Milwaukee County Utilities

Wisconsin Electric Power Company

The power company of Wisconsin began around 1860 when the first streetcar was introduced in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company as it was first known, was organized in January 1896. Through the years it purchased many properties and companies that either comprised the urban transporation system or electric utility properties in the city of Milwaukee and surrounding areas.

In August, 1920 a company called the Wisconsin Electric Power Company was organized. This company owned the Lakeside generating station and leased it to the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company. In October, 1938 the two companies merged into the new Wisconsin Electric Power Company. The new company furnished electric service in Milwaukee and other communities in southeastern Wisconsin.

Presidents of the company since January 1896

Jan. 1896-Feb. 1902 William Nelson Cromwell
Feb. 1902-Apr. 1911 John I. Beggs
Apr. 1911-May 1912 James Campbell
May, 1912-May 1920 James d. Mortimer
May 1920-Oct. 1925 John I. Beggs
Oct. 1925-Sept. 1946 Sylvester B. Way (died in 1946)

Milwaukee Gas Light Company

In August 1851, four lots were purchased on the corner of Menominee and Jefferson streets for the construction of a gas plant. Gas lighting began in Milwaukee under the legislative act of January 3, 1852. Milwaukee Gas Light Company was incorporated January 12, 1852. In the spring of 1852, the gas plants were constructed.

William Pitt Lynde
John Lockwood
James H. Rogers
David B. Hull
James Kneeland

Presidents of the company since Jan. 1852
Dates are date of their election

Jan. 5, 1852 James Kneeland
May 10, 1852 James H. Rogers
July 7, 1853 Hans Crocker
Feb. 7, 1854 Eliphalet Cramer
July 4, 1870 Asahel Finch
Jan. 7, 1884 H.H. Button
July 7, 1890 John L. Mitchell
July 3, 1893 Emerson McMillian of New York
July 6, 1910 Alanson P. Lathrop
Feb. 7, 1927 R.B. Brown
Mar. 20, 1939 Bruno Rahn

General Managers from the period July 3, 1893-July 6, 1910
Edward G. Cowdery, July 3, 1893
E.G. Pratt, March 31, 1903
Sheldon J. Glass, April 18, 1906
R.B. Brown, Feb 25, 1913
Bruno Rah,, Feb. 9, 1932

Wisconsin Telephone Company

Telephone usage in Milwaukee was first established in 1877, a year after the invention of the telephone.  Telephone service came in May 1879 when Milwaukee's first commercial telephone exchange was established.  It served about 40 subscribers.

On July 7, 1882, the Milwaukee Telephone Exchange Company was reorganized and incorporated as the Wisconsin Telephone company.  17 exchanges served a total of 1798 telephones in Wisconsin, 744 of those were in Milwaukee.

By 1890 the company was serving 5978 telephones and in 1900 the number increased to about 20,000.  By 1944 the number increased to 472,500 telephones, operating from 113 central offices located in 92 Wisocnsin communities.

Presidents of the Wisconsin Telephone Company
Charles Haskins 1877-1889
Henry C. Payne, 1889-1899
Charles J. Glidden, 1899-1901
Philip Dexter, 1901-1902
Alonzo Burt, 1902-1911
Bernard E. Sunny, 1911-1922
Willia Robbins McGovern, 1922-1945
Frank M. Stevens-1945-?  a native of Prescott, AZ, operating Vice President of the Ohio Bell Telephone company.