F Mananing. History of Wood River
Wood River Startled Nation With Population Increase Back in 1820, the headlines of a nation told the story of Wood River. A population of 4038.1 percent in 10 years was broadcast to the nation and that a tovn, from nothing, had .become the •center of one of the nation's finest industrial district In 10 years. The population In 1810 had been 84 and In 1920 it was 3476. To-, day it is close to 7000. A mushroom growth? No, because Wood River, which gained so tremendously in the 10-year period from 1910 to 1920 did not cease to would invade the hills, close to two great rivers, It is the center of the vast Alton Industrial District, the chief city of four that comprise an industrial district excelled by none in the nation. The New City The outsider, looking at Wood '! grow, Wood River continued its I phenomenal expansion, and in the 1 past eight years has doubled Its pop- julation. i within the memory of young men 'if today Wood River was a farm. • Hardly 20 years ago it was a melon ; patch, the sand ridge suited for the ! growth of melons. Then the Stan- idard Oil Co. decided to locate a re- 1 finery there. In 1910 Wood River was •getting Its start, with its population ! of 84. ,ln iay> Wood River had got;ten Its start, a grand leap, and in ' JB28 Wood River is still In the full ! flush of youth, going strong, gaining every stride, a progressive city, a jcommunlty /with vision. of far-sighted people To the Standard Oil ! Refinery have been added other in; dustrles, and brave Indeed is he who ..would vouchsafe a prediction as to :Wood River's future. : Rich In History i Rich in history, Wood.River sees 'today fine buildings where once a brave pioneer fought off the charges ;of the Red Man. What once was a sand-ridge now Is a broad, paved thoroughfare. Where, hardly a generation ago, the plow cut its fur•rows, today stands a school, a fine •business block, a theater. ' In the early days of the eighteenth century Wood River was but a hinterland, pierced here and there by Intrepid pioneers. Here and there were small settlements and one was /virtually wiped out by Indians, as ;'told elsewhere in this issue. A point near the mouth of the stream was i the wintering place for Lewis and ! Clark Most of the land was a district of sandburrs and timber. Indian mounds and relics found In the district and stories handed down by the early settlers and their children and their children's children tell the part played by the valley of Wood River In the early history of the Middle West. The country seemed picked by the ! Maker as an Industrial site. Be- ,tween the bluffs and the Mississippi, •where railroads must pass If they River, seea a city served by five railroads, a traction system and three bus lines. The Chicago & Alton, the Big Four, the Illinois Terminal, thft Burlington and the Alton & Eastern are the railroads; the At ton- St. Louis Railway provides passenger service, and the three bus lines give the conectlon with Its neighbors. There Is a fine public school system, with a community high school shared with Bast Alton and Hartford, to which recently has been constructed a $100,000 addition. Three large public grade schools complete the system, All buildings are modern and finely constructed. A parochial grade school houses 200 pupils and, like the public schols, maintains the highest standards. Wood River has churches of all denominations. The churches, with .pastors, are: Assembly of God, the Rev. Marvin D. Hartz; First Baptist, the Rev. J. W. Patterson; First Christian, the Rev. E. J. Harris; First M. E., the Rev. O. F. Whltlock; First Presbyterian, the Rev. E. W. Akers; St. Bernard's Catholic, the Rev. Father E. J. Douglas; St. John's Evangelical, the Rev. A. H. Idecker; St. Paul's Lutheran, the Rev. Norman L Wolff; United Brethern, the Rev. Dale D. Mumaw. Wood River has a well-equipped public library, under the expert dl- r ' m M m » *_l».l «r«1P 4-1-1 A rectlon of Mrs. Mabel Wolf, the librarian. Active Organisations It has lodges of the Odd Fellows, Masons, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America. Loyal Order of Moose, Pythian Sisters, Junior Order, United American Mechanics. There Is an active post ,of the American Legion, which has contributed largely to the growth of the community; the Wood River Commercial Club is the city's chamber of Commerce whose leaders have devoted much of their time to the city's good; the Wood River Women's Club Is a civic and cultural organization to which the city points with pride; the W. O. T. U. is an active organization. Wood River's growth has been that of the progressive city, and it has been the kind of growth that Jndi- much that Wood River needs Is grown or manufactured almost at the city's door. There are a large dairy, three large lumber yards, and an ice plant. The city has seen an era of public Improvements, It has 18 miles of sewer, soon to be augmented to twice the present capacity. Five miles of the streets are paved. Sidewalks are being laid almost dally; new paving projects are under consideration, Wood River was first known as Benbow City, named.for the founder of a town there, who was its first mayor, the late Judge A. E. Benbow. It became the Village of Wood River and, about 1920, was Incorporated as the City of Wood River. A Growing City The city at present Is Incorporated in a one-mlle-square tract, but there Is much outlying land that Is soon to be developed Into attractive additions to the city, and much that already has been developed. Ferguson avenue, running east and west, is the principal business street, but is hardly the "main street" since fine business houses are located on other streets, such as Lorena avenue, Haller street, Wood River avenue, Penning avenue and Sixth street. Some of the streets get their names from old residents. The late Fred Penning was one for whom a street was named. Qus Haller Is another. Within the corporate limits of Wood River is one of the largest refineries of the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana. The first fire was put under the stills of that plant on Jan. cates permanence, an Independent It has been, too, growth, because 7, 1908, and from that date Wood River has progressed. The mayor of Wood River Is W. A. Tipton, master mechanic at the Standard refinery, who is serving his second term. James B. Foreman Is city clerk. Other officials are: city treasurer, Fred Berry; city attorney, Francis J. Manning; police magistrate, R. C. Wilson; oil inspector, O. A. Brown; city engineer, Thomas Hutchinson; electrical inspector, Roy McMillan; city superintendent, Marvin M. Doyle; city chemist, E. H. Hartwlg, aldermen, William T. Marrs, Henry Schnaufer, Ben Robinson, Ed. Counsll, Clyde Borman, August Wuestenfeld, Louis Koenneke, Walter Scott. The fire chief is Carl M. Fox, assistant, William Stoneham, drivers, Wesley Koenneker, Oerald Allen; police chief, Gottlieb Stahlhut; pa- trolmen, George Relthman, Thurston, E. A. Coblne. L. O.