator online. From 1963 to 2005, the generators at the Flaming Gorge Dam have produced 344,369,058 kWh worth of power.


Nicholas Demas for Utah Humanities © 2008


Image: Moon Lake Electric Power Line. Wasatch Line Construction Company employees string wire on poles along the Moon Lake Electric power line in the Flaming Gorge construction area. October 23, 1958. Courtesy of Uintah County Library. 

See Johnson, Michael W. Daggett County; U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. “Flaming Gorge Power Plant.” 28 December 2005.


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