SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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Municipal Light: 1940

Municipal Light: 1940

September 1940. "Derelict lighting plant in Silverton, Colorado." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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A Town Without Municipal Taxes

A Town Without Municipal Taxes
The American City, Volume 7, July-December 1912

Silverton, Colorado, a thriving town of nearly 3,000 people, at an altitude of over 9,000 feet, has the distinction of being one of the very few municipalities in the United States where no city tax is levied. The running expenses are paid from the income of the water and light systems, both owned and operated by the municipality, and from various licenses.

The town owns its teams, sprinklers and wagons, and has recently completed and entirely paid for a handsome city hall costing $55,000. In this building there is sufficient room for all the city offices, court room, assembly room and fire apparatus.

The successful operation of municipally owned public utilities in Silverton extends over a period of nine years.

For electric current the rate to very small consumers is 7½ cents net per k.w. hour, and to large consumers a little over 5 cents net. The water rates vary for different classes of users. A one-family residence of four rooms pays $8 per annum, with $1 extra for each additional room; or the consumer may install a meter at his own expense, the rental varying from 45 cents to 10 cents per thousand gallons, with a minimum charge of $20 per year. All water bills are subject to a 15 per cent discount if paid by the 5th day of the month.


A few miles from our home is the village of Boalsburg, Pa. The community has preserved its "Lighthouse," which contained a waterwheel that supplied Direct Current to all the structures in the village. When the Lighthouse operator awoke and activated the wheel, all the lights came on. And when he decided it was time for bed, he shut down the wheel and the town went dark. Some progress has been achieved in this field in the past century-plus.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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