A Brief History of Amicalola EMC
On May 11, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Administration Act to bring electricity to rural America. Four years later, on December 12, 1939, nine rural electric pioneers met next door to the Pickens County Courthouse to form a new electric membership corporation (EMC) to serve areas in Gilmer, Pickens, Cherokee, Dawson and Lumpkin Counties. Because of this action and the dedication of these local leaders, Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation was born on February 10, 1940.
Nine directors met on February 24, 1940 in the office of A.C. Moore, Pickens County Agent, to adopt bylaws, to act upon application for membership and to elect officers. Steve Tate was elected as the first President of the Amicalola EMC Board of Directors. He would later become the first president of our national organization, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) sent notification of the first allocation of funds ($332,000) on August 14, 1940; the first electrification for Pickens, Gilmer and Cherokee Counties, twenty-five miles of power lines and ninety members came in late April 1941.
Amicalola EMC’s first annual meeting was held on July 26, 1941 in Jasper. Approximately three thousand people attended, consuming 2,400 pounds of barbecue and six barrels of lemonade. Attendees for the first meeting of members included Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge, Senator Richard Russell, Congressman Frank Welchel and State Attorney General (and later governor) Ellis Arnold.
A 1948 survey revealed that only 800 homes in the Amicalola EMC service area needed electric service. Two years later power was available to everyone in the region.
Plans for a headquarters office were made as soon as the Co-op was formed. Land for the building was bought in Jasper in 1949 with the complex being built and opened in March of 1953. This location would be the permanent location for Amicalola EMC until November, 1984 when a new headquarters facility would be constructed on Highway 515 South of Jasper. In addition to the headquarters office, Amicalola EMC also has two district offices located in Ellijay and Dahlonega.
Over time, forty-two electric distribution cooperatives were created in Georgia, the first in 1936 and the last in 1948. These cooperatives now serve close to three million consumers in 73 percent of the state’s land area.
Today, Amicalola EMC provides electricity through 5,281 miles of line to approximately 37,367 members which have approximately 45,377 meters.