The following story was taken from the book the Town that Coal Built
Following their marriage in 1902 Alva and Daisy (Feeny)Gordan operated a restaurant in the Talmage House Hotel. It was while operating the restaurant that Alva built and operated the first electric power plant in Rich Hill to supply electrinity to his restaurant and later to the business district of the city. Power operating the generators was supplied by gasoline engines. About 1910 he sold his franchise to the City of Rich Hill and was appointed Superintendent of the Water and Light Department of the City. He served the City in that capacity for 35 years, retiring in 1944.
Lee Gordon, who succeeded his father as Superintendent of the City Light and Water Dept., until the department was taken over by Missouri Public Service.
The next story was taken from the Wagon Wheel in 1979 By Mary Griffin
The Rich Hill Power and Light Plant produced all the electricity and furnished the water for the town. The minimum for electricity was $1.50 per month and $1.00 for water. The chief use for electricity was for lights as there were few appliances available. Even the radio was battery powered. It was not until the 1940's that washing machines and refrigerators came into general use. Both the power plant and the ice plant used coal to produce the energy they needed. Lee Gordon was the superintendent of the Power and Light Plant for several years.