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Mason County Memories

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1914 James Street Sewer project History Column 111 Dave Petersen November 12th 1914 the news of the day was centered around the building of the Great South James Street Sewer. It was heralded as a "substantial monument to Ludington's foresight and progression in civic improvements." The construction was taken on by Prang and Vanderweele Brothers Construction out of Grand Rapids and was estimated to cost 68,000.00. Our first illustration from the Ludington Chronicle shows the preliminary work done to put up the supports and braces for the sheet piles in the center of James Street, the Wm Stram building is to the immediate right of the photo. The construction of this trunk sewer, almost a mile long extended out to Washington Avenue. The machine used in digging the trench was of the same type but smaller then the one used in digging the Panama Canal. Quoting from the article " The ladder like construction of the excavator is called the boom and to it is attached the clam shell bucket which at the same time digs and removes the dirt. When this is to be done the structure revolves on it's axis, the boom is lowered and by means of a steel cable which winds around a sheave when the engineer turns the lever, the two jaws of the bucket comes together and encloses the dirt. " The boom then swings out, the lever is reversed and the dirt dumped. The tunnel reaches a depth of 16 feet and when dug as an added support to the sheeting, three rows of wooden beams are lowered and held in place by the pressure of cross beams. Work on the Ludington job started about June 10th and according to Mr Vanderweele should be completed about the first of next May. It is the intention of the firm to continue work all winter, giving employment to about 35 men." Other news of the day included the start of the Tabernacle Revival with 2,000 people in attendance. It was seen as a means to "bring the morally lax in closer touch with the church and God." The ending of the 37th consecutive season for the Cartier Mill which had been rebuilt in 1912 at a time when most mills were closed, closing, or had given up. The mill closed the season having produced 1 million feet of pine, 5.5 million feet of hemlock and hardwood, 5 million shingles, 1 million lath and 75,000 barrels of salt. John Spidel and William Love held up the Sauble Inn and were awaiting trial. In marine news Captain Pugh was featured as having had a hand in organizing a meeting of the 12th Lifesaving District Captains that was to take place in January 1915. The purpose of the organization was to form an association that would provide help, support and a means to share ideas among the 31 lifesaving stations on Lake Michigan. Vorce and McIntosh had an ad for Sootless Coal (No clinkers) for 5.00, Joseph Williams Electrician had an ad tempting people with the idea that they could have electric lights for Christmas. At Newberg and Allard you could pick up those stylish new shoes for the holidays. In Amber news "Mrs Frank Barclay and children Roberta and Charles were in town shopping." In Wiley news, " Mrs. Henry Paasch and baby, and Mrs Hattie Paasch visited her sister Mrs. William Lande last Sunday." Officer Upper the new motorcycle cop was credited with arresting 5 of our towns finest for speeding and exceeding the speed limit 10 mph in the business section of town, 15 in other areas of the city and 25 mph in the country. I have to wonder if roads in the country were really good enough to sustain 25mph speeds in 1914 and what a thrill it must have been at that time to travel at that speed down a dirt road. If you have any stories or photos that you would like to share please feel free to contact met at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com.

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