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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: August 15, 2003

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
1965 (Great Northeast Blackout)

In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
I was living in an orphanage in Rochester, New York, called Hillside Children's Center. I was in the middle boys cottage called "Sunnyside." Sunnyside held 12 boys ages 11 to about 14 or 15, along with a housemother and an assistant housemother/cook. The housemother was Mrs. Sophie Grock. We had finished supper when the lights in the great room -- a large living room -- dimmed and we could see the lights on the opposite hilltop at Cobb's Hill Park dim and then brighten and then slowly dim to dark. This took about 45 secomds. We broke out candles and flashlights and eventually went to bed early. I was 14 at the time.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Electro-mechanical failure in grid.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Poor planning to allow quick load shedding and grid disconnects so as to isolate the fault without knocking other systems offline.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1965 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
Because it was so widespread.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
None. Rochester was and is not an Edison City.

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
No

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
No

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #227, The Blackout History Project, 15 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/227/>.
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