In August 1939, during the administration of Mayor J. R. Taylor, the City of McMinnville purchased holdings of the Tennessee Electric Power Company in Warren, DeKalb, Van Buren and parts of Cannon and Wilson counties. This was the birth of McMinnville Electric System (MES).In organizing MES, the mayor and board of aldermen created a power board that would oversee the system and named Clyde C. Winders superintendent in charge of service operations. The purchase price was $403,000 and McMinnville issued $450,000 in revenue bonds to finance the 1939 purchase. When the system began, it was serving 3,211 customers with approximately 200 miles of line. During the 1939-40 fiscal year, MES purchased 6,967,980 kilowatt hours of power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at a cost of $37,362.29. The newly founded system served a large area of Middle Tennessee including Spencer, Sparta, Smithville, Liberty, Dowelltown and Auburntown. When Caney Fork Electric Cooperative was formed in 1942 to serve the rural areas and small communities all of these became Caney Fork customers except Smithville and Sparta.
In 1952, McMinnville Electric System moved into the new modern facility that had been constructed on Morford Street. This building was a beautiful addition to the City of McMinnville.
When the City of McMinnville celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1960, McMinnville Electric System was a mere 21 years old. Yet, the system was free of any long-term indebtedness. During FY '59-60, MES purchased 106,120,400 kilowatt-hours of electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority at a price of $473,538.56 to serve the areas of McMinnville, Sparta and Smithville. The system at that time had 173 miles of line. At the end of 1960, the City of Sparta exercised its option to assume ownership of the system's holdings there. Fiscal year 1969 saw MES for the last time include the City of Smithville in its count of electric customers as they began their own municipal distributorship. READ MORE