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Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2012

100 years ago: Coal, wood, river water supply cold-besieged Lawrence

January 12, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 12, 1912:

  • "After the warm spell things began to brighten up and there were those who had hopes that the cold weather was over with its accompanying snows, north winds and gas failures. But not so, for it was for but one day and then the northern blasts returned, the thermometers dropped, likewise the gas pressure. This morning the official weather taker on the hill showed a temperature of 5 degrees below the zero mark. A strong blast from the north added to the cold to make things disagreeable.... A small amount of wood and coal arrives at the yards every day but by night it is pretty well cleaned up. Wood is being brought in from the country and thus far the supply has been sufficient. Wood is selling for $7 and $7.50 a cord now."
  • "Yesterday morning the pumps at the Water Station began to pump river water into the basins at the pumping plant and today the water was turned into the city mains. Now Lawrence has adopted the slogan, 'Boil the water.' The citizens have been advised that the river water is unfit for use unless boiled, but it was the only recourse open to the Water Company, their wells have gone dry and there is no other place for them to get water except from the river. The scarcity of water at the plant is due to two things. The cold weather that freezes up the streams that supply the ground water for the wells and the increased consumption by the city. People leave their faucets turned on all of the time in order to keep the pipes from freezing up and in this manner a large amount of water is being consumed. The two fires Saturday also used up a large amount of water."

Comments

SpicePirate 2 years, 3 months ago

Scoville U's 100th, huh...WOO HOO!

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pace 2 years, 3 months ago

By the way, I appreciate the presentation of this column, good work Sarah.

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pace 2 years, 3 months ago

I am eager to find out what measures were taken to correct the issues of a gas supplier who couldn't deliver as promised. I assume this was the one of reasons we regulate utilities.

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Tony Kisner 2 years, 3 months ago

Although not in every article Sarah re-prints, the number of fires 100 years ago is striking. It was not easy back then and in the next year, 1912 the flu is going to hit.

PS: my cable is a little spotty at times and the pizza delivery guy is often tardy.

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weiser 2 years, 3 months ago

..and probably the worst part is if you ran out of fuel, you could not boil your water..

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Sarah St. John 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Flint! And you can call me by my real name; I don't mind. ;-)

Most of us have lived through some pretty cold winters such as the one they are describing, haven't we? Although I was really feeling that north wind this morning, I have been enjoying this winter so far. Much more "agreeable" than 100 years ago. :-) Plus, no worries at this time about the natural gas being turned down to a flicker as it was in 1912.

By the way, I don't know what a cord of wood sells for nowadays, but if I pull out the handy-dandy inflation calculator, I see that the folks 100 years ago were having to pay at least between $150 and $170 for a cord during this cold snap. No wonder the poorer folks were suffering.

Kansasplains, I imagine the well-water that the city was (usually) using in 1912 dried up before mid-century and the river was the sole source until the Corps built the lakes. But I'd have to defer to a more knowledgeable source on that.

Thanks again for reading and for commenting! I really appreciate the feedback!

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 3 months ago

Love the wording in this story,how offen do you see ""disagreeable""and"" weather taker"" used in todays LJW writing happenings----keep them coming staff

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

This is absolutely fascinating. How has the water situation changed in Lawrence over the years?

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