The Entergy story began with a pile of sawdust and a handshake. The sawdust belonged to H. H. Foster, president of the Arkansas Land and Lumber Company. The handshake was between Foster and Harvey Couch, president of Arkansas Power Company.
Couch was an entrepreneur who lived in Arkansas at the turn of the 20th century. He invested in a phone company, radio station, railroad and his biggest success, an electric power company. On Nov. 13, 1913, with a $500,000 line of credit and a franchise to provide electricity to the Arkansas towns Malvern and Arkadelphia, Couch shook hands with H. H. Foster for his sawdust. Couch would use sawdust from Foster’s lumber company as fuel to generate electricity for his power company. It was a new beginning for Harvey Couch and electric service in the state.
Couch’s ultimate goal was to have an integrated electric system with numerous sources of power at a reasonable price. Service reliability was foremost on his mind. He knew if he could provide a reliable product at a good price he would succeed. With the fuel source secured, Couch began work on electrifying the state.