80 Years of Power, People and Progress

In the 1930s, big cities in Texas had already enjoyed the benefits of electricity for several decades. The rural towns, however, were still in the dark. In 1939, all that changed when the electric cooperative that would become Bluebonnet brought power to the farms, ranches and communities across Central Texas.

BLUEBONNET TIMELINE: The path of power in Central Texas

To celebrate our 80th anniversary, in 2019, we featured a number of articles to share our story of 80 years of power, people and progress. Click on the links below to read more.




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Feb. 9, 1935 — Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) moves to complete dam at Lake Buchanan and to build a dam on Lake Travis for flood control and electric generation.
May 11, 1935 — President Franklin Roosevelt signs executive order creating Rural Electrification Administration (REA).
March 1936 — Bartlett Electric Cooperative energizes 59 miles of line to provide power to 110 farm homes. It becomes first REA project in the nation to turn on electricity.
Aug. 2, 1939 — Lower Colorado River Electric Cooperative (LCREC, later renamed Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative) receives state charter to provide electricity to residents in Washington, Fayette, Austin, Lee, Bastrop, Travis, Williamson, Caldwell, Hays and Guadalupe counties. 
Aug. 3, 1939 — LCREC Board of Directors holds its first meeting in Austin and elects C.A. McEachern of Travis County as Board president.
March 4, 1940 — Agreement is reached for LCRA to sell the LCREC rural transmission and distribution lines acquired from Texas Power and Light Co. 
Sept. 6, 1940 — LCREC reports 646 miles of line built and 1,468 members connected after paying $5 membership fees. 
November 1940 — New headquarters building for LCREC opens in Giddings.
May 1942 — LCRA completes Mansfield Dam on Lake Travis.
January 1946 — After a near stoppage in new line construction during World War II, REA approves $250,000 loan to LCREC to construct 300 miles of rural lines.
1950s – 1970s
1951 — Wirtz and Starcke dams completed above Lake Travis.
June 1958 — First youth leadership students from LCREC membership travel to Washington, D.C., for annual Government-in-Action Youth Tour.
Jan. 1, 1965 — LCREC name is changed to Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. Bluebonnet reports 16,337 members in 11 counties and 55 employees.
1978 — Bluebonnet and Pedernales Electric Cooperative end long-running agreements under which LCRA managed the co-ops' daily operations.
1980s – Today
January 2003 — Former LCRA General Manager Mark Rose is selected as general manager of Bluebonnet.
2007 — Bluebonnet, with a total of about 270 full-time employees, opens new headquarters in Bastrop County.
2012 — Energy-efficient demonstration house opens on Bluebonnet’s Service Center campus in Brenham.
2013 — Economic and population growth in Bluebonnet service area reflected by 84,000+ meters and 11,000 miles of line.