On December 14, 1883, a demonstration of a 15-lamp electric system astounded the denizens of Deadwood. Following the show, the Black Hills Daily Times reported that “The machine worked evenly and perfectly and the light was simply dazzling.” The demonstration was offered by Judge Squire P. Romans, who organized the Black Hills Electric Light Company of Deadwood.
December 1883 was the first month electric lights operated in Deadwood. At the time, the city had two power plants, one of which operated the railway between Deadwood and Lead. The other powered lights within the city.
After organizing the Black Hills Electric Light Company, Judge Romans secured the rights to put up and use electric lights in both Deadwood and Whitewood. By the next year, the electric company was able to power 50 incandescent arc lamps. The company was soon merged with Consolidated Power and Light, which then became Dakota Power and Light. After several additional mergers and transitions, the company became the Black Hills Corporation we know today.