George E. Turner Power Plant

In 1926 Florida Public Service built a power plant in Enterprise to provide electrical service locally and as far away as DeLand. At the time, it had only one unit and was known as the Benson Springs Power Plant. After World War II, FPS merged with other interests to become the Florida Power Company, and two more units were added.

In the early years, according to longtime residents, the plant actually shut down at night since there was not enough demand for service during those hours. The Ox Fiber Brush Company in Benson Springs Junction was a major client at a time when current was supplied to customers countywide.

In Depression times, residential light bills might average $1 or $2 per month, and refrigerators had not yet replaced the family icebox which was supplied by ice plants in DeLand or Sanford. Wages of $1.20 to $1.50 a day were common for plant employees, and only two or three men were needed to run the plant all day. The plant was a major employer in Enterprise for many years, supplying small houses for workers who also lived in the area. Ryan’s Store was originally one of those plant built houses which was moved from another location.

Eventually, the plant was expanded to meet the demands of an increasing population after the war, and was named the George E. Turner Plant in honor of a Florida Power Company official. Presently owned by Progress Energy, the plant has been decommissioned and is no longer in use.

(Thanks to Wilbur Bruce and William Padgett, longtime employees of the then George E. Turner Plant, for this information.)

 

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