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Electric lights have adorned Detroit Lakes' Washington Avenue for more than a century

Electric power poles with street lights on them were added to Detroit Lakes' Washington Avenue in 1913. (Photo courtesy of Becker County Museum)

Detriot Lakes' first municipal power plant was purchased in 1902; by 1913, new electric poles with incandescent street lights attached to them had been installed on Washington Avenue. 

In September of 1955, a $100,768 contract was awarded to Tri-State Electric of Breckenridge for the installation of 144 new street lights on Washington Avenue and side streets in the city's commercial areas. A parade to celebrate the advent of Detroit Lakes' new fluorescent street lighting system was held on Nov. 25 of that year.

In 2015, LED lights were installed along Washington Avenue as well as McKinley Avenue and the Highway 59 roundabout at Willow Street. The new lights cost $125,000, about $15,000 more than the old high pressure sodium lights, but lasted three times as long and were much more energy efficient. They also burned about twice as brightly as the old light system.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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