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Charles Strait collection of electrical power company records and photographs

Identifier: MSS-120

Scope and Contents

This collection contains various documents, maps, photographs, and negatives pertinent to American Gas & Electric Company and the Indiana General Service Company from 1884 to 1978.


  • Creation: 1884-1978

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note / Historical Note / Administrative History

Charles Strait is a Muncie native who joined Indiana & Michigan Electric Company as a lineman in the late 1940s, working for the company until his retirement in the 1980s. While employed by I&M, Mr. Strait rescued a large group of photographs documenting the company's history from a trash container and returned them to the I&M administration. When the company moved out of its old building in the early 1980s, Strait again rescued the same photographs from the trash and this time he donated them to Archives & Special Collections.

Wiley W. (Bill) Spurgeon, in his book Muncie & Delaware County: An Illustrated Retrospective writes that Muncie's first electric light plant was built at the instigation of James Boyce, early Muncie businessman, and others in the 1880s. The first plant, called Muncie Electric Light Company, was located at Howard and Elm Street. In 1901 the plant was moved to Walnut and Gilbert Street, and in 1904, was sold to the Electric Company of America. Activity increased at the local plant in the years 1905 and 1906 as the natural gas deposits in the county failed rapidly and businesses found it necessary to look for some other type of fuel for industrial use. In January, 1907, the company again reorganized under the name of the American Gas and Electric Company. By 1908, demand for electric current grew so fast that larger generators and larger 2300-volt feeders had to be installed and two sub-stations were created, one located at Ball Brothers Glass Mfg. Company on Macedonia Avenue and the other at Muncie Products, on Sampson Avenue. American Gas and Electric Company also owned plants in Marion, Hartford City and Elwood, Indiana. In 1918, the various plants were combined under the name of Indiana General Service Company. In the early 1950s, the company changed names again, becoming Indiana & Michigan Electric Co. It carried that name until Mr. Strait's retirement. The North Walnut Street plant was razed in the 1960s.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 box records, 2 oversize folders, 4 boxes photographs, 3 boxes negatives, 2 maps)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: American gas and electric company records, 1929-1931

Series 2: Indiana general service company records, 1884-1953

Series 3: Indiana & Michigan electric company records, 1955-1960

Series 4: Charles Strait oversize materials, 1965

Series 5: Charles Strait maps, 1964-1965

Series 6: Charles Strait photographs, 1909-1978

Series 7: Charles Strait negatives, 1900-1970

Series 8: Charles Strait copy negatives, 1900-1970

Series 9: Charles Strait oversize photographs, circa 1900-1920

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Charles Strait on 1990/10/09.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1994/04/07 by J. Richards. EAD finding aid created 2012/10/05 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid revised 2013/08/02 by Leslie Nellis.

Charles Strait collection of electrical power company records and photographs
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA