The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Corpus Christi, Texas on September 26, 1954 · Page 85
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The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Corpus Christi, Texas · Page 85

Corpus Christi, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 26, 1954
Page 85
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HAD WATER TROUBLES. TOO Dr. Lovenskiold Not Baser To Tackle Mayor's Job Again At the age of 87 Dr. P. G . Loven- ·Word--50 years a dentist and 10 years a mayor of Corpus Christi-will still take on a troublesome bicuspid but he wouldn't care to step into the mayor's shoes again Particularly, he wouldn't like to tackle the water situation again Water was the big problem lac- Ing the city administration twenty- five years ago when Dr. Loven- skiold was mayor. "And," the oldest living former mayor ot the city commented, "the same people that are fight- the city now stood in our wav i » J then. He got $ha water, though. La Fruta Dam was completed in 1929. Due to faulty construction it washed out later, but in jtx place was built tha present dam that gave Corpus Christi its first permanent reservoir. The trouble now is the city has outgrown it. Dr. Lovenskiold was m a y o r from 1921 to 1931, the longest^ tenure of any mayor except his late brother, O. C. Lovenskiold, who had previously served 14 years. He Jell heir to a community "torn to pieces" by the hurricane of 1919--he was a commissoner at the time. People were "scared away," he said. The population diminished to five or six thousand. But by the time he quit the office they had come back and brought others with them. The population was 29,000. In the same decade gas fields were discovered, providing cheap fuel for household and 'industrial use; the port was built; two ho- p. G. 'LOVENSKIOLD . mayor quarter of century ago To encourage shipping the city administration exempted portside warehouse builders from taxes for 30 years. The Jate Robert Driseoll, regarded by many as the "father of tiie port," was a staunch backer of the administration and "one tel, also--the White Plaza and!of Hie best friends I ever had," Princess Louise--and the city went jthe long-time mayor said, "lie after the tourist business; the first airport was opened; miles of paving were laid expanded. and other utilities was a real 'big' man who did lots for' Corpus Christi, often with money out of his own pocket." Lovenskiold had enemies, too. Collapse Caused, Blackest T " 1 · /~ I *JL *) TT* *_ Feriod in Lity s History An engineering marvel at the time it was finished in the fall of 1929, the $2,725,000 La Fruta Dam that was to furnish Corpus Christi with an adequate water supply for years to, come failed Nov. 23, 1930, 10 months after it went into service. The collapse of the dam set the stage for what financial experts have come to term one of the blackest chapters in the city's financial history. The city defaulted on payment of the bonds that had been issued to pay for the dam. The courts formed the stage where the default was contested for IB years. Finally, in June, 1948, the city issued $2,171,000 worth of bonds to pay off a judgment sgainsl, the city. \ Meanwhile, in 193,3, a city that Ihen, as now, was struggling to provide itself with a sure store of water obtained a $500,000 loan from the RFC to reconstruct the dam. It has stood since. Many financial authorities have blamed the de^ fault for-prejud. icing Corpus Christi's position in the, field of finance, although the 1948 bond issue paid off the judgment against the city. There was opposition then, as now, to nearly every mov» tha City Council made. "Corpus Christi has always been the same way," he observes. "One bunch wants to develop for their own profit -- not the whole city. People have a hard time getting together on what is good for all.' The opposition to Dr. Loveu- skiold went so far as to enlist the services ot Billy Sunday, the great evangelist of that day. "They brought him here to blaspheme me," 5ie recall.'!. "But he called upon me and we had a long talk. His sermons did not turn out to h whnt t!ie opposition expecfpd. HR saw what the situation was and loft. The mayor believed that Corpus Christi was destined to be an industrial city, "All the industrialists from tte East said so, that with natural gas, a port, and all else ws had, industry would come." Loven- skiold had been out of office two years when Southern Alkali Corp. (now Columbia-Southern Corp.) located the first big industrial plant here. Dr. Lovenskiold continued to practice dentistry while in office Corpus Christl's new 52 million reservoir on the Nueces River five miios from Mathis, which was started iu 1927, is now ready to impound water for city use from the next rain. The final three gaps in the dam structure were closed the latter part of August. Tlu dam will impound 65,000 acre-foci of water, enough to provide an adequate supply for throe years for a population of 100,000 persons. The impounding structure is 4,200 foot InnR, with an average depth of 45 fofl. The conr.rote spillway is .1,100 feel, long and its top 25 lect above the bed nf Ihe lake. The structure is 200 feet thick at the base and 16 feet wide at the top. ^ Involved Effort Construction of the spillway in- and every year since, though his work no to a fev Only las work now is limitad hours every mornin May Nueces Valley Denial Socie ty gave a banquet itt liis honor and presented him a certificate of merit in recognition 0 £ 50 years of dental practice, the firs local dentist to receive such ar award. Graduate of Tulane Uni versity, he came here in 1905 Bi-lingual, the dentist speak; Spanish to the patients who understand it better than English His interest in city Affairs ha.« npypr waned, and Ihe way thpj TODAY'S WATER SITUATION Community leaders are certain that the Corpus Christ! area will solve its foremost problem--the l?ck of an adequate, dependable store of fresh water--in the relatively near future. . The solution is in sight, but the means for attaining the end presently is in litigation. An answer, or an alternative course of action, may be forthcoming next month. Today, this is the situation: The s Lower Nueces River Water Supply District, formed in 1949 to seek a solution to the water problem of this area, first invited the assistance of the Bureau of Reclamation for a $38 million dam and' reservoir project at Oakville. The bureau was in favor of such a program. In the midst of a growing controversy sparked by opposition by Three Rivers to the Oakville project, Gov. Allan killed the plan on grounds it would effect surrender of state control of water resources. .--, Bonds Voted in 1952 The water district undertook a detailed-and expensive survey of other sites downriver from the present city-owned- dam at Mathis. By late 1952, the district was ready for the citizens of the district to vote on a $15.5 million bond issue to finance a smaller but' adequate project just below the existing dam. The bonds were voted. But, again, opposition occurred. This time landowners who' would be affected by the Mathis project took the district to court where they won a decision that a flaw in the legal description of the water district in the law creating it invalidated the district. The water district has appealed the district court ruling. Hearing is scheduled next month. ^ Meanwhile, the City of Corpus Christi has taken independent steps to be ready to move if the appeal fails. It-has employed the same engineers the water district used to select the Mathig site, and now has them looking over two alternate sites as well as reviewing their findings at Mathis. Alternatives Studied With the alternate of city action being readied local leaders believe the quest for water will be ended in the next few years. Today, it's a matter of waiting and letting new industry go elsewhere along the Gulf Coast where there is plenty of fresh water. It is estimated that 90 percent of the Nueces River flow now goes into the Gulf and is lost. Wesley Seale Dam would Impound 300,000 acre feet of water. Lake Corpus Christi--the present reservoir--is silting up and has a storage capacity of about 35,000 acre feet. Not waiting for a new reservoir, the city is spending $8 million to enlarge its water treatment and distribution system. Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Corpus Christ ar* sometimes handled -often disturbs him. The recent increase in tax valuations, for instance offends his own sense ot values. Reminded that It takes a lot of money to run big city, he snnrted: ran a broken down city by counting nickels." Delinquent taxes preceding 1919'* storm, he pointed out, were written off the books and only current taxes were available for city improvements. But the 1 former mayor is not overly critical o£ the present administration. "I'm with them every lime when they pass something good tor the people, 1 do not know a man on the council, but I am sure they try to do good for tin benefit of the city." . Would ha Ilka to b* at the helm now? "Not now, at my age," h» waj quick to say, "but if I were younger, and had four good com- wlth me, I might get sack in ths harness and wt could put this city back whera it be-! longs!" And what If In stor* ths next 25 years? MIREUR SAYS CHANGE ONLY SURE FORECAST Long-Time Councilman Sees Too Many Shifts In 75 Years To Make Prediction for Future makes the dam wafer tight, and eliminates any problem of cavities caused by water filtering through, and at a later time endangering the dam. Investigate Creation Early in 192G the city commissioners began investigations looking toward the creation of a permanent water supply for Corpus Clir.isli. First Messrs. Hawley a n d j, eminent water specialists, were retained as consulting engineers to make an investigation and file « report. When the. report was filed it recommended that a large clam ha built on the Nueces River. The city commissioners adopted the report in July, 1927, and shortly after awarded the contract for the work to Smith Brothers, Ine, The Corpus Christi dam Is one .Toe Mireur, long-time city councilman whose leather goods business is located on Mesquite in a building that looks as if it escaped from a set for a western movie, says there is only one sure thing about Corpus Christi's future and that is: Change. Mireur has lived In Corpus Christi too long and seen too many changes to venture any sort of prediction about the city'3 future --except that more changes are] sure to tuke place in the next quarter ctmtury. Born 75 Years Ago Mireur wan born 75 years ago in the family home on Mesquite Street, about half-a-block north of volved the greatest effort connect-(of the most noteworthy engineered with the dam. It was necessary I ing projects ever attempted In the to mow 100,000 cubic yards of tiirt, before the work on the spillway could be started. Following this 150,000 feet of foundation piles were driven on which the spillway rests. Move than 45,000 cubic yards of concrete worn mixed and poured before the job was completed. Into this concrete 1,200,000 pounds of reinforced steel was placed to give added strength to the structure. Abutting the spillway on each end is the dam proper, an earth embankment. This embankment contains 450,000 cubic yards of earth. As this dirt was put in place Jt was packed with water which was sprayed on it. On the water side, rip rap has been placed as a protection against water action. On the other side or down stream, bonrmrlfi (*rass has been planted. One of the dam's most important fen lures is the solid wall of -sheet piling that runs clear through the core of I he structure. This sheet piling is 'interlocking nnrt has been driven approximately 20 font Into the earth. Slightly ovrr .150,000 fpet ft Uii» was ur,cd. This sheet piling South Texas field. The dam's greatest value to Corpus Christi can not be measured by its cost to the water users of Corpus Christi. Its greatest value is to be found in the assurance that it gives that Corpus Christi will always have an adequate gup- ply of %vater. Protects Health - Careful observations of the river's flow showed conclusively that something must be done to protect the city's health, for at times the river became so low that the water demand was often in danger of exceeding (he supply. The lake created by this dam Is approximately 14 miles long and three miles wide. This lake has been called Lake Lovenskiold in honor of Mayor P. G. Lovenskiold. This lake makes an ideal camping: and resort ground, and already several enterprise!! have purchased the Riirrounding property and are selling it for resort purposes. This is the largest fresh water Inke in this vicinity. .--Times, Sept. 22,-1929 the courthouse. He went to the convent school and earned money after school and on Saturday's by selling oysters which he gathered from ths reefs In Nueeea Bay. The price wag 25 cents per hundred.' "And nowadays you pay 10 cents for one oyster In a cafe," he sighed. Mireur. born Sept. 25, 1873, to Anna O'Neal Mirmir, native of Belfast, and Peter Mireur, native of Southern France, retains to this day a hint of his mother's Irish brogue. He remembers the Ropes Boom of the 90s and the awe with which tha corner whera Kern'* Bmg- store is now was told tor $750. "Why you could have bought all of Chaparral Street for ?7,000," Mireur explained. He remembers when almost any home or business could ba located by the designations F r o n t Street (Chaparral) Water Street, Back Street (Mesquite) or The Bluff and he recalls how wagons bogged down in the city's mud streets during rainy weather. Opened Shop lu 130S He learned-the saddle and harness business at Fred Gold's shop, located where Lester's Jewelers is now on Chaparral, and opened his own Mireur's Leathorgoods citizens received news that JOK M1RKIJR . too long to forecart Shop in 3903 at its present location, 409 Mesquite. From his vantage point on Mesquite, Mireur has seen thn first street paving fabmit 1915) and has seen the riowntown shopping center shift from ths Nueces Hotel area southward toward'the present Fedway location. And h« has seen tha city government changs from the mayor- councilman type fo the city manager type. This is a change of which Mireur does not approve. Mireur served eight years as city commissioner in charge o) finance under Mayor A. C. Me- Caughan and he i s convinced the old form of city government is more effective and far less expensive than tha city manager plan. "The city manager form of government is the most overrated form of government *v«r told to the p«opl«, and th* most expensive," Mireur said. Sympathizes With Official* Despite his aversion to the city manager- form of government Mireur views the problems of th* present mayor and commissioners with sympathy, especial ly where the tax problem Is con corned. · "Property valuation i.t a hard job and if* impossible to please Everybody," Mireur jwid. "Why I remr-mbor when I wa« « hoy, folks wrn» complaining nbrmt t tax of 10 cent* on th« hundred.' "God blessed Corpus ChrlBti by putting it whero it is," h» said. "It doesn't take much to build a ing roc* Corpus Christi i GrowtM SEE US FOR COmPLETE CALL 5-0752 For Your Appointment to visit Corpus Christi's. most Modern and progressive beauty salon , . . where a large and efficient staff of beauty consultants and-hair stylists are ready to serve your every beauty need. Our professional care will make your beauty sparkle . . . come in soon! 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