Modernizing Gaziantep began with the coming of electricity and running water

in pipes, and sometime after that the extension of the railroad.  Before all that had

happened, Gaziantep changed very slowly.

     I was about seven or eight years old when electricity came.  At the time I was

living at College Hill with my parents, Merrill and Mildred Isely.   The coming of

Electricity did not effect us there because the College was being closed down and

was not wired.  Before electricity came people mostly used kerosene lanterns and

a few pressure lanterns for more light.  It was still very exciting for me because the

German engineer who came to install the electric plant visited us most Sundays and

he rode a very large motorcycle.  Sometimes he took us children for rides on his

motorcycle.  My father took me around to see many things.

     The electric plant was built in its own large compound to allow room for the

storage of large piles of coal as well as the special ovens in which the coal was cooked

in order to make coal gas which was used to run the large engines.  There

were too large engines the size of small houses in an even larger building of their

own.  The engines were connected to generators.  I was told that the reason there

were two was because the engines needed to be worked on often.  One could be

shut down while the other made electricity.  There was a railed platform around

the top of each engine where workers could stand when adjusting the valves which

were located on top. 

     The other aspect of providing electricity was the installation of many poles on

the streets to carry the wires around the city to the houses and buildings.  While the

wires were being placed in the American Hospital I was allowed to watch the electrical

UST's putting wires in small pipes to protect them from being damaged.  These pipes went

everywhere electricity was wanted and, because they were added to existing buildings,
they were put on the surface of walls, not inside the walls.

There were small lengths of the pipes left over which I enjoyed playing with.  At

first the electricity was used just for lights and perhaps just one radio.  At the

hospital, electricity made it possible make it much more useful.  My father took

out an x-ray machine from storage and set it up in the clinic for the doctors to use.

Other medical electrical appliances were acquired to help the doctors and nurses

give better care.

     One of the big improvements was to convert two rooms in the hospital near the

kitchen, one to a refrigeration room and the other as a freezer room.  This was a

boon not only for preserving food but some medicines that required refrigeration.

The city had built an ice plant as well and people could have refrigeration in their

homes which was much more reliable than the packed snow that had been used

previously.  Ice was delivered regularly to the doctor's home for their icebox.

      To celebrate the coming of electricity, the first New Years, lights were strung

on the windmill, as were lights in other places around the city. Lights were also

put on many of the electric poles in the streets to make it safer to go about town in

the dark.  Electricity also began to be used for amusement.  Movie projectors were

obtained and I remember attend going to a movie at the Halk Eve to see a movie

about Shubert the great composer.  Later regular cinema houses came into being

and showed such things and serials of Buck Rogers and wild westerns.

     Clean water in pressure pipes was no doubt equally important to the modernization

of Gaziantep.  The evidence of construction was everywhere as the

streets were dug up, sometimes in trenches in the solid limestone.  At that time

the pipes used were case iron, joined together with hemp caulking backed by the

pouring of liquid lead. 

     The old water system had been by means of a gravity fed aqueduct that started

from a large spring near Sarakya, west of the city.  The aqueduct ran near the

surface of the ground past the Karakol at the Adana Road and then the Lisa.

When it go to the base of the first hill, the water was channeled into underground

tunnels cut into the solid limestone.  There must have been a number of branches

to feed the whole town with one branch going under the Girl's School compound

and then on to the American Hospital.  To get water, wells from the surface were

cut down to the tunnels and water was lifted by bucket.  Between the two

compounds there were probably six such wells.  One at the Girl's School compound

had a petrol engine for pumping water.  One at the hospital had a windmill.  Water

tanks located in the building attics provided storage for water.

     My father told me that the new pipe system got its water from the same place

but because of being in pressure pipe could be run up and down hills.  I think I

was also told that a storage reservoir was built at the castle hill.  The hospital was

on such high ground that the new system did not provide much pressure and I

believe the old system was kept for some time.  The windmill was moved to another

well and an electric pump was added to bring up more water.

     To celebrate the coming of electricity, at the first New Year, lights were strung

about the city, and I particularly remember the lights on the hospital windmill

because they could be seen from the college compound where I was still living at

the time.  We had an engine at the college that was used for grinding wheat and

we were able to put two light bulbs on our windmill, powered from the engine, to

join in the celebration.

     The railroad came to Gaziantep some years later after World War II and I am

sure in those days, before the new roads, that it was as important as the electricity

and the water in pressure pipes for the modernization of Gaziantep.  My parents

wrote to me about the railroad being built because at that time I had gone to the

United States to complete my education.  I have many fond memories of riding on

the Orient Express, and had first thought that would run right through Gaziantep

but that was not the case.  Perhaps when the railroads are revived in the future

a new connection will be built so that the Orient Express will go through Gaziantep.