Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on January 7, 1950 · Page 1
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January 7, 1950

Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 1

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Saturday, January 7, 1950
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ALTON EVENING TELEGRAPH Member of Tht Anocimd Pmt. 3e Pit Cop?. Vol. CX1V, No. 30) ALTON, ILL., SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1950 January 37 DIE IOWA HOSPITAL FIRE 12-Foot Cavity Washed Out in Terrace Sewelr Break in Tile Followed Heavy Rain of Last Tuesday (Picture on Pace 5) Most unusual and costly bit o damage done by the 3V4-inch downpour of rain in Alton las Tuesday Is a washout of the Fourth street sewer where the 30 to 36 inch duct leads down the Market terrace, parallel to the con crete steps. Apparently due to a break in the sewer tile, a large cavity, 12 to 14 feet deep, was washed out, bu' It remained undiscovered until < round hole about four feet ir diameter opened in the surface oi what formerly was the street car right-of-way, near the top of the long flight of steps, sometime Friday afternoon. Discovery of the washout wa made by two Roosevelt Junior High school boys, William Cress Jr., 14, of 1816 Woodland, and Richard Crane' of Middletown Homebound from school, Cress slipped on the short flight of ice covered steps on the small terrace leading from the Market street pavement to the "shelf" formerly occupied by the car tracks. When his slide from the Icy steps halted, Cress was astonished to find himself almost at the edge of a hole down which he was unable to "see bottom". Boys Notify Police The two boys realizing the hazard left by the washout opening, hurried down on 'Piasa and notified Policeman Loy. He, in turn, had Cress hurry to the police with the report while he, himself, remained on watch at the yawning opening at Fourth and Market until city streets department officials and employes arrived to place barricades and warning lights. City Engineer Abraham and Street Supt. Parker determined that the hole led into a bell- shaped cavity extending down to the drainage sewer of which it appeared three or four sections were broken or displaced. At the outset, Abraham said today, it was thought the hole might be quite deep. Parker dropped in a pebble, that fell a long way to give an audible "splash" on striking water. "Must be about 50 or 60 feet," Parker remarked. But happily the facts proved otherwise. The pebble, Abraham said, had chanced to drop right into the open end of the broken drainage line which runs down the long terrace at a 50 percent grade,and this accounted for the time lapse be-fore the splashing sound. Actually, the cavern opened by the sewer break was found in further tests to be only a little over 12 feet deep. Repairs, however, Abraham added, may mean a major size job for the street department. The opening may have to be deepened and enlarged so the broken tile can be replaced, then a fill will required. Nothing can be done until the ice storm abates, and meantime barriers and lights will be employed to keep pedestrians away from the opening. Pedestrians on Fourth still can use the steps down the terrac without getting dangerously close to the hole, said Abraham. Date of the construction of the Fourth street sewer is unknown, but Abraham said the break was nothing particularly unusual inasmuch as the tile had been originally laid in filled ground. How Terrace WM Formed Old residents recall that the Market street ten-tce was formed by filling out the westerly edge of Market about 1892 when Alton Improvement Co. promoted the original Middletown street car line that prior to electrification was operateo with dummy steam locomotives disguised to look like street cars and be less frightening to horses. > In the very earliest days of the cily, old files of the Telegraph reveal, quarrying was done all along the Market slope now called (he "terrace". Stone taken -from Market was used in some of the earliest buildings erected in the Continued on Page », Col. i. 5 Major State Roads Blocked by High Water SPRINGFIELD, Jan. 7 Five Important roads in the state's southern half were blocked by high water today, the Illinois Highway Division reported. Pavements generally were Ice- covered south and east of a line running from Plttsfield through Jacksonville and Bloomington to Kankakee, but clear north and west of the line. U. S. 45 was closed south of Texas City, U. S. 51 south of Vandalia, State Route 15 east of Broundi, 43 east of Oraville and 149 east of Ziegler. The division said water had started to lap over state Route 13 east of Murphysboro. However, traffic still was going through this morning. I Perfume, Little Fire Jack Frost Is Villain; Mars Twelfth Night Tree Burning Drill Tests for Link with Inner Belt Highway Highway crews have been drilling In the area north of Washington avenue, to determine depth ol rock. Upon their data will depend whether an underpass or an overpass should be constructed for the link connecting Washington with the proposed Inner belt-line around Alton, it was said by H. A. Kluge county superintendent of highways. The Inner belt-line, planned as part of future highway development, would extend north from Washington, then angle to join Humbert street road, following that road, then Alby road to Pearl street in Godfrey where it would connect with U. S. Highway 67. Surveys for this phase of the project were made last year, said county highway officials. The project is still in the planning stage, and so far nothing has been done to acquire right-of-way. Mercury Rises; Sleet, Ice Melt On City Streets Melting of sleet and Ice on the city streets was In progress todajj when temperature, spurred upward b>t bright,' warm sunshine mounted above freezing point by 11 a. m. Although a dip In the mercury to 15 degrees Is the forecast for Sunday morning, the Weather Bureau predicts further temperature In the 30's for Sunday afternoon with weather remaining fair. This should continue the melting pro cess even though it "falls to develop into a genuine "January thaw." The city streets department has been applying salt to speed the melt up of Ice on the hills, and at other points on the main traffic routes, especially in the business districts, where shade was tending to prolong the grip of sleet and underlying ice. Police had reports of only six automobile accidents Friday, four of which were ascribed directly to ce conditions. None was of a serous nature. However, three persons met injury in other mishaps. One boy was hurt when coasting, another when skating, and a young woman was Injured In a Child Injured Theodore Paul Norman, 11, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Norman of Godfrey, Route 2, suffered back and shoulder injuries Friday night n a coasting accident on a hill at LaVista, near Godfrey. He is a patient in St. Joseph's Hospital where X-ray examination s being made to determine whether he sustained an serious spinal njury. The accident occurred, Mrs. Norman said, when her son lost con- rol of the sled on the long hill and crashed into a tree. He was moved on another sled to tha ilghway and from there was taken on the sled In an automobile to he hospital. With him at time of the mishap were an older brother, William, 8, and two sisters, Johanna and Dorothy, students at Alton High School. An East Junior High School pupil, Don Winship, 13, suffered fracture of the left ankle in a kating mishap at his home, 2815 randvlew, Friday evening after school. He Is the son of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Winship. , Don was skating in the .yard at he rear of his home at time of he accident, his mother stated. Ie was moved by his parents on a sled into the house and an am- ulance was summoned to take ilm to Alton Memorial Hospital. Following reduction of the frac- ure he returned home. The injury was one of a series hat had befallen the youth, his mother recalled. About a year ago ic was ill of scarlet fever, and hen there had been an Incident n which he suffered an Injury to is shin bone when he was struck y, a golf ball while caddylng, and n Injury incurred while playing ootball. Miss Irene Treadway of 1419 Cooper, an employe of Owens-IIll- ois Glass Co., Is a patient In Alton Memorial Hospital for treatment f an elbow injury suffered In a all on the Ice after she had got- en off the 11 p. m. shift Friday. Traffic TieiiB Police were called to Belle street t Sixteenth at 8:55 a. m. by the irst severe traffic tieup on this tate route extension here since he Tuesday night storm, Two oil ankers had stalled on the hill when northbound from the "Five Points," and police directed one- way traffic for 50 minutes until he Stanka tow-car tad boosted Centime* e« Pag* I. Gel. I. An armor of heavy Ice encasing the exposed Christmas trees which had lain unprotected out in the weather during the days am nights of the new year's heavy rains with following bitter cold made the trees fire-resistant Friday evening when the Twelfth Night Christmas-tree burning was set to take place. The pyre hat been built to the largest size of any Twelfth Night tree-burning in the years since the starting of the custom. 'But managers of the tree-burning had no advance knowledge that torrential rains were to soak the trees In the pile in Riverview park- sunken gardens and that an accompanying cold wave would make the whole pile practically a near solic baffling block of ice. Even the Christmas trees which were dragged to the park last night to be added to the pyre had been exposed to the elements for the most part and thy were no help, or at least insufficient to maintain a steady thawing out blaze. Promptly at 7:30 before the biggest crowd ever assembled at any similar entertainment, the- fires were set on three sides of the greal pile of trees but when the heat would thaw the ice on the trees nearest to the flames, the streams of water from thawing ice woulc flow down from the ice-clad tree? and extinguish the fire. Over and over that happened. The trees with the covering of Ice had been conferred a perfect immunity against being burned. There was continuous efforts of the crowd to help stimulate the fire and get it going fast and strong enough, but the difficulties were too great even when emergency measures of a determind character were attempted fruitlessly to prove the managers masters of the situation. The real boss of the job was that covering of ice that Jack Frost had used to make the pile of trees a fire-resistant block of mingled evergreen and frozen rain. When the fire in the branches of evergreen would get to going strong enough to melt the ice, the thawing would release a volume of water which would pour down defensively and extinguish the fire. In the meantime, the whole neighborhood was pervaded by the redolence of perfume being roasted out of the spruce and pine branches. Neighbors furnished large consignments of paper and wooden boxes and kindling. One man brought a large can of gasoline and another a can of old crank case oil, but it was of little avail. There would be a temporary out' burst of flame and then it would die down again. When the gasoline was thrown on the pile thare was the making of a serious consequence. The man with the gasoline was momentarily enveloped in flame from the gas fumes. There was a puff as the gasoline caught fire and the gasoline-thrower had to toss away one glove when it caught fire. There seemed to be danger of his overcoat being burned too, but people in the crowd combatted that dan gerous aspect of the incident. It was when about two-thirds of the pile of evergreens had been consumed in relays, and about one third was still left, that the patience of the Christmas tree- turning crowd had become exhausted, the efforts to finish the job of burning the frozen mass of evergreens was given up as useless, until there would be a thawing out of the ice-clad mass of trees by warmer weather. Leland Kennedy Candidate for Renomination State Representative Leland J. Kennedy of Alton today announced ils candidacy for renomination at he Democratic primary in April. He is completing his second term as representative of the Forty- Seventh Senatorial District made up of Madison and Bond Counties. Kennedy, a life-long resident of Alton, was elected in 1946 and reelected in 1948. He is a former member of the City Council as alderman of Seventh ward. His announcement for renomina- ion recited that he had supported egislation for increased financial aid to schools and municipalities, although these measures were de- ealed in the Senate; and that hu tas been active In support of the McAdams Highway. Kennedy, a veteran of World War II, is a graduate of Old Ca- hedral High School, and is a mem- >er of the Elks, Knights of Colum>us, American Legion, Veteran of Foreign Wars, and East End Improvement Association. He Is em- >loyed at Wood River refinery of thell Oil Co., and is a member of Operation Engineers Local 525. Satisfied Customer URBANA, Jan. 7, (*» — Santa Glaus has at least one satisfied ustomer. A "thank you" note to he old gent arrived at the Ur- tana post office yesterday from udlth Conover, 9, who topped off her letter with 10 kisses (x's), 10 hugs (zeroes) and this P. S.: "Thanks again, I had a very iappy Christmas." Assessments of Wood River and Alton Boosted Increases of $491,965 and $28,625 Shown by Review Board EDWARDSVILLE, Jan. 7. — Madison County's locally-assessed and equalized- valuation for the 1949 tax year stands at $79,339,915, a net increase of $1,380,910 over the previous year's figure of $77,959,005. The Board of Review's 1949 valuation for Alton township is $14,587,760. This is a net increase of $28,625 over the board's equal Ized assessment for 1948. For Wood River township, the board set a value of $18,046,765, an increase of $94,905 over the assessor's figures and a rise of $491,965 over the 1948 equalized assessment. The 1949 valuation of locally- assessed property in the county, exclusive of railroads and capital stock, was disclosed Friday after e county board of review com 1 pleted its assessment equalization work for 'the year by signing as- Tragedy Strikes Davenport Hospital Continued on Page 2, Col. 7. 83 New Homes Erected Here During 1949 For the second time In Alton's history, planned building activity foi a year here has exceeded two million dollars in estimated cost. The annual report of Building Commissioner Abraham shows estimated cost of constructional projects In 1949 under 593 permits was $2,108,831. This exceeds the 1948 figure of $1,983,064, but falls under the total of $3,190,121 for 1947, the only previous year when the volume of planned building work topped the 2-million mark. Dwelling construction provided the highlight of last year's building program. The commissioner's report shows permits for 83 dwellings to aggregate estimated cost of $719,921, but this was far under the 1948 showing of 148 now houses at total estimated cost of $845,135. The listing of last year, however, includes a 25-unft apartment house, estimated at $115,000 —the first large apartment project ever carried out here. With few exceptions, other dwelling projects last year were for single-family structures. Non-Residential Work Thirteen permits were issued for non-residential structures of industrial, business, or institutional :haracter, at total cost of $466,995. This listing included the new Johnson street school at $290,000. Other items of new construction ranged from 61 private garages, $36,740, to a poultry house, $100. All told, a compilation from per- nit records shows, wholly new >uilding construction of- approximately $1,020,000 cost was undertaken in Alton in 1949. Bulk of the permits last year applied to additions, alterations, and repair of existing structures. Residential projects of this sort were covered by 342 permits, >228,908; non-residential projects by 73 permits, $584,692. Business and industrial remodelings and additions ran to about 450,000, and nstitutional projects to about >135,000, including additions and remodelings of some lodge and church buildings. Eight demolitions of house and justness buildings were listed last year, and the net gain by new structures, business and residential, according to the permit count was 88. Total of fees collected on build- Continued on Page 2, Col. 2. GENERAL VIEW OF FIRE —Shown at top is general view of fire which destroyed a women's mental ward of Mercy Hospital at Davenport, la., early today. Coroner C. H. Wildman has estimated 37 bodies, all women, will be recovered from the smouldering ruins.—AP Wirephoto. Freezing Temperatures Cut Danger Of More Floods Red Invasion Blocked,Chiang Forces Claim HONG KONG, Jan. 7 «•) — China's Nationalists today claimed they had smashed a second red attempt to invade Hainan Island, sinking about half of a fleet of 1000 junks. Pro-Nationalist reports said government warplanes caught the junks inching down Luiehow peninsula toward the big Island off China's south coast. The peninsula is separated from Hainan by a strait 10 miles wide. The accounts asserted that the warplanes dived upon the fleet and sank approximately 500 junks. The others fled back to the coast of the peninsula. (Both sides in China's civil war have a habit of exaggerating the amout of damage they do to each other.) The Nationalists reported last month that shore batteries on Hainan had broken up a Communist attempt to land from the peninsula. This ,was regarded as a feeler operation. Martial law was declared In Hoihow, capital and military headquarters at Hainan. All non-essential personnel were ordered to leave. Chinese Nationalists in this British crown colony 270 miles northeast of Hainan began clamoring to get out on the heels of Britain's recognition of the Communist regime in Peiping. Claire L. Chennault's civil air transport line halted all service between Hong Kong and Chinese Nationalist areas and flew out its planes. The line is registered by the Nationalists. It is in the process of being transferred to Civil Air Transport, Inc., a corporation chartered in Delaware. Truman Given Coal Appeal By Sen. Lucas Births Recorded in 1949 Under 2000 for First Time in 4 Years Births registered In Alton In 949 dropped under the 2000-mark or the first time In four years, 'he total, announced today at the iffice of City Clerk Price, was 999. It is the lowest figure since me of 1529 in 1945. Compared to 1948 with 2167 sirths, the Alton total last year s a decline of 168. The all-time high registration here was 2282 n 1947. Deaths recorded in Alton last ear showed a sharp decline. The otal of 492 was 97 less than tho 948 total of 589, and was the low- st figure in 10 years. In 1939, the death total was 432, t in each year thereafter, until 949, it exceeded 500, and reached record high of 595 in 1943. Births here last December num- jered only 125, and the figure was he smallest of any month in 1949. uly, with 213, was the high month. Deaths In December numbered 3, a little under normal for a winter month. The number of deaths lust year ranged from a high of 52 in July to a low of 28 in September, smallest total of any month In three years. Still-births here last year totaled only 32, smallest figure in 'many years. The average in the last six years was 41. Most of babies born in Alton last year were born in hospitals, and it Is estimated only about 35 percent are children of Alton parents. Since the opening of the Wood River township hospital, a decline has been noted in monthly registrations, here, and it was presence ot the new hospital In the adjacent township that resulted in births here falling under 2000 in 1949. New forms for the recording of births and deaths are now In use li Illinois; and the first birth, that of a New Year baby, to be recorded on a new-form certificate was filed at Clerk Price's office yesterday. The new certificates will carry a state birth number, and each will set forth the baby'* birth-weight. WASHINGTON, Jan. 7. WP) — President Truman today weighec an appeal from his top Senate aide for swift action to restore full coal production. Senate Democratic Leader Lucas of Illinois carried that plea to the White House yesterday and got a promise that Mr. Truman would review the situation today, Republican* Assail Truman Earlier, a number of Republican lawmakers had assailed the administration for not doing something to force an end to the present three-day work week in the mines ordered by union leader, John L.. Lewis. They said too little coal is being produced to fill demands with the weather turning colder. Mr. Truman's position has been Continued on Page 2, Col. 2. Kidnap Story A Hoax Says HAW Watchman DETROIT, Jan. 7. UP)— 'A UAW night watchman who faked a story of kidnaping was questioned today about the campaign of vlo- Jence aimed at the CIO United 1 Auto Workers. White-haired William Thomas, 58, admitted last night that his abduction story was a hoax, Detective Inspector Joseph Krug said. Thomas was nervous and shaky after 13 hours of grilling. He was held for investigation of making a false report of a felony. Detectives said, however, they were mainly interested in finding out whether Thomas has "definite knowledge" of the terror campaign against the union. Thomas helped find a dud bomb at the union's international headquarters the night of Dec. 20. Discovery of the bomb led to the FBI entering the investigation. Previously there had been two attempted assassinations of union officers. Walter Reuther, union president, was shot and badly wounded April 20, 1948. His brother, Victor, union education director, was shot and wounded seriously last May 24. Thomas gave police a lurid ac- ount of being kidnaped and trussed up by two men. Weather Fair this afternoon, tonight and Sunday. Warmer this afternoon, somewhat colder tonight. Lowest temperature Sunday morning about IS. Afternoon temperatures in the mid 30'i today and tomorrow. Shippers' forecast: North 6-10; east 12-16; west and south 16-20. _ W. BurMii i s. » *•• L«V«I f a ll«ro 3M.«a n. * UK* ft J)M» Stage 10.2 Ft. Pool 418.54 Fall 2.7 Ft. TaUwater 405.65 " Meramec Starts Falling EndingThreatofFurther Damage; 100 Persons Evacuated - «y THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Freezing temperatures In th northern two-thirds of Illinois to day are expected to slow the run off of waters which have floodee thousands of acres of farm lands. In the southern third of the state, temperatures are expectec above freezing but forecasters say there Is little in the area to thaw Flood waters in southern Illinois rose to new danger points Friday A state of emergency was declared at Lawrenceville by the Red Cross. The Embarrass river, running near Lawrencevifle, was out of its banks. The river was expected Friday to match Its 1933 high mark of'26.75. High waters from small streams in central Illinois, near Danville, Tuscola and Villa Grove began falling. Red Cross aid to stricken Lawrenceville included 100 cots and 200 blankets from St. Louis and shel ter and feeding supplies to Mt. Carmel in Wabash County, farther downstream. Ten special rescue squads were sent to Lawrenceville by the Illinois Conservation Department at Springfield. Eight families, including 32 chll dren, were evacuated from their homes to the Lawrence County Court House. The Red Cross reported 42 families fled their homes at Carml, on the Little Wabash river. All 'schools In Jasper County were closed as were schools at Enfield, Crossville and Carmi, all in White County. Breaks in three Embarrass river levees Inundated farm land near Newton taking the life of a farm woman, Hannah Derler, 71, and causing heavy losses In grain and farm machinery. A dozen families were evacuated from homes endangered by flood waters from the Kaskaskia river west of Centralia. The rising Kaskaskia also forced businessmen at New Athens to move basement stocks upstairs. High water also ran over dikes four miles south of Bnrtelso, Clinton County. Thousands of farm acres were under water in southern St. Clair iounty. Across the Mississippi in Missouri, the flooding Meramec river started to drop today, ending hreals of further damage to property along its banks. The river reached a crest of 30 eet west of St. Louis at midnight and then began to recede slowly. Meteorologist Harry F. Wahl- ,ren of St. Louis said he saw no mmediate prospects of rain, snow r sleet end predicted the waters would continue to fall In the next 24 hours. Coast guardsmen and St. Louis County deputy sheriffs evacuated almost 100 persons by boat yesterday from flooded areas at Valley 'ark and Eureka. M\d Warning Issued For Northern Area CHICAGO, Jan. 7, W—The United States Weather Bureau today issued the following cold wave warning: Cold wave tonight over the area rom northeastern Wisconsin to eastern Iowa and northwestern llinois. Minimum t e m pe r a t u res will •ange from 10 degrees below zero n the northern part of the area to from zero to S below in the south part. Fair weather, Bodies of 28 Women Found In Davenport Blaze: 31 Hurt All Victims Patients of Mental Ward Except Aide DAVENPORT, la., Jan. 7. (AP) —Twenty-eight women were known to have perished early today in a fire at a men* al hospital and the coroner ;aid the toll undoubtedly would climb to 37. Nearly 10 hours after the 'ire started Coroner C. H. Wildman said the bodies of 28 women had been recovered. The remainder of the 37 supposed victims, he said, undoubtedly were in the debris. The sister superior of the hos- >ital said 31 other patients had been treated for burns or injuries, accounting for the 65 women and hree men known to have been in he building. Bars Block Escape The path to safety for many of he patients was blocked by barred windows. Except for a nurse's aide, all the dead and missing were patients. They were asleep in the three- story St. Elizabeth's ward building of Mercy Hospital when the flames broke out at 2 -a. m. The fire was bvought under control In a four-hour battle. The flames spread rapidly through the 60-year-old brick structure, one of four buildings comprising this eastern Iowa city's largest hospital. Screams of the trapped women spread 4he alarm. Aid was sent at once from the nearby five-story main Mercy Hospital building and 14 fire com* panics came immediately. Scene of Horror As the flames swept upward the scene became one of horror. The women patients, many ot them Infirm of both body and mind, beat against the barred windows and screamed their terror. Some fainted away into the smoke and. flame. A white-robed Sister of Men./ nun stood outside the blazing building, weeping bitterly. Her arms held blankets which firemen took to cover bodies as they were removed. Catholic chaplains moved shadow-like about their solemn duties as the flames outlined their figures. Some of the rescued fought to return to the burning ward. In he tragic illogic of catastrophe hey wanted to go back for little hings—a picture, their shoes, • coat. There were heroic rescues. Firemen hacked away window bars while flames licked at their ladder. A policeman called for hose lines o drench him with water. Then ie disappeared through a window nto the smoke and flame. He returned with a woman in his arms. S Men Patients Escape The three men patients escaped, .wo by leaping from an unbarred .vindow. The survivors were be- ng treated in the main Mercy iospital building. Fire Chief Lester Schick said he fire apparently started in • econd- floor room on the east side f the building. Sister Mary Annunziata, the hospital superior, told a reporter it. vas possible someone had been moking a cigaret and dropped it on some inflammable material. Hours after the fire was extinguished firemen worked at carry* ng out melted iron beds, still- laming matresses, and other smouldering debris. Bodies were removed in white ubber-sheeted bags. The hospital is administered by he Sisters; of Mercy, a Catholic rder. It was established in 1868 >y persons of all creeds. A temporary morgue was set up n a room at Mercy Hospital. A orce of nurses set about the task f e s t a b Us hi n g identifications. Many of the bodies were burned eyond recognition. Flames from the burning build- ng reddened the sky over this Mississippi river city. Police of. leers held back the crowds which Tossed against their lines. Some of the survivors were) tretcher cases. Two of the rescued women had aeen in the burning building for bout four hours. Suffering se» ere burns, they were said to bt Continued on Page I. Col. •> Air Force to Stage . Polar Refueling Tertu WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, UrV- 'he air (orce Is going to stag* iomber refueling tests in the sky bove the North Pole ice cap* within wartime striking range of Europe and Asia. It anounced last night that three efuellng squadrons will go to Goose Bay, Labrador, to spend • week each on a "training mission designed to Increas* the efttcUney ft air'to-air refueling." *

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