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BECKWITH, CHARLES G.

BECKWITH, CHARLES G.

BECKWITH, CHARLES G. (19 Apr. 1870-26 (27) Sept. 1933) electrical engineer and expert in operation of municipal light plants, was born in Dowagiac, Michigan, the son of Edwin W. and Clara L. (Sullivan) Beckwith. The family moved to Cassopolis, Michigan where he graduated from high school, and took a special course at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Leaving the university in 1892, he built and operated a small municipal light plant in his home town, and was in charge of the Montpelier, Ohio light plant 1895-1900. Collinwood Village hired Beckwith to construct and operate a municipal light plant for them in 1900, and when Collinwood was annexed to Cleveland in 1910, he was employed by the city. In 1914, Beckwith, as superintendent of Cleveland's new Municipal Light plant at E. 53rd St. and Lakeshore, personally planned and supervised the installation of a modern system of street lighting which used tungsten lamps for the first time to create the effect of a great "White Way." He also became an expert in setting electric rates, crucial to the plant's operation since it was expected to sell current at a rate not to exceed $.03 per Kilowatt Hour. His expertise helped insure that Muny Light customers initially would pay less than half the rates charged by the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING COMPANY.

Beckwith married Belle N. Norton 19 February 1895 at Cassapolis and they adopted a son, Raymond N. Ellis. Beckwith died in Cleveland and was buried at his home town in Michigan.