The Jeffersontown Restoration Society was a program created by the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce in 1966. The Society, under the leadership of Chairman Peggy Weber, proposed a resolution to the City Council requesting that the owners of buildings in the town square be persuaded to remodel their storefronts to conform with Early American or Federal-style architecture. Part of this new look had to do with the fact that Peggy and her friend, Petra Williams, had recently discovered an original town gas lamp that had been buried under the steps of a local church for years. They convinced town leaders to purchase replica gaslights to line the newly remodeled town square, and Ozzy Oestringer set to work fashioning 26 of the old-style lamps.
To celebrate the town's new look, Peggy and Petra suggested that a festival be held on the town square. Although there is some confusion on dates, the first Gaslight Festival was held in either 1969 or 1970. The original event, however, took place in front of the J*town Shopping Center on Taylorsville Road, because Mayor Franklin Chambers did not want to mess up the newly remodeled square.