Levi C. Stang scrapbook1911-1945
Levi C. Stang (1890-1962) was an electrical engineer and general manager of several electric companies throughout the Midwest. His scrapbook chronicles his career and employment as an electrical engineer through selected letters and correspondence, newspaper and other clippings, blueprints, and photographs.
Levi C. Stang (1890-1962) was an electrical engineer and general manager of several electric companies throughout the Midwest. Born in 1890 in Remsen, Iowa, Stang attended Iowa State College and in 1912 received a degree in Electrical Engineering. In June 1912, he enrolled in a Graduate Engineers’ Course with Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, completing the course by February 1913. Stang then returned to his home state of Iowa, where he received a position in the Commercial Department of the Des Moines Electric Company handling customers’ orders, complaints, and advertising matters. On August 1, 1913, he was transferred to the Engineering Department, where he was principally responsible for the design of distribution and transmission lines, meter department standards, and the construction of power station additions.
After three years with the Des Moines Electric Company, Stang received a position as Squad Leader in the electrical drafting room at Sargent & Lundy, mechanical and electrical engineers based in Chicago. One of his major projects was supervising the installation of a new generating plant in Cincinnati. Stang’s tenure with the Chicago firm, however, was short-lived. After the United States’ entrance into World War I, Stang was drafted into service with the U.S. Army in October 1917. He first reported for duty at Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois, before being transferred at his request to the Chlorine Gas Division of the Edgewood Arsenal in Harford County, Maryland, on July 1, 1918. With years of experience in electrical engineering, Stang was given the rank of Master Engineer, Senior Grade, and given charge of the electrical equipment of the Arsenal’s Chlorine Division. Within a month of his service at Edgewood, Stang was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant and the division became part of the Chemical Warfare Service. After his satisfactory performance, Stang received an honorable discharge on January 10, 1919.
Less than a month following his discharge from the Army, Stang received the position of Superintendent of the Light and Power Division of the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Company in Marion, Ohio. One of his major accomplishments was the successful construction and operation of the Scioto Power Station, built in 1926 along the Scioto River about twelve miles south of Columbus. In 1929, Stang was elected vice president and general manager of the company, a position in which he remained for another four years. In January 1931, the United Gas Improvement Company transferred its control of the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Company to the National Electric Power Company, a public utilities holding company controlled by Samuel Insull, a Chicago investor notorious for buying up electric railways and power companies throughout the Midwest.
By mid-1931, the discontinuance of the connecting interurban street railway line to Cleveland severely hurt the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Co.’s profits. Furthermore, the Insull interests – reeling from the effects of the Great Depression – attempted to enlarge and combine their Ohio properties, and in December 1931 attempted to sell off the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Co. to the Ohio Electric Power Company, which was ultimately rescinded. By February 1932, the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Company was controlled by the Utility Service Corporation. Stang temporarily remained vice president in charge of operations; however, by February 1933, the company continued to experience a significant decrease in revenue from interurban operations, and withdrew from the electric railway business to focus on the production and distribution of electricity. Under indefinite circumstances, Stang left his employment at the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Company in March 1933.
Over the next few years, Stang took on miscellaneous industrial jobs around Marion before receiving a position as Field Engineer for the New York firm of Sanderson & Porter. He spent the majority of his time assisting with additions to the West Penn Power Co.’s Springdale Power Station. After facing unemployment for about five months in 1939, Stang spent a year as assistant engineer for Sargent & Lundy before becoming Chief Engineer of the Indianapolis Power & Light Company’s C. C. Power Plant in 1941. Stang remained in Indianapolis until his death in 1962.
Scope and Content
Levi C. Stang’s scrapbook chronicles his career and employment as an electrical engineer through selected letters and correspondence, newspaper and other clippings, blueprints, and photographs. Additionally, the scrapbook provides insight into the growth and evolution of the Midwest’s electric power industry in the early-to-mid twentieth century, and offers a case study in career and professional job growth.
Each phase of Stang’s career is documented chronologically throughout. Record of his early career is largely accompanied by photographs depicting various projects he worked on or supervised. Included from his time in the Engineering Department at the Des Moines Electric Company, for example, are photographs showing the construction progress of a boiler room addition to the company’s power plant along the Des Moines River in 1914. There are also photographs showing the exterior of the Edison Building in Chicago, which housed the offices of Sargent & Lundy, and some depicting both the external and internal operations of the Chlorine Division at Edgewood Arsenal in 1918.
Each transition to another job includes reference letters retained from previous employers, which give insight into Stang’s personal character, specific responsibilities, and achievements. Much of his time with the Columbus, Delaware and Marion Electric Company is documented through various newspaper clippings, and sheds light on the company’s purchase by the National Electric Company and its subsequent sale to the Ohio Electric Company. His career from 1939 onward is less documented and merely includes scant information on his time with the Indianapolis Power & Light Company, with contributions to the scrapbook ending in 1945.
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- Levi C. Stang scrapbook
- Clayton J. Ruminski
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