The South Bend Tribune from South Bend, Indiana on July 31, 1983 · 79
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The South Bend Tribune from South Bend, Indiana · 79

South Bend, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 31, 1983
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pipe like this a great deal easier than I can make a speech . . IN CELEBRATION of the accomplishment, the court house bell and fire bells were rung, the fire department hook and ladder crew appeared in uniform, and the South Bend Cornet Band played. Alexander Staples clearly was the hero of the day. His accomplishment was memorialized to the tune of Star Spangled Banner": Oh, say does that star-seeking standpipe yet sise Oer the city we love to its home in the skies? Said the third verse: No standpipe so long but Aleck the strong, With his tackle would lift with a cheer and a . song; And the star-seeking monster in triumph should rise, Till he Staples the thing to its home in the skies. Once in place the tube was to be surrounded with a brick enclosure. Philip Berger of South Bend was hired for the job. The brick housing stood 2V4 feet from the tube and rose 195 feet Between the iron tube and the brick a winding stairway of 290 steps led to the top and a pointed roof capped the structure, making a total height of 221 feet. Total cost of the building was $150,000. The completed structure weighed 45,382 pounds but would weigh a lot more once the tube was full of water. At first it was kept full of river water pumped into it from a pumping station near the river bank. But Everett L. Abbot, first superintendent of the water works, sank a 110-foot artesian well near the pumping station and discovered an underground supply of water capable of supplying the standpipe that was pure enough for domestic use. By 1907 more than 34' wells were drilled near the original pumping station and another 37 were sunk near a second pumping station near N. Michigan St. The river source was turned off and from then on the standpipe was filled with water from the wells. WATER FLOWED from the standpipe through what was called Wyckoff pipe to hydrants located throughout the city. Made from white pine logs that were bored out in eight-foot sections, the pipes were turned on a lathe and then put away to season. When properly seasoned, they were bound with iron, coated with asphalt, laid in ditches and connected to each other with socket or thimble joints. Manufacturing and installing the pipes was the Northwestern Gas and Water Pipe Co. of Bay City, Mich Completion of the water system called for a big celebration, and it was planned for Christmas Day of 1873. According to the schedule, at 9; 45 a.m. the standpipe was to be filled to overflowing. At 10 a.m. firefighters were to connect hoses to hydrants and throw water on the Presbyterian Church at Washington and Lafayette, and at 11 a.m. a public meeting would be held in the court house. i . Christmas that year was so warm that some men went without coats and at least one woman was seen at the outdoor demonstration carrying a parasol. , Spectators watched water burst from the top of the standpipe as it overflowed Then four hoses started pouring water on the church In only 23 minutes some 12,000 gallons flowed on the church At the end of the brief test it was announced the standpipe still had 120 feet of water and pressure had dropped only from 95 to 61 pounds. The standpipe then was filled to 145 feet and again without using the pumps, nine streams of water were thrown high over all adjacent buildings. The test finally had to be stopped because the streets were full of water. Highlight of the meeting in the court house was a speech by South Bends own Schuyler Colfax, then vice president. After wishing everyone a merry Chrjstmas, he sait, according to The Tribune, this magnificent South Bend Tribune, Sunday, July 31, 1983 CONTROLS on modern South Bend Fire Depart-, ment pumper, a far cry from the oldtime bucket brigade, are shown by Capt. Dale Wedel. This 1972 Mack fire truck can deliver 1 ,250 gallons of water a minute at 1 50 pounds pressure. The truck carries a 500 gallon water tank. Christmas Day opened a new era in the history of our busy and prosperous city. THE CROWD then went to the Studebaker wagon works to witness the result of an unusual wager. Two days before, J. M. Studebaker had bet Leighton Pine that the standpipe system wouldnt produce enough pressure to send a stream of water into the belfry of the Studebaker factory. The loser was to present the winner with a Jersey cow. Studebaker, Colfax and three judges standing in the belfry reportedly looked as if they had been in a hard shower after the water was thrown far above them. ' Gracefully admitting he had lost the bet, Studebaker had the cow, decorated with ribbons, brought out and, preceded by a band and several carriages full of prominent citizens, marched down the road to Pines home. A couple of days later, Pine offered the cow to the Ladies Benevolent Society so it could be sold to benefit the poor. The local womens group acknowledged re-.' ceipt of the cow and noted in The Tribune that it would be offered at auction in front of the court house at 10 a.m. New Years Day., The animal was sold and then resold several times, bringing in $300 from the auction for charity. As the last ' buyer was leading the cow away, one Bleem, a butcher, raced after it and pretended to cut off its taiL The crowd became angry and chased the butcher who dropped the tail Realizing that it was a joke and the cow had been bobtailed, the, people put the tail up for auction and it raised $45 more for charity. Construction of the standpipe was certainly an important milestone in the development of the city and a .remarkable engineering feat It served the community well until the 1920s when city had grown too large to be adquately served by the water system. In 1930 the standpipe was declared dangerous and it was dismantled that same year. X ' s . V' , , , 4.'Y & , i t. . r ar-j! I K , ,t. it ..4. Mi ' ' bn, .. 4'Xfv V. ' s ' 'v, jfc , - 4 "1 1 .. . ,.b 4 ... Jy m k .... . 8l... i- ..... j, , y, , vt 4 & f Kv,v1 ? ' y i '' K I i ': ' f . , . ' i .y y - indpipe in view from the Jefferson St. bridge. Capacity of the standpipe was 29,500 gallons of wc vf; water.

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