The Ottawa Herald from Ottawa, Kansas on October 21, 1961 · Page 3
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The Ottawa Herald from Ottawa, Kansas · Page 3

Ottawa, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 21, 1961
Page 3
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OL' MARY IN AN EARLY RAMPAGE - Part of Ottawa's Main Street was under water when this early-day picture was taken. Shown is steel truss bridge built in 1883 and replaced by present one in 1926. (Photos from collection of Mrs. M. J. Totten) FIREMEN IN ACTION IN '95 — A crowd turned out in Ot- in flames. Firemen have hose reeled out and are dousing • tawa on March 3, 1895, to watch the municipal auditorium go up building at right. This picture was taken at 2:03 p.m. A Long Fight: Ottawa Vs. Marais des Cygnes By JOHN MACDONALD | Water, water everywhere. The problem is gettin' across it. To folks in Ottawa, no Moses has appeared to wave a rod to part the waters as he did when the Israelites waited to cross the Red Sea during their 40 years of wandering in Palestine. Instead, in 1867, the ruddy Kansas Pioneers formed a town company, sold stock and built a suspension bridge across the Marais des Cygnes river. During that early winter, and the 94 years since, the citizens of Ottawa, though often plagued by disastrous floods, have banded together to fight the sometimes calm but potentially dangerous river. The battle continued recently when five Ottawans testified before the Bureau of the Budget in Washington, D. C., seeking funds to complete the Ottawa flood protection works, scheduled to be finished in October, 1962. This year, Congress appropriated $1,250,000 for the Ottawa project which may be sufficient to complete the project. If additional funds are needed the exact figure will be determined by the Bureau of the Budget and the office of the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army. The fight to conquer "Old Mary" began in 1867, just a year after the town's charter was signed by Kansas' secretary of state. In the preceding years, travelers, traders and Sunday drivers who wanted to cross town had to wade the river at the Hickory street ford, a block east of the current Main Street bridge. The movement for a bridge started when several town leaders organized a joint stock company with P. P. Elder as president. Cost estimates were received from engineers, and the contract was let for the $11,000 span. The bridges' 5-inch suspension cable with 300 strands of annealed No. 9 wire was made in Worcester, Mass., and shipped to Kansas City by steamer. From there it was hauled to Ottawa in six wagons, ferried across the river and up the anchorage by oxen. It was fastened to the majestic stone archway supports on each side of the river bank. The construction took about three months. On Jan. 1, 1868, an official opening ceremony was held and Ottawans proudly advertised the only suspension bridge west of the Mississippi. The company charged each passenger 5 cents to cross the bridge. School children and those in funeral processions were allowed free passage. A single Jose Hopeful Of Reconciliation SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP)"Nothing would make me happier," actor Jose Ferrer said Thursday when newsmen asked about chances of his reconciling with singer Rosemary Clooney. But Miss Clooney, 33, replying to the same question, said: "Not at this time." The two appeared in court, and Ferrer agreed to pay $1,500 a month temporary alimony pending trial of Miss Clooney's divorce suit. The singer charged Ferrer, 49, with mental cruelty. They separated Aug. 7 after eight years of marriage. horse and buggy was charged 15 cents. The completion of the suspension bridge, however, eliminated only a splinter of the log in the eye of the growth of travel in the infant town. The pioneers traveling to Lawrence, the site of the nearest railroad, had to endure a 3-hour, 45-minute dust- choking stagecoach ride. And Ottawa was like an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean when rain rendered the dirt roads impassable. In the autum of 1866 the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Calveston railroad (later taken over by the Santa Fe) reached Ottawa. The trip took about an hour. Complications in obtaining the right-of-way for construction of a bridge over the Marais des Cygnes river and track through the town caused a year-and-a-half delay. In the meantime the company started laying tracks south toward Richmond. The railroad bridge over the Marais des Cygnes river, completed in 1868, was made of wood with steel members at the base. Before its construction, goods which came into town on the railroad were unloaded at the north edge of the river, portaged by wagon across the river at the Hickory Street ford (and later the suspension bridge), loaded again on the railroad cars and continued south. With the completion of the railroad bridge and the issuance of * * * special bonds for the purchase of the suspension bridge by the city on June 4, 1872, eliminating the toll, Ottawa had cleared the final hurdle in its fight for basic * * * Outline Missouri River Basin Work WASHINGTON (AP) - The Reclamation Bureau plans to spend nearly $58 million on projects scattered throughout the Missouri River Basin in the year that started July 1. Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall, in announcing these details today, said the program will be financed with the $174,408,100 appropriation approved by congress for all bureau activities in the year which ends next June 30. Projects include: Almena Unit, Kas., $2,935,000, to start construction of Norton dam and the railroad relocation. Right-of-way acquisition will continue. Bostwick Division, Kas.-Neb., $453,000 to continue work on lateral lining, drains and floodways. Cedar Bluff Unit, Kas., $1,494,000 to complete modification of outlet works at Cedar Bluff dam and first two sections of canal. Contracts will be awarded for third section of canal, the laterals and permanent operation facilities. Kirwin Unit, Kas., $91,000 for work on Kirwin subsurface drains and lining of canals and laterals. Webster Unit, Kas., $101,000 for contract awards for construction of drains on the Osborne system plus purchase of maintenance equipment for irrigation district. Advance planning, $1,043,000 for work on the narrows unit in Colorado; Wilson, Glen Elder and Kanopolis units in Kansas and Cedar Rapids division in Nebraska. TANKS ON THE MOVE - Tanks of Wisconsin's famous Red Arrow Division, loaded aboard flatcars for long trip to Pacific Coast by rail, line tracks at Camp McCoy, Wis. The division, called to active duty, is heading for Ft. Lewis, Wash., and extensive combat training. transportation facilities. But the race was not over. On June 12, 1873, the railroad bridge yielded under the strain of an overloaded work train and tumbled into the river. Little service-time was lost, however, as a new Howe truss bridge was constructed within three months. Luck for the iron horse in Ottawa didn't change for some time. On Oct. 22, 1883, fire destroyed several Santa Fe buildings a block north of the bridge. There was an estimated $75,000 damage. Two years later on July 16, 1885, the original depot burned during the early morning hours. The company rebuilt immediately following both fires. That same year fire again threatened railroad service to Ottawa. A flour mill on the south bank of the river, just yards from the wooden bridge, caught fire. This time, however, railroad workman acted quickly. They wheeled a railroad tender onto the bridge and for hours pumped water on the wooden structure. The mill burned to the ground, but the bridge suffered only a few charred track ties. Ottawa grew rapidly in the early 1880's. New buildings were constructed, and county roads were improved, making Ottawa the Mecca of the rich farming community. City officials, thinking optimistically of the town's future growth, talked of the need for a second automobile bridge across the Marais des Cygnes river. This idea, however, was tabled under pressure of several economy - minded city comission- ers who felt that the present Main Street suspension bridge should be rebuilt and enlarged. They argued that since a special guard was needed on the bridge to prevent several heavy vehicles on the bridge at the same time, the problem would not be solved by building a second bridge when the present ono was not safe. After much debate the commission decided, in 1883, to replace the Main Street bridge witb a steel - truss bridge. For economy's sake however, the new spans were placed on the old stone supports used for the suspension bridge. By the summer of 1885, traffic was too heavy for even the new bridge, and the governing body agreed that the second bridge was needed A contracl was signed with the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Co. to build a bridge over the river on Locust street, two blocks west of the Main Street bridge. The new structure, financed jointly by th<> city and county at a cost of $11, 260, was completed in December, 1885. The next 18 years saw a rapid increase in Ottawa's population and trade. In 1904, heavier trains and increased freight necessitated the building of a new 2-track steel railroad bridge. By 1926, a steel-encased concrete bridge replaced the Main Street span built in 1883. Today the Marais des Cygnef. river is once again the focal poinl for improvements. The bridges and river channel are being redesigned to control the amount of accumulated water from rains which in the past has caused many millions of dollars of damage. The Ottawa project is one of several in the Missouri River Val ley. The estimated cost of tho upper Marais des Cygnes river work is $39,000,000. The Ottawa project will cost an estimated $5,000,000, of which $770,000 has been paid by the City of Ottawa, The local work involves widening and deepening the river channel that runs through town, building cement flood walls near the business district and earthen dikes in other areas. The widening of the river channel necessitated the lengthening of the Main Street bridge 84 feet, a job completed last year The Santa Fe railroad bridge was lengthened 100 feet at the south end. The ends of the bridge rest on new flood wall structures and are fitted with emergency flood gates which would interrupt rail traffic during an extreme flood and prevent water from going into the city via the approach areas to the bridges. (Similar emergency flood gates will be installed on the Main Street bridge). New piers support the railroad bridge which now has no superstructure and is single track. The people of Ottawa are hoping that the work on the upper Marais des Cygnes river will solve the flood and transportation problem for some time to come. Local citizens have appeared before Congressional committees for the past eight years to obtain funds for flood control projects. In 1959 Ottawa's turn came. Congress approved the money, and the Corps of Army Engineers moved into the town to supervise the project. The work in Ottawa isn't expected to be done until next October, but its value has been felt already. On Sept. 11, the Marais des Cygnes river surged out of its banks and into several businsses and homes. Had it not been for the flood work water would have risen an additional three feet causing thousands of dollars more damage and leaving scores more people homeless. The Israelites found peace and contentment in the "promised land" after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It has taken the people of Ottawa almost a century, but the end of the battle is in sight. Now they're looking forward to the security th« completed flood control projects will provide. Protest Racial Barriers At TU AUSTIN, Tex. (AP)-Fifty Negro students at the University of Texas visited in the lobby of a girls dormitory Thursday night to protest campus racial barriers. Negro students at the university are prohibited by school regulations from participating in varsity athletics and dramatics and other nonclassroom activities. The Negro boys and girls entered the lobby of Kinsolving Dormitory and talked among themselves and with a few white students. A white boy, three Negro boys and three Negro girls stood around a piano while a Negro boy played and a Negro girl sang. ROBERT EDMISTON STORES. INC, * • Wishes to Introduce Bob Williams as their new Watchmaker Mr. Williams comes to us with 13 years experience in watch, clock and jewelry repair work. He is married and has a one-year-old daughter, Constance Anne. As a get-acquainted offer ... Mr. Williams is sponsoring a... ONE DAY ONLY SPECIAL ON WATCH CLEANING for any watch brought in Monday, October 23rd. Regular Watches Automatic or self-winding Only Only $399 $499 We are happy to announce that all watches that have been left for repair are now ready. We urge our customers to pick up these watches at their earliest convenience.

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