Where everything began
Between 1901 and 1910, Brazil reached the milestone of 7,835,940 bags of coffee exported abroad. With 56.95% of national exports, coffee was, without doubt, the GREEN GOLD of the country. The Piraju region followed the same path of national development and, in 1901, already had an estimated coffee crop of 75,000 bag's of coffee. In 1905, this avant-garde stage attended the inauguration of piped water network, sewerage and telephone. In 1906, it started the operation of the railway station, and in 1913 was the introduction of electric trams. In the past century, the importance of the city of Piraju produced the influence of names in the state policy, including the General Ataliba Leonel. At that time, politicians and coffee farmers brought several improvements to the region, such as the train station, whose project was signed by the architect Ramos de Azevedo, the greatest expression.of Brazilian architecture in the beginning of last centuary. In 1913, to crown this golden age, the city received the visit of US President Theodore Roosevelt. Hydroelectric plants have been present markedly throughout the history of the city. The use of its energy potential started already in the first decade of the 20th century. To answer a coffee growing economy in 1913 began operating the Usina Boa Vista, Fazenda Santa Maria. This unit provided including energy for a tram line with 26 kilometeis long, between the extension of Sorocabana and Sarutaia, through the city streets. It is noteworthy that the city of Piraju received electric energy a year before the Federal capital of Rio de Janeiro.
In 1911 the Caisse Générale de Prêts Fonciers et Industriels of France raised funds to build an alectric tramway from the railroad station to the town and beyond Piraju into the rich coffee farmland.
In 1912, Eduardo Guinle & Cia of Rio de Janeiro, agent for U.S. General Eletric, ordered eight rail vehicles for Piraju from J. G. Brill Co. in Philadelphia. With a remote location and a population estimated in 4,000 people, the picturesque little town of Piraju was the second-smallest city in Brazil to have an electric tramway and rural tramway lines.
Bromber, Hacker & Cia of São Paulo, an agent for Siemens-Schuckertwerke of Berlin, installed a Power plant at Boa Vista, 15 km West of the city, with capacity of 800 kW which still lights the city today.
The U.S President Thedore Roosevelt visited his son Kermit Roosevelt in Piraju in October 1913 and both left the area soon after, long before the tramway opened.
The bridge that the tramway used to cross the river was built by the Anglo-Brazilian Iron Company under the supervision of Kermit Roosevelt, son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. The tramway bridge was also used by pedestrians, animals and others vehicles, for there was no other way to cross the Paranapanema River.
In 1925 began the construction of the dam of the future HPP Paranapanema of Piraju.
In 1936 the construction of the dam was completed, and the Bridge Nelson Godoy Pereira, the city's main postcard, was inaugurated. At that time two generators of 2.4 MW each started operating.