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Lights on in Chester

A small white building with large store windows and a door way on the right. This small building was the office of Chester Electric on Duke Street in Chester. It has since been torn down and replaced with a modern residence

Electric Office Chester

In 1924 Hawboldt began to lobby for electicity in Chester. The power would come from the East River Falls property he and Cottnam Smith had purchased years earlier. He gained sufficient support for his plan and the Chester Light and Power Company was incorporated in 1924 by F.C. Hawbolt, Carrol Manning, J. Roy Hennigar, Harold Hilchie, Owen Zinck and Eugene Publicover.

A black and white photo showing the rounded roof of the generating station on the East River, with the river running from under the station. On the right of the generating station, a small house which was where the operator of the generating station lived with his family.

Generating station

The first officers of Chester Light and Power were Owen Zinck, President, with F.C. Hawboldt, C. Manning, J.R. Hennigar, and H. Hilchie as Directors. Shares sold at $100 each with no guarantee of interest or dividends. Work on the project was started after $16,000 worth of shares were sold.

A black and white photo showing the dam on the East River with the gates closed, the water swirling at the foot of the dam and then continuing down the river. On the bank to the right, two large pipes that carried the water to the generating station.

Pipe to generating station

A black and white photo showing the water rushing over the Chester Electric dam on the East River. The dam, constructed of concrete has the date 1919 on it.

Water running over the dam on the Little East River in 1922

Forman supervised the building of dams on the East River, construction of the power house and an on-site dwelling, as well as the installation of machinery. He also supervised the running of power lines throughout the Village, but many obstacles had to be overcome before the lights were switched on in 1925.

Chester Light and Power was purchased by the Avon River Power Company in 1929 and in the 1930’s became a subsidiary of Nova Scotia Light and Power.


“One night when Forman was driving from East River to Chester, the lights on his car went out because they had run out of oil. This meant that he could not see well and the road was narrow and winding. Suddenly out of the darkness he heard something coming toward him on the road. He couldn’t tell what it was but it jumped on to the hood of his car, then onto the back seat and jumped off the car. He received a cut on his forehead and was badly shaken up, but managed to reach home. There was much speculation about what the object was. A few days later he learned that a black horse had escaped from a barn in East Chester and run off down the road toward East River. When the horse was finally rounded up, the owner was puzzled about the horse’s injuries, which appeared to have been made by some sort of metal object. Forman, always thinking, put two and two together and realized that what had jumped up and through his car was the horse and not some sort of supernatural being.”


Carol Naus

Chester Municipal Heritage Society