January 20, 2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of Harlan Municipal Utilities. The electric and water divisions of the utilities were established by public vote on January 20, 1891.
Doug Hammer, Director of Marketing and Stakeholder relations at HMU said, “We are incredibly proud of this historic milestone. One hundred and twenty five years ago, the residents of Harlan saw how this wondrous new phenomena called electricity would help spur commerce, draw news business and overall contribute to the well‐being of the town and its residents. They were not going to just sit and wait for another provider to show up and offer service, they took the initiative to build and run their own light plant.
Hammer continued, “A limited water service via a public well had been in place for about 10 years and service was mostly for fighting fires down town. At the same election that established the electric utility, the public also voted to establish a water works utility to oversee and expand the water system.”
“As we look back and read the history of HMU, one becomes very grateful for the vision and bold action of the voters in 1891. They took a real risk but one that has paid dividends to the citizens of Harlan for the last 125 years. Harlan and HMU have grown and grown up together. We ask our customers and the town of Harlan to join us in celebration of our anniversary all through 2016.”
HMU began providing natural gas in 1954. The telecommunications division was established by public vote in 1995 making HMU one the few providers in Iowa that offer all four services.