[Covers Bridges, Roads, and Floods.]

[Note: I barely scratched the surface, so to speak, of the subject "Bridges" in the early 1920s when I was really zooming in on my favorite topic at that time: "Early Flyers." Below are the items that I picked up from various newspapers. MAW 9/15/2000]

Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, November 18, 1918.


Services of One Are Badly Needed Says Commissioner Murray.

Services of a city attorney to succeed John Parman, deceased, are urgently needed at the city hall, declared Commissioner Murray, this morning, demanding to know what objection the mayor has in naming one immediately. Mayor Hunt replied that a new city attorney will be selected by next Monday. Commissioner Clay agreed to wait until then, but Commissioner Murray insisted an attorney was needed at once to draft some important ordinances and look after the legal interests of the city. First, he put a motion to employ L. C. Brown temporarily. It failed. The mayor advised him to hire any attorney he wanted to look after matters in his department, but Murray claimed no one commissioner had the authority to employ an attorney. It had to be done by the entire commission, he asserted. He put a motion giving him authority to hire a lawyer to draft paving bonds and health ordinances. It was passed.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife, with H. S. Brown, recent candidate for county attorney on the democratic ticket, who pulled a big vote in Arkansas City, being mentioned as a possible choice by the mayor.

Mrs. C. R. Spain and Mrs. A. J. Hunt visited the city hall to report the success of the community market. Mrs. Spain read a very interesting report, declaring the market had succeeded despite its undesirable environment in the old Central hotel building. At first, the report said, the market was viewed with suspicion by both the producer and consumer, but it had resulted in bringing them closer together for their mutual profit. The total receipts from May 4th to November 1st amounted to $3,876.38. Commissions and sale of supplies yielded $223.95. Disbursements totaled $89.63. The balance is $134.32. Mrs. Spain could not say whether the market will be conducted by the women next year. Commissioner Murray said a market ought to be established on the city hall block facing Chestnut avenue, where the producers could rent booths and sell their own products.

The government has removed all restrictions on paving, and G. W. Thurston, Secretary of the Western Paving Brick Manufacturers’ association, declared paving was being promoted more vigorously than ordinarily to give employment to men returning from the ammunition plants, cantonments, and from France. It was encouraged by the government, he said, and property owners contemplating asking for paving are urged to get their petitions in at this time or at least before next June.

Mr. Thurston said he had inspected the paving in this city laid by both Chas. Besler and Jim Stanton, and he pronounced it as good and in some instances better than any paving he had seen in the middle west. Mr. Stanton is laying a lot of brick paving in the city at present, and he expressed the desire to acquire some new contracts. Mr. Thurston said Kansas would be the best paved state in the union in five years.

Commissioner Murray asked action be taken in regard to junking and selling the old pumps owned by the city and the installation of a generator to furnish the juice for the pumps now in operation. He also asked for an ordinance making the Kansas Gas & Electric company assume the entire responsibility for the maintenance of all the bridges on the canal.

He said the war was over now and there was no reason to delay this action longer. The mayor said it would be taken up later.

H. R. Branstetter has been released as inspector of the construction of the new $50,000 city building, his six months contract having expired. It was announced this new building will be completed in six weeks. The plastering and insulation are in progress now.

Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, March 22, 1919.


Representative Howard Made an Excellent Showing in Legislature


R. C. Howard and wife returned home last evening from Topeka, and today R. C. was shaking hands with friends and getting a line on the progress of the city during his absence.

Mr. Howard has made exceptionally good as a legislator and comes back knowing he has accomplished something of real value, not only for the state but likewise for this community.

He says he had the hearty cooperation and valuable help of Representative McDermott, who was a big man in the legislature, and also of Senator Smith in the upper house; and that he likewise cooperated with them on legislation they desired.

Some of the things for which we must thank our mutual friend Dick for are the sprinkling and garbage bill, which makes it possible to have a clean town the year around and distribute the cost of this work proportionately among the taxpayers. This city will now be able to raise a fund of $4,500 for this work, whereas it has been done heretofore by begging for the funds. The paving bill which makes it possible to pave streets to five-eights of a mile in the country is a most necessary piece of legislation, and is more than emphasized with conditions locally. The county pays for thirty percent; city for thirty percent; and forty percent is charged to the property abutting. The city commissioners and county commissioners may do this work on proper resolution. The mechanics lien law is also another of Mr. Howard’s bills. Now the poor cuss who works with a team can procure a lien for the amount of his hire and that of the team, whereas heretofore he could not enforce the collection of the wage for the team by the lien route. The memorial bill was another good measure. It provides an easy and economical way to construct suitable memorials for soldiers. In case of this city, if the people vote it, a suitable levy may be made to provide for the construction of a memorial hall, voting bonds in much the same way as that provided now for public works or buildings.

One of the greatest needs of the entire county now is that of the bridge bill, which makes it possible to construct a $50,000 bridge without a vote, whereas before the amount was so low that a bridge across any of the larger streams could not be constructed without manipulating so as to provide for some improvements which might not be considered necessary.

Mr. Howard lost out on the provision for a refund for state guard uniforms. The bill passed the house, but it failed of passage in the senate.

Mr. Howard speaks in highest terms of the Cowley County delegation, or that part from Winfield, and said they worked hand in hand on all measures of importance and that there was not a hitch anywhere with them. He said one could not tell whether he was a resident of Winfield or Arkansas City from his demeanor on legislation, and the same conditions prevailed with the other members from Cowley. One very significant feature Mr. Howard noted in the legislature was that there was no predominating organization such as has ruled the legislatures heretofore. It was a free hand with all of them and measures had to show merit to get by with them.—Arkansas City Daily News.

The above splendid notice of the efforts of the editor of the Traveler as a legislator makes us feel as if we had eaten a box of dried apples and drank a barrel of hot water—all swelled up. When one’s neighbors and competitors brag on him, it gives him a feeling that he has done his duty and fills his heart with unexpressible emotions. We certainly appreciate the kind words bestowed on us for the work done in the legislature.

Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, March 22, 1919.


Hard Surfaced Highway Across the County Approved by Them.

Petitions Will be Circulated in the Benefit District by Teams

From Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs. D. U. Walker of north of Arkansas City seemed to hit the nail on the head at the noonday good roads luncheon in the Y. W. C. A. rooms today when she declared there was no longer any argument against good roads, because all that kind of argument had been killed by the impassable condition of the roads this winter.

All the farmers present who spoke lined up for the hard surfaced road across Cowley County.

Representative R. C. Howard was the first speaker. He said the main object in the legislature this year was good roads because they improved every community that had them. He also expressed the desire to see good roads running east and west as well as north and south.

Secretary Heffelfinger of the Chamber of Commerce explained the facts about the hard surfaced road for this county to the farmers. He said other parts of the state are taking immediate advantage of the federal and state aid in road building, and that unless this county got busy at once the federal aid might become exhausted before it had a definite program for a new road. Federal and state aid amounts to three-fourths of the cost of the road. The first come will be the first served. The state highway commission said Federal aid is only obtained for the state system of highways already existing, which means that the hard surfaced road across this county will have to be the rock road. The cost of a hard surfaced road is as follows: Gravel road per mile $8,000 [NOT REALLY SURE OF AMOUNT...OBSCURED]; concrete road per mile $34,000; brick road per mile $48,000. The width of the road is figured at 18 feet wide and these figures on the cost are the minimum.

Secretary Heffelfinger said a hard surfaced road from one end of the county to the other and 125 miles additional good roads would cost less than a million dollars. The valuation of this county is $63,000,000 and its taxes last year amounted to $900,000. A large amount of this money was spent on temporary improvements of roads as dirt roads cannot be permanently improved. They are continual expense. The cost of a hard surfaced road figured by the acre would amount to 4-1/4 cents per acre for concrete, 6 cents per acre for brick, and one cent per acre for gravel for twenty years, making the cost of a gravel road per year $1.60, a concrete road a little over $7.00, and a brick road about $10.00.

The petition for the road to be valid must represent 35 percent of the landowners and 51 percent of the land and 51 percent of the landowners, or 60 percent of the land alone. Open bids would be advertised for, and the preference of the people in the benefitted district considered, in the type of roads they want. The plans and specifications would have to be approved by an expert of the department of agriculture at Washington. The benefit area will be two miles east and west of the hard surfaced roads. The state highway commissioner has already approved of this road, which will go through as soon as the petitions are submitted to him.

Neal Pickett said that 70 percent of the money spent on the road would remain in this district, only the cost of the brick or cement going away from here.

Mr. Markham said he is in favor of the hard surfaced road. He said the state grange this year would be held in Ft. Scott on account of the system of good roads there which the farmers wanted to see. He said the roads in this county this year had been worse than he could remember during his 40 years residence in the county.

Ira J. L. Allison said the only opposition to the road would be from those who do not live on the road, which he characterized as selfishness. He said it would be foolish for this county to lag behind when other counties are going ahead building good roads and getting the benefit of the federal aid.

Mr. Holman, Mr. Snell, and Mr. Murat said they were in favor of the road and so did R. B. Baird, who is also anxious to have the scenic highway made into a permanent road. Mr. Rambo said the hard surfaced road was what he wanted if it cost 15 cents per acre.

Secretary Heffelfinger explained that the government was giving federal aid to road building because it wanted to see a system of hard surfaced highways established between all the county seats of the union.

The petitions will be circulated during the next few days and it was believed from the universal sentiment that prevailed among the farmers at the luncheon for the hard surfaced road from the Butler County line to the state line south of Arkansas City, there would be very little opposition.



Dr. Day; Dick Keefe; Jim Gilliland; Ol Paris; Albert Newman; etc.

Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, September 9, 1919.


Albert Newman told of his trip to Maine by automobile, and his experience in driving the 6,700 miles. When they started they had no prearranged plan, but they had all agreed to meet at a certain date at Weld, Maine, and do so. Mr. Newman said that after leaving Arkansas City he had no trouble until he got to Augusta, where a knock in the engine developed. He discovered that the trouble was due to two loose bolts, which had not been tightened in a service station here. After repairing the car he went on to Kansas City and St. Louis. In crossing Missouri he broke a couple of springs, but otherwise he had but very little trouble. On the entire trip he said that he had but three punctures. He found the worst piece of roads in Illinois. One peculiar thing about Illinois was that instead of having bridges across rivers, he had to be ferried over. He had to be ferried over the Illinois river. There were no bridges across the Illinois closer than 100 miles of each other. He passed on through Indiana, Ohio, and into New York, Massachusetts, then to Maine, having a fine time and but little trouble. He claims he made the whole trip without a radiator, which is correct because of the fact that his car is not equipped with a radiator.


Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, September 29, 1919.

The city commissioners met in regular session this morning at the city building and after the routine work, the first business taken up was the proposition that Mr. Southard of North Eighth street had to offer...wants Eighth street opened, grade, straightened, and a two-way concrete bridge put in on Chestnut avenue across the canal...also wanted the water mains extended to take care of that street...later on expected the property owners there would ask for some kind of paving. Matter discussed: no money to handle at present time in street fund.

Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, June 20, 1921.






Two Bridges Closed Here on Account of the High Water.

The Arkansas river is falling at this point today and this morning it was standing at five inches below the high water mark of the present season. The water had lowered here about four inches this noon and was still falling very slowly. It is not known at this time whether or not the present rains will bring more water from upstream. So far the high water in the Arkansas has done no serious damage in this immediate vicinity as it has not been out of its banks here this season.

County Commissioner Carl Dees reports that the Madison avenue bridge over this stream has been closed for repairs. This bridge is one of the old time wooden bridges and it has been damaged somewhat by the sand being washed away from some of the piling. It was closed to traffic on Sunday and will remain closed until the river water recedes enough to allow the structure to be repaired by the county men. The South Sixth street bridge, also a wooden structure, was closed at the time the water began to rise and it too will remain closed until such a time as it can be repaired by the county workmen. The concrete bridges on Summit street and Chestnut avenue have not been damaged in any manner by the recent high water, the county authorities reported today.


Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, June 20, 1921.


Two Bridges Closed Here on Account of the High Water.

The Arkansas river is falling at this point today and this morning it was standing at five inches below the high water mark of the present season. The water had lowered here about four inches this noon and was still falling very slowly. It is not known at this time whether or not the present rains will bring more water from upstream. So far the high water in the Arkansas has done no serious damage in this immediate vicinity as it has not been out of its banks here this season.

County Commissioner Carl Dees reports that the Madison avenue bridge over this stream has been closed for repairs. This bridge is one of the old time wooden bridges and it has been damaged somewhat by the sand being washed away from some of the piling. It was closed to traffic on Sunday and will remain closed until the river water recedes enough to allow the structure to be repaired by the county men. The South Sixth street bridge, also a wooden structure, was closed at the time the water began to rise and it too will remain closed until such a time as it can be repaired by the county workmen. The concrete bridges on Summit street and Chestnut avenue have not been damaged in any manner by the recent high water, the county authorities reported today.

Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, June 22, 1921.


River Rose Here Last Night 5 Inches Due to Local Rains.

The Arkansas river was on the rise again in this locality last night due to the heavy local rains. During the night the water rose about five inches, thus reaching the high water mark of last week here. Today, however, the water was at a standstill and it is thought there will be no further rise at the present time. Yesterday and last night’s rains are said to be the cause of the rise as the precipitation here in the past two days has been more than three inches. Last night’s rain amounted to one and one-tenth inches, as shown by the gauge at the New Era Mill. The rain of the day before was 2.75 inches.

It was reported this morning that a part of the Madison avenue bridge over the Arkansas had gone out, but this is incorrect according to County Commissioner Carl Dees, who is watching the situation here very closely. Both the Madison avenue and the Sixth street bridges have been damaged to some extent by the high water, however, and in each one of them one of the beams is leaning. Both are old-time wooden structures and both are closed at present. They will remain closed to traffic until after the flood waters have receded and they can be repaired.


Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Monday, October 31, 1921.


The city commissioners and the Kansas Gas and Electric company have virtually agreed upon a franchise, and this morning occurred the first reading of the franchise before the city commission.

While it is not contained in the franchise, one of the agreements of the Kansas Gas and Electric company, is that the company will build and maintain bridges across the canal within the city limits wherever such bridges are necessary. While it is possible that the city could compel the electric light company to build the bridges, yet is much easier to have the agreement for it to do so than to go to law about it and spend considerable money endeavoring to build these bridges.


Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Monday, November 7, 1921.


Adopt Agreement With Kansas Gas & Electric Co., To Build Bridges.

An agreement with the Kansas Gas & Electric company was adopted to be effective when this company’s new franchise shall have been adopted by the city. The agreement provides that the company shall build and maintain bridges across its canal at F street, D street, First street, Adams avenue and Fourth street, Washington avenue, Fifth avenue, and Chestnut avenue, and four other locations to be hereafter designated.

According to the agreement all bridges are to be constructed of steel or reinforced concrete and the Fifth avenue bridge is to be of ornamental architecture. City Clerk Sinnott explained that the first of the bridges to be reconstructed under the agreement would be at F street, First street, Fifth avenue, and Chestnut avenue.



Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, November 28, 1921.

In regard to the agreement with the Kansas Gas & Electric Co., in the matter of the maintenance of the canal bridges, Mayor Hunt and Manager Tingley, of the company, stated that the agreement was that the company should keep up the four bridges, located at the following places: Fifth avenue, Chestnut avenue, D street, and First street. Plans are now underway in the electric office for a new structure on Fifth avenue, it was stated, and this would be constructed first. Then the others are to be rebuilt as rapidly as the company can get to them. It was also stated that the agreement in regard to the extension of the street lighting system and the new lights off South Summit street, will be carried out by the company at once.

S. I. Pering was present at the meeting and asked if there could be a bridge put over the canal on B street. He was informed that the street was not opened south of the canal, but the mayor said that the matter would be considered.

Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, January 3, 1922.


Explanation Made of Curious Machine on South Bridge.

That black box fastened to the west rail of the Walnut river bridge on South Main street is part of an apparatus for measuring and recording the rise and fall of water in the river, it was explained today by those who have it in charge. The box has caused a great deal of wonderment and questioning, but no one seemed to know about it. Today it was learned that William Mason, who lives south of the river, near the bridge, is looking after the apparatus.

Attached to the rail of the bridge adjacent to the black box is a horizontal timber upon which is fastened a measuring scale ten feet and one tenth in length. The scale is divided into feet and tenths of a foot. Between zero and three feet the scale is divided by markings, each of which represent two one-hundredths of a foot.

An opening in the bottom of the box, through which projects a short length of pipe, allows a weighted cord to be let down to the water. A permanent marker on this cord is applied to the scale and the reading taken and noted. Mr. Mason says this is done twice a day, morning and evening. The fluctuations in the height of the river are thus accurately recorded.

This apparatus was placed on the bridge several weeks ago by agents of the United States Geological Survey. Its purpose is to record the flow of the river. Similar apparatus has been placed on bridges throughout the country in order to get a dependable estimate on the amount of water available in any given region. Some day this will be valuable in making plans for the conservation of water, or for utilizing the rivers for water power.

Mr. Mason was asked to look after the apparatus because he lives nearby. He gets a small fee for doing it. The daily records are forwarded to the survey at the end of each week.



Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, March 27, 1922.

Charles W. Lusk, the city engineer, submitted a suggested plan for the Chestnut avenue bridge across the canal, the plan being furnished by the Kansas Gas & Electric company. According to this plan the bridge would be located just to the south of the present bridge and angling a little nearer east and west so as to somewhat straighten the road at this point. The plan calls for a reinforced concrete bridge. No action was taken on this matter at this time.


Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, April 3, 1922.

The bridge plans for bridges across the Kansas Gas & Electric company’s canal on Chestnut avenue, First Street, and F Street were presented by City Engineer C. W. Lusk. According to the plans submitted, these bridges are to be built of structural steel and reinforced concrete, and each of them will have a center pier and the roadway will be slightly arched. The foundation of the Chestnut Avenue bridge will go to solid rock, as does the Fifth Avenue bridge, while the bridges at First Street and F Street will be built upon a pile footing. The general plans were approved by the board as regards location, appearance, structure, and dimensions.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, April 11, 1922. Front Page.

County Commissioner Carl Dees, who made the rounds of the county bridges near this city this morning, reported that a part of the abutment to the West Madison Avenue bridge, at the east end of the bridge, had been taken out by the high waters and that this structure will have to be closed until after the flood has subsided and time is given to repair the damage. There has been a great amount of drift wood in both of the streams since they began rising several days ago, and the county road men have been on the job dislodging the drift from the bridges night and day since the flood waters came. The men who made the rounds of the bridges this morning for the inspection were compelled to go to the East Madison avenue structure in a boat as the water from the Walnut is almost up to the Santa Fe tracks on this and several of the other roads leading east from the city.

Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, April 11, 1922.

Man Riding a Log

There was a weird story being related here this morning in regard to parties who saw a man riding on a large log down the center of the Walnut river here on Sunday afternoon. There seems to be no one who can be located at this time who really saw the man in this predicament but, nevertheless, the story was being told today. Those who are inclined to believe the story are wondering whether or not he gained the bank safely and how far he rode down stream on the log before being rescued, or was saved by his own hands.

Higher Than Last Flood

It is said that the present high water in the Arkansas is higher by at least two feet than in the recent flood here, at the time the Colorado waters came down in this stream. For a time last night and this morning the residences of a part of the Third ward were in danger of being flooded but this afternoon the serious situation there was said to be past and no one has moved out so far as is known at this time.

H. S. Benshoof and family, who reside between the Arkansas and the canal, a short distance north of the Chestnut avenue bridge, have abandoned their home as it is entirely surrounded by water and is located on very low land.

The force of laborers employed by the Land and Power Company of this city have been busy ever since the rise in the Arkansas, working to keep the headgates on the canal from going out. The gates were still intact this afternoon and the force is still on the job there.

Condition in Third Ward

The condition in the third ward has required constant attention during the past twenty-four hours and City Commissioner F. L. Thompson has been on the job, overseeing the work, most of that time. It became necessary to do considerable diking on Sixth street next to the Sixth street bridge; and for this purpose, Commissioner Thompson put on a force of men with twelve teams and up to noon today, had prevented the water from spreading out over the low lands in the south part of town. The diking was done on the west side of Sixth street just north of the bridge. This caused considerable back water to spread over parts of the Third ward west of Sixth street, giving the people in this section of the ward considerable trouble, but as soon as the water in the river recedes the dike will be opened up and this water allowed to run off.

Thompson reported water was running very close to the edge of the high bank of the river at the south end of the Summit Street bridge.

Could Have Been Worse

Had the above diking not been done, the water would have inundated that part of town where the city wells are located and extended east across South Summit street clear through to the Santa Fe railroad. This was prevented by the timely action of Commissioner Thompson and his force and by being constantly on the job to take care of the dike at points where at different times it was about to break through. As a consequence, the damage to this part of town was held down to the minimum and so far as learned no serious damage was sustained by property owners.

The Sixth Street bridge, which is an old one, having been originally built about forty years ago, and which had been expected to go out for several years past every time the river gets very high, still stands and has given no trouble except to condemn it during the period of high water. Parties who crossed this bridge yesterday, coming from the country south of here, stated that it was unsafe at that time.

County Commissioner Carl Dees is of the opinion that the bridges here, with the exception of the West Madison Avenue structure, which has already been damaged, are safe now and that they will withstand the flood waters provided the waters in either stream do not come any higher than at the present time.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, April 11, 1922.

Tom Knapp, the well known taxi service man, says he made one of the hardest trips yesterday he has made since he has been in the business. He took some telephone linemen from this city to Maple City, where they desired to make some repairs. The distance to Maple City is 17 miles, but Mr. Knapp traveled a total of 45 miles to make that point. In order to get there he followed the rock road to Winfield, crossing the Walnut river on the bridge just south of Winfield. Then he went to Dexter and from there south to Otto and doubled back to Maple City. On account of the muddy condition of the roads and the hills, particularly between Dexter and Otto, he had to run his motor in low and intermediate gear much of the way. He made the trip o.k. however.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, April 12, 1922.

RECAP: High waters and strong winds hampered the local exchange of the Southwestern Bell Telephone company: 24 poles down, and the toll line at Silverdale was put temporarily out of commission. In order to repair this damage, local linemen had to travel a distance of more than 100 miles, although Silverdale is located within 9 miles east of the city. To get across the Walnut river, it was necessary to detour to the rock road bridge just south of Winfield. At Geuda Springs on the northwest, men had to wade in water up to their hips in order to get to the poles that were down. A number of poles were under water on the Walnut river, the principal trouble being on this river and at Silverdale, Oxford, and Geuda Springs. Men at work averaged 18 hours a day.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, April 12, 1922.

Both the Arkansas and the Walnut rivers have been falling today and within a short time now it is expected that the waters of both streams will again be inside their banks.

It was reported last night, for the second and third time since the waters have been so high, that the East Madison bridge was out, but this was denied by the county authorities today.

County Commissioner Carl Dees reports that the West Madison Avenue bridge will have to be closed for repairs as the abutment on the east end has been partially washed away. Aside from this the bridge seems to be in very good shape, considering the highness and the strong flow of the water in the past few days.

Persons residing east of the city were able to come to the city today and ford the shallow water on the west side of the Kansas, the Madison, and the Chestnut roads. Members of the country club may now proceed to the club house and the golf links by the regular route, east on the Kansas Avenue road and cross the Walnut on the new concrete bridge.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, April 12, 1922.

J. M. Tucker was arraigned in the state court of J. W. Martin here this afternoon on the charge of driving an auto while he was in a drunken condition. He was not taken to Winfield as the district court judge refused to grant an order to take him there on violation of his parole, it was stated this afternoon. Tucker will also be fined in the city court, it is said. He was arrested by the police last night.

Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, April 12, 1922.


Three Boys Brought in Yesterday, Fishless and Clothesless.

Three Arkansas City boys who went fishing yesterday just above the dam three miles northwest of town on the Arkansas river met with some wholly unexpected experiences which furnished excitement not usually incident to the life of a fisherman or expected by pleasure hunters on a fishing expedition, according to a report made by Arthur Hill this morning.

The participants in this fishing event were Bud Sospburg, W. B. Bethel, and R. W. Hide. They constructed a three-log raft which they were using, and on which they had most of their clothing, hats, and shoes. The breaking away of the canal at the point where they were located caused a rush of water; and as a result, they lost control of the raft. In order to save themselves, they caught onto the branches of a tree and pulled themselves out while the raft came on down the canal. They were left with but little wearing apparel, most of their clothes having come down with the raft. In this plight they were compelled to hike for town and presented a spectacular aspect, when they were later picked up by Arthur Hill in his automobile near the Chestnut Avenue bridge which spans the Arkansas river west of town, and delivered to their respective destinations in town, fishless, and nearly clothesless, but rich enough in adventure.


Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, April 13, 1922.

Damage to the bridges in Cowley County as a result of the floods will amount to several hundred dollars and may go over a thousand, it was said at the courthouse today. Several small bridges have been washed out and some larger ones have been rendered unsafe for the present.

The bridge at West Madison avenue, Arkansas City, on the Arkansas was closed yesterday, it was reported, a part of the pier at the east end having been washed out. It cannot be repaired till the water goes down.

The Spahr bridge in Harvey township went out in the freshet, it was reported to County Commissioner Robert Goforth yesterday. A stone arch on the Tisdale road, about four miles east of town was partly washed out, so as to be impassible, another report stated. This is not the arch across Silver creek near the Canston place, but on a small branch west of that place.

The Arkansas river is reported two feet higher than it was at the time of the Colorado flood last June. It has begun to fall slowly, however, and further danger is over for the time being, it is believed.Courier.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, April 14, 1922.

Bolton News

The high waters of the Arkansas river furnished a fruitful topic for conversation this week, in West Bolton. While the river has been very high this week, it cannot compare with the high waters of 1904. That year the river extended to the foot of Guthrie hill, on Madison avenue, where it flowed several feet deep.

The enormous rain of Saturday marks an epoch in West Bolton history. This rainfall measured a fraction over four inches in eight hours. Creeks became rivers and rivulets developed into sizable creeks. Traffic was tied up and everything which could find shelter remained there. While this rain was unusually heavy, June, 1917, a heavier one fell. That one measured nine inches rainfall in twelve hours.


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, April 15, 1922.

J. B. Ambrose, of the Arkansas City Sand company, reports that his company is again doing business on the Arkansas river west of the city after an enforced vacation on account of the recent high water in that stream. Yesterday the company hands, with the machinery at the pumping station near the Madison avenue bridge, loaded and shipped out eight cars of sand.

The Arkansas river sand from this point is in great demand all over the country for building purposes and the local company expects to get its share of the business this spring and summer. The work of yesterday was the first done there for a week or more, on account of the high water and the recent wind storm.

Mr. Ambrose also tells a good joke on himself and the company, which was the result of conditions of the elements, and which might have been prevented, had the men of the company known just what turn the elements were going to take on a certain occasion.

The company had a large raft, or barge, located on the Walnut river, which was used in the pumping of gravel from that stream, and during the high water in that river, the barge was towed from the main part of the stream, where there was lots of back water, in order that it might not break loose and float down the raging stream. Now the boat is on dry land, as the water fell several feet in the night recently, and naturally the barge had to remain there, as it was anchored. Now, there is going to be a big job for someone in getting the heavy barge and the machinery which it contains back into the stream.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, April 21, 1922.


Stump Puller is Used to Pull its Wobbling Legs in Place.

During the recent high water, the bridge on East Madison avenue held the center of attention. It was expected to go out at any minute. Why not? It is an old bridge and one of the hind legs was wobbling away out in the surging waters. About all it was fit for was to furnish the people who crave excitement with the spectacle of this old landmark being taken down the stream.

Now it is learned that this old bridge has a habit of acting this way every time a big flood comes. Commissioner Carl Dees says that after every flood, they have to hunt around in the water to locate those drum piers, then they use a stump puller to set them back up in place, and the old structure remains peaceful and contented until the next storm comes along.

Mr. Dees said he believed this bridge would stand for several hundred years and be expected to go out every time the water arose, but of course the stump puller would have to be kept on hand.

He said in a regular county commissioner tone of voice what amounted to the declaration that this bridge must go to the junk pile, and that a modern reinforced concrete bridge would probably span the Walnut at this point some time next year.

Only yesterday traffic across this bridge had to be suspended pending the suspension of its spans in proper form, the workmen evidently trying to get it in line with the new administration, so to speak. But why worry? Aren’t we promised a new bridge?


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, April 21, 1922.

Work of repairing the damage to the West Madison Avenue bridge, caused by the recent flood, and which has kept the bridge closed ever since, will probably be started Monday, County Commissioner Carl Dees stated today. The principal part of the material has already been assembled for this purpose.

The embankment on the west end of the bridge was washed out and it was considered cheaper to build the bridge out to solid ground than to rebuild the embankment; consequently, piling and other material has been secured for this purpose and the pile driver is also on the ground. The work is in charge of Emmett Green.

Excerpts from a very lengthy meeting...

Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, April 24, 1922. Front Page.

Mayor George McIntosh met with the opposition of Commissioners Thompson and Sturtz at the meeting of the city commissioners this morning, with the result that most of his unconfirmed appointments were turned down.

The city engineer submitted plans for the bridge to be built across the canal on F street, which plan was accepted. The commissioners then adjourned.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, May 16, 1922.

"Work on the new headgates of the canal was started this morning, and will be finished as soon as the workmen can do it," remarked District Manager Tingley, of the Kansas Gas and Electric Co. "A lot of steel and other materials for the headgates has already been ordered. It is expected to arrive here so as to continue work without delay. Other necessary materials have also been ordered, and prompt shipment is expected."

The new headgates will be located a short distance southeast of the river and at the point where there is a ditch cut to carry the overflow of the water back into the river. The new gates will be just a little lower than the dam, and a short distance east. The dike along the canal that was washed out is to be repaired and when this is done and the new headgates completed, the old headgates will be removed and a bridge placed across the canal at that point.

Those who have driven up the canal to the headgates and the river will recall where the Midland Valley and the canal come together about three-fourths of a mile north of Chestnut avenue. It is the intention of the company to build a bridge across the canal at this point as well as a bridge across the canal where the present headgates are. It is also the intention of the company to make a scenic road from the point where the Midland Valley road and the canal meet, north of Chestnut avenue on both sides of the canal up to the present headgates, which will be superceded by a new bridge. From there a road will be built north along the Arkansas river to the Geuda Springs bridge across the Arkansas. The two roads on each side of the canal will be sufficiently wide to pass, and be made perfectly safe for driving. The road that is to be opened north of the two roads unite at the present headgates and will be put in good condition so that driving over it will be a pleasure.

The company will build these roads on each side of the canal and put them in good condition for the purpose of inducing people to drive over them so as to harden the banks, so that it will make it more difficult to have a washout. When this new road is completed and the bridges are in across the canal, it is thought this drive along the canal and up the river will become very popular because of the short cut to Geuda Springs and also because of the scenery along the road.


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, May 27, 1922.

A new cement bridge across Grouse creek at Cambridge will be built soon, it was announced today. A survey has already been made and estimates of cost are soon to be figured.

The new structure is to replace a steel bridge, it is understood.—Free Press.


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, June 3, 1922.

Winfield, Ks., June 3.—Plans for the proposed new bridge over Grouse creek at the western edge of Cambridge are being made in the office of County Engineer W. S. Ruggles. The tentative plan now under way is a concrete girder bridge of three spans of forty feet each. It is probable that plans will also be drawn for a stone arch bridge. When built the new bridge will replace the iron bridge now at that place and which is not suitable for the heavy traffic now going over that road. County Commissioner Robert Goforth is very desirous of having the work start as early as possible.


Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, June 8, 1922. Front Page.

Charles H. Sharp and W. N. Smelser, of Emporia, officials of the Standard Auto Signal Co., which purchased a plant in this city last week, and will manufacture a new auto signal device here, arrived in the city last night to look over their prospects here and to assist the manager of the plant, Fred L. Johnson, to start the $200,000 factory to moving.

Chas H. Sharp said, "I voice all that Mr. Smelser has said in regard to Arkansas City, and I am not a stranger here. I have been in the city before, and was on the job here when the stone arch bridge across the canal, on South Summit Street, was erected by Contractor Walter Sharp. I also assisted in the construction of the stone arch bridge across the Walnut river, near the Dunkard mill. I am not a relative of Walter Sharp, but I have been employed by him as foreman on several of his big jobs. I am a contractor and know that line of business."


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, June 10, 1922.

Winfield, June 10.—Three bridges are at present under construction by the county in Cowley. Work on two is progressing rapidly; work on the third is being held up by lack of steel.

The Ninth Avenue Bridge work is coming along rapidly. Quite a proportion of the work has been done. Work on the Cambridge Bridge is also going on. The Priest bridge is waiting on steel. A shipment got lost, and the bridge is waiting its delivery.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, June 14, 1922.

The Kansas Gas and Electric company has begun the construction of the bridge across the canal on F street, having put a crew of men to work there this morning. This being a side road, the bridge will be much less pretentious than the Fifth Avenue bridge, but it will be a bridge of substantial and permanent construction combining structural steel work with cement.

Some days ago the electric company put a dam across the canal just below their plant, and have been pumping water into the canal from the Walnut river. This water backed up the canal past the Fifth Avenue bridge. In order to begin work on the F Street bridge, it was necessary to have the canal drained at this point. In order to do this, a second dam was put in below F street to prevent the water from backing up, and the canal above this point was then drained.

The purpose of the company is storing up this water, pending the completion of the headgates and reopening of the canal, is to have a supply of water to operate the local electric plant in case the high line to Wichita should be cut off, as was recently the case resulting from a storm. At that time the city was in darkness several hours owing to lack of water in the canal, and the company has taken precautions not to allow that emergency to find them unprepared to take care of it quickly.

There are two other bridges to be constructed across the canal yet this season, according to the city’s contract with the company. With the building of new headgates, repairing washouts, and building bridges, the company has its hands full this season. A big redeeming feature of these operations is that it employs a large number of men. In the end it will also mean a big improvement in the electric company’s property here.


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, June 24, 1922.

Winfield, Kan., June 24.—The new construction at the east end of the bridge on West Ninth is almost completed. The several concrete spans which, when poured, will finish the wooden trestle, sixty feet in length, were finished a few days ago. Forms are being placed for the hand rails, which when poured, will finish the work. New week will probably finish the entire job. It will require two or three weeks, however, for the concrete to season enough to let the bridge be opened for traffic.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, June 27, 1922.

Delay in getting steel beams is holding back the construction of the Dutch Creek bridge at the Deichman place two miles north of Wilmot, it was stated in the county engineer’s office today, according to the Winfield Courier. In the slump in steel prices after the war, stocks of steel beams were allowed to run low. Now the demand for structural steel is again in big and there is difficulty in getting beams of the size wanted. Mills are four months behind with their orders, it is said.

The Deichman bridge was formerly concrete. The gravel used in the concrete turned out bad and the bridge got in such a condition the commissioners had the floor taken out. The concrete girders are to be replaced with steel "I" beams, twenty inches from the bottom. Six beams are required to make the width required. Each beam is forty-two feet long, giving a bearing of one foot on the pier at each end. The concrete slabs carrying the eighteen-foot roadway will be built on the beams. The ridge consists of one main span of forty feet between piers, and one approach span of twenty feet.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, July 11, 1922.

Winfield, Kan., July 11.—Ninth Avenue Bridge will be open for traffic Wednesday, if the county commissioners can get teams to do the necessary work on the fill at the east end, it was stated in the county engineer’s office this morning. The bridge has been closed since May for the purpose of construction of a new concrete span to take the place of the old wooden trestle which formed part of the approach. Traffic has been going by way of the Riverside bridge for all parts west and northwest since the work began. This has been a very great inconvenience, not only because of increased distance, but also because the road along Riverside to the bridge and from the bridge to the Country Club road is not very good, especially when it rains. All the people who have occasion to take the road toward the west will welcome the opening of the bridge.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, July 12, 1922. Front Page.

RECAP: Arkansas River still on rise: now stands at 9 feet, 11 inches above low water mark. It is within two feet of the high mark reached during the March flood and the low lands are being flooded. Walnut River is rising...standing at 14 feet. East of the city there are several bridges out and others badly damaged. Grouse Creek was higher than ever known before according to old timers there. Silverdale bridge is out and turned completely over in the creek. The water was three feet over the floor of the bridge when at the highest point. The approaches to the Sterling stone arch bridge are out and it will take at least a week to repair this damage. On the Cedarvale road a part of the Wilson bridge is out. There is also a large cement culvert on the north Geuda road that is out—this is on the Yoder road, northwest of this city.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, July 12, 1922. Front Page.

Rescued by two men in a row boat from an island which was formed by the high waters in the Walnut River, southeast of the city last night, was the experience of Jay Thompson and his sister, Mrs. Lula Wilson, after the wife of Mr. Thompson had become uneasy in regard to the safety of her husband. He had gone to that location to work his farm land, and not having returned at a late hour, she had reported the matter to some of her neighbors, who in turn reported to the police station.

Chief Dailey sent the night desk sergeant, Frank Ketch, together with Deputy Sheriff F. A. Eaton, Judge W. T. Ham, Dwight Moody, and A. E. LeStourgeon, Jr., to the location where the man and woman were said to be in danger from the flood waters and Moody and Sam Smock, a resident of that locality, went in the boat across the several hundred feet of back water which was in some places ten to twelve feet deep, and brought Thompson and his sister to safety out of the dangerous zone. They were not harmed, but the water was dangerously near the house where Mrs. Wilson resides and they could not otherwise have got to the main shore that night.

The alarm was given to the neighbors by Mrs. Wilson, who with her husband resides in the extreme northeast part of the city. The water rose so rapidly that Thompson was marooned with his sister, who resides in the house which is now located on the island. They would have been compelled to remain there overnight, had not the rescuing party been formed late at night. They could not reach any of the neighbors by phone, as there was no phone at the Wilson home.

Judge Ham, being a former resident of that vicinity and having knowledge of the surroundings, was called and he in turn called Eaton and Moody, the latter securing the boat. Today the water is receding there. The house is not in danger, but Thompson will lose most of his melon crop. Thompson and Mrs. Wilson were cared for at the Smock residence last night, following the rescue, which was effected about midnight.

Word was received in the city today that Mr. and Mrs. Merle Matthews of near Cameron, in the vicinity of Grouse Creek, which was higher Monday night and yesterday than ever known before, were rescued from their home Monday night by relatives, who went there in a boat and took them from the house. At the time, there was a foot of water in the house and it was rising. Following the rescue of Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, they discovered that they had lost 500 small chickens in the flood of that night.

From Silverdale comes the report that Jim Gibson, of near that place, lost 150 head of hogs in the flood; and George Brown, of the same neighborhood, lost 100 head. It was reported here this afternoon that the north end of the Cameron Bridge, over Grouse Creek, was out and some of the county authorities are there today looking after the repair work.


Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, July 13, 1922. Front Page.

The flood situation in and about this city this afternoon was appalling due to the high waters in both the Arkansas City and the Walnut rivers and at 2 o’clock the Arkansas River lacked only two feet of being at the point where it was in 1904, at which time it was higher here than ever known before. It is about twelve feet above the low water mark, which is considered a very dangerous point here.

The city wells located in the Third Ward near the Arkansas River were in great danger of being inundated this afternoon and the water on the west side of the Sixth Street driveway was about two feet above the level of the street. A large gang of men with teams was at work there all last night and today, building a dike on the west side of Sixth Street in order to keep the water from breaking through at this point. It is said that the motors at the city wells are located higher than the water could possibly reach, in case of a break over there, but should the wells be overflowed by the water from the river, they would be put of commission for some time.

City Commissioner F. L. Thompson and Street Foreman John Post are in charge of the work of building the dike on South Sixth Street. The South Sixth Street Bridge has been damaged by the high water and it will be closed until further notice, according to County Commissioner Dees. All other bridges here are o.k., he says.

The Arkansas was overflowing the West Chestnut Avenue Road west of the river this afternoon and several houses in that locality were surrounded by water. The homes of Messrs. Payne and Morgan, in that locality, were in danger of being flooded provided the water comes much higher. The residence of H. S. Benshoof, located near the river and north of Chestnut Avenue on the east side of the stream, has a foot and one half of water in it today and the family moved out of the house last night. The land on which Benshoof lives, and a part of which he is farming, is entirely submerged.

On South Summit Street, the water is overflowing the road on the north side of the river, at which place it cut a new channel during the flood of 1904. The water in the street there was more than a foot deep at two o’clock.

The Walnut River stood at 15 feet, 5 ½ inches, at two o’clock this afternoon, the gauge at the Arkansas City mill showed, and the water was still on the rise. It is higher now than for a number of years past.

Another large bunch of grief, due to the high waters in the Arkansas River, is reported by the Kansas Gas and Electric Company at the new head gates under construction near the head of the canal just north of the big river dam, three miles north of the city. The water broke through from the river between the dam and the canal inlet, and washed away the canal embankment on the upper side of the piling where the headgates are being built, and rushed across the canal with such volume and force that it washed down two boilers and two tool houses and left nothing but the derrick standing. Practically all the equipment, tools, and material went down with the flood waters, which extended east of the canal to the Midland Valley railroad. Just how far down the current the boilers and engines were carried could not be determined because of the deep water, being hidden from view.

The company had constructed a temporary dam at the canal inlet and another dam of sheet metal piling where the headgates are being constructed, the purpose of both these dams being to make the canal bed dry so as to permit work on the headgates. Both these dams stood all right but it was the canal embankment between them that the flood waters from the river hit with such force as to wash it away and havoc was wrought with the construction equipment. The heavy stuff will probably not be washed far downstream, but one of the tool houses was reported to have been seen lodged at the old headgates.

No estimate of the loss has been given out, but it will be hundreds of dollars. This is the third big loss the company has sustained on the canal due to high waters, this season. The first resulted from the high waters of two months ago, when a large section of the canal embankment at this place, which was about seventy-five feet in length, was completed. This new work was all washed out and had to be reconstructed using heavy rock that could not be washed away. The work on the new headgates was progressing in good shape when this last disaster happened, meaning another serious setback and much additional expense.


Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, July 13, 1922.

Bridges are out in several places as a result of high water according to reports to the county engineer’s office at Winfield. Those reported with some degree of verification are:

East bridge over Grouse Creek at Silverdale. There are three other bridges on Grouse at Silverdale, all of them south of town. These are said to be standing.

Bridge at George Steel place on Silver Creek. All approaches to this bridge are out, leaving the concrete structure standing. It was overflowed and water and driftwood knocked off the railing on both sides.

Bridge at Dick Chase’s place on Badger Creek.

Limbocker bridge on Timber Creek north of state school.

The culvert and causeway at Glackin’s place a mile east of town on the Tisdale road was partly washed away, leaving only a single trackway for a considerable distance.


Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, July 13, 1922.

Winfield, Kan., July 13.—People are being kept off West Ninth Avenue Bridge this afternoon by two deputy sheriffs, sent there for the purpose by County Commissioner Crotsley on advice from the county engineer’s office. The engineer regards the bridge as perfectly safe so long as some structural defect does not develop. Should that happen the pile of drift lodged against the east spandrel of the main arch might crush the bridge. If this should happen with people on the bridge, much loss of life would likely take place.

The bridge was thronged with spectators until the deputies came. The people were warned that an accident might happen at any time, but as is usual with crowds, the warning went unheeded. The commissioner then ordered the deputies to the scene. If this precaution had not been taken and if a loss of life had occurred there, the county officials would have been criticized for their neglect. As it is, no accident may take place; but there will be no loss of life if it does.

The Baden Bridge is also closed. It was boarded up Monday on account of the rotten condition of part of the flooring. Fir running boards have been laid on the original oak floor, the oak having become badly worn and warped after years of use. This oak has decayed under the fir planks so that a car broke through on one side there Monday. No damage was done, but it was thought best to have no more of that. A new floor will be laid as soon as possible.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, July 14, 1922. Front Page.

The flood conditions in and around Arkansas City, occasioned by the recent rise in the Arkansas and Walnut rivers, were more encouraging today than yesterday, as the Arkansas is at present on a standstill and the Walnut has fallen nine inches in the past 24 hours.

The force of men and teams at work on the dike on South Sixth Street were on the job all night and all day today, and in spite of the fact that there has been tons and tons of earth piled up on the west side of the road, the city wells have been in great danger for the past 48 hours. This morning the water had seeped under the street at that location and also through the sand dike there and water was standing in the alfalfa field near the city wells. In the street there the ground was very soft and there have been no cars or other vehicles allowed in the street at that location since last night. Foreman John Post stated this morning at nine o’clock that the Arkansas was at least five inches higher than it was last evening. This afternoon it was reported by those who should know the facts, that the Arkansas was on a standstill and that it should be falling by night.

The young apple orchard belonging to Albert Faulconer and R. C. Dixon, located on the north side of the road on West Chestnut Avenue, and west of the river, was inundated last night and there is about a half a mile of back water in the road at that location. The water has not damaged the orchard, it was stated this afternoon and will not be likely to do so, unless it should stand there for a number of days, which is not likely at this time.

County Commissioner Dees stated today that the West Madison Avenue Bridge had been damaged at the west end by drift wood and that it would have to be closed for several days at least, for repairs. Two of the piling there have been washed away.

The South Sixth Street Bridge is also damaged a great deal and will be closed for a month, it is said.

The plant of the Arkansas City Sand Co., on the Arkansas River west of the city, has met with a heavy loss on account of the present flood, but that plant will be in operation as soon as the water recedes, it was said today.

Hi Benshoof stated this afternoon that the Arkansas had fallen an inch and a half today and that in his opinion it would continue to fall. Hi says that he is 59 years of age and that last night was the first time he had been able to say he could not go home to sleep. His home has several feet of water in it and Mrs. Benshoof is staying with her daughter, Mrs. Ed. Reed, in the city at present, while Hi is staying at the camp of the force, which is at work on the new headgates up the river, and is sleeping with one eye open, when he has the opportunity to sleep at all. "But things will be brighter some day," he says.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, July 14, 1922. Front Page.

J. W. McEwen, a farmer living ten miles southwest of this city, had a narrow escape from drowning this forenoon at about 10 o’clock while attempting to ford the flood waters just west of the West Chestnut Avenue Bridge on the Arkansas River.

He got into a low place that had been washed out in the road and the current of swift water caught his phaeton, overturning it and throwing him out in deep water. Both he and the team were in danger of drowning. The first man to reach Mr. McEwen was Ernie Wilson, who lives on the north and south road a mile west of town. Through Wilson’s unaided efforts he got the drowning man out of the deep water into the road where the water’s depth was but two feet. Several men were on the bank, but refused to respond to the call for help. About this time Charles Betts, the garage man, and John Floyd, of Sollitt & Swarts drug store, happened along. Floyd was on his way to Drury Park for a vacation. Betts immediately assisted Wilson and the two men got McEwen to dry land and safety, and succeeded in getting the horses out, but the buggy still remains at the roadside turned upside down. Mr. McEwen’s home was reached by telephone and some of his people came after him and took him home. Word from his house late this afternoon stated that he had not been hurt. However, when the men got him out of the water, they rolled him in the road in order to resuscitate him.

Mr. McEwen is 73 years old and was coming to town to market some chickens and eggs. He had about three dozen chickens and a case of eggs. All of the chickens were drowned with the exception of three or four. The eggs were destroyed.

Up to the time that this near-drowning took place, the road had been kept open to public travel, but was then immediately closed and guards put at both sides of the flooded area, which extended from the bridge to the Midland Valley railroad, a distance of nearly half a mile.

The first word of the near-drowning was brought to town by two small boys, who had gone out to the bridge on their wheels. They were Harry Collinson’s nine-year-old boy and W. E. Olin’s little boy of about the same age.

At three o’clock this afternoon the river at this point had fallen one inch below the crest line.

Just north of the half-mile-stretch of road here is Dixon Valley Orchard, which is an orchard of comparatively young trees. The water all over this orchard would swim a horse, according to Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Cutler, who have all the Dixon orchards in charge.

In close proximity to danger, there is always the humorous or comedy element. While the reporter was getting the thrilling escape of McEwen from drowning, Mrs. W. B. Harwell and daughter were attempting to wade from the road to their house in water that was about two and a half feet deep. They got into a good-natured water fight of three rounds, which resulted in a draw, both parties having been thoroughly soused in the water.


Story No. 1.

Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, July 14, 1922.

Pat Somerfield and John Floyd were the only two members of the Country Club who braved the high waters of the Walnut River last evening to reach the club grounds. They made the trip in Somerfield’s whoopee and went out on the Madison Avenue road. On the east side of the Madison Street Bridge, the water came up into the car about a foot and they had to be towed through, but the car reached dry land and the motor was started. It ran like it had been just newly tuned up.

Story No. 2.

Speaking of golf bugs, Ralph Dixon and John Floyd were so determined to play a match yesterday that they braved the Walnut flood waters on East Madison Avenue, in a whoopie with C. Somerfield to reach the course. The car got stalled in deep water and was towed to the other side by a team. Somerfield gave it one crank and the engine whirred again. They got back the same way. Dixon won Floyd’s silver buckle.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, July 14, 1922.

Winfield, July 14.—More definite reports on damage to bridges in this county by the high water of the past few days was to be had at the office of the county engineer this morning.

This modifies earlier reports, both for better and for worse. Commissioner Robert Goforth reported that all the bridges in his district, the northeast part of the county, came through all right and are standing, though roads have suffered badly from the wash.

Loss at the Limbocker bridge, on Timber Creek, due north of the state school, is reported as partial. The bridge proper, it is stated, is standing, though yesterday’s report had it that the bridge was gone. Only the wooden approach at the south end went out, it is stated today.

Overthrow of the steel bridge on Grouse Creek east of Silverdale is confirmed. The water got over the bridge and the rush of drift carried away the structure. On the other hand, the report that the three bridges south of Silverdale were intact is said to be incorrect as to one of them. This is a stone arch bridge which was badly wrecked, when the water and drift went entirely over it. The top part of this stone bridge is practically all washed away, leaving only the "ring" of the arch, except at one end. The "spandrel" at one end, that part of the structure which fills over the lower part of the arch and supports the road at the level of the top of the bridge, was torn out by the force of the flood. Part of the spandrel at the other end remains.

The George Steele bridge on Silver Creek, reported yesterday as a concrete bridge, is a stone arch bridge. It too, has been stripped by the flood.

Approaches to nearly all bridges in the county were damaged by the high water. And all over the county, particularly in the heavy rain zone, roads have been badly cut across in many places.


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, July 15, 1922.

County Commissioner Carl Dees reports that Trustee Smith, of Silverdale township, has sent word here regarding the new route to Maple City, from this point, occasioned by the recent high waters at Silverdale, and on account of the bridge over Grouse Creek at that point being out at present. The new route, which will be laid out by the county commissioners and who will repair the road and put it in shape, is as follows.

Leave the city on the East Madison Avenue road, and keep straight ahead to the foot of the Starkey hill, which is the first hill beyond Horseshoe hill, thence south to the state line, thence east on the state line road for four miles, thence north into Maple City. This makes a detour of eight miles, but it is the best route from here to the east at this time. It will take some time to repair the damage to the bridges around Silverdale and Cameron, but the county commissioners will have this done as rapidly as possible, it was stated by Commissioner Dees today.

Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, July 18, 1922. Front Page.

Reports from Hackney this afternoon were to the effect that there was a Mexican laborer drowned in the high water of the small creek at that place at 9 this morning. The Mexican went in bathing and cramps seized him, it was stated, and his companions rescued him from the water. He was taken to a shack, but all efforts to revive him were fruitless and he died soon after. The name of the Mexican was not learned here. The body was taken to an undertaking home in Winfield.

The creek at Hackney was about one inch higher today than it was during the flood of last week. The road between this city and Winfield was impassible for some time this morning on account of the high water near Hackney. There was a rainfall of 3.20 inches at Winfield and the Walnut rose again this morning several feet. More rain, which was accompanied by a strong wind and much electricity, visited this section of the state early this morning. Both the Arkansas and Walnut rivers rose again. The deluge of this morning at Hackney washed out the interurban bridge again and today there was no freight being handled between the two towns. Passengers are being carried to the bridge, however, from either side of the stream and being transferred there. This bridge was washed out at that location last week and was repaired only last Saturday.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, July 19, 1922. Front Page.

City commissioner Frank L. Thompson brought in the word about 5 o’clock last evening that the Sixth Street Bridge had washed out. This is the oldest bridge on the river at this point, having been built more than forty years ago, according to Mr. Thompson. The city commissioner, together with John Post, the street commissioner, and assistants, witnessed the washout. At about 4:15 two bents went out and fifteen minutes later four more bents were taken out, while several more bents were taken out between 3 and 4 o’clock this morning. When the first bents went out, Commissioner Thompson got in his car and went to the South Summit Street Bridge to be there when the wreckage and drift reached that bridge. He said the drift had taken a long and rather narrow shape and was headed directly toward the center pier of the Summit Street Bridge.

The center of the drift struck this pier, and Mr. Thompson said it seemed to divide and break up the drift. He watched it until it came to the Santa Fe Bridge, where it was pretty well scattered out and passed under the bridge without doing damage. It was a big drift that had lodged against the Sixth Street Bridge and seemed well toward the bottom of the river, according to Mr. Thompson. The river lacked about two feet of being as high as the high water mark of last week.

Just after the first two bents went out, Commissioner Thompson stated that there was a boy standing on the end of the next section. When this section went out a few minutes later, he was fearful that the boy might have gone down with it. He watched to see if the boy was on the drift, but saw nothing of him. It was later learned that the boy had got off this section before it went down.

Last evening Commissioner Thompson had left a watchman on duty to keep watch during the night with instructions to call him if help was needed. As the river was rising pretty rapidly about midnight, Commissioner Thompson was called, and a force of men was put to work to dam up the Third Ward ditch at its mouth to prevent the water from the river backing up. The men had an all night job of it. Along towards morning the river reached its crest, and the water began slowly to recede. The only damage was the washing out of the bridge.

Bridge Damages Great in County

County Commissioner Carl Dees stated this morning that the extent of damages to bridges in this county would reach around $100,000, and that there was no money available for rebuilding. He said that the only way the matter could be handled would be to call a special election for a bond issue to secure the necessary funds for reconstruction. It is doubted if the Sixth Street Bridge will ever be rebuilt, as plans have already been in contemplation for a new bridge on the West Madison Avenue road, and the road travel can easily be diverted to either the South Summit Street Bridge or the Madison Avenue Bridge.

Madison Avenue Bridge Closed

Commissioner Dees further reports that he is having difficulty in keeping people from using the West Madison Avenue Bridge, which he closed temporarily and is still closed. They tear down the barriers at the ends of the bridge, although the barriers are built of one by sixes and big spikes were used to nail them up. This morning the commissioner put up an additional barrier a half mile west of the bridge. At this point, it is only a question of detouring about four blocks to reach the Chestnut Avenue Bridge. Mr. Dees says that somebody is going to get drowned if they persist in using this bridge, which is as dangerous during high water periods as the bridge that went out, each of them being very old bridges and of similar construction.

Much Drift Wood

Yesterday afternoon and last night there was plenty of drift wood coming down the Walnut and there were also sprinkles of oil on the stream, which indicated that the high water was coming from as far upstream as the Butler County oil fields. Last night Emmett Green and a part of his force of county road workers, were on the job at the concrete bridge on East Kansas Avenue, dislodging the drift wood from around the structure and causing it to float on down the stream; and in this work, they had a large audience all during the evening until darkness drove the crowd back to the city. All the other bridges were watched the same way. It was reported this morning that the Walnut rose several feet in the night and was rising slowly all forenoon.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, July 26, 1922.

The West Madison Avenue Bridge across the Arkansas River is open for public travel, County Commissioner Carl Dees announced today. This bridge rests on wood piling and during flood periods the water comes up close to the floor of the bridge. Drift going downstream makes it dangerous for travel. A new bridge has been scheduled at this point by the county commissioners, sometime in the near future.


Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, August 2, 1922.

County Commissioner Carl Dees reports that the low water bridge over Grouse Creek at Silverdale will be open for traffic this evening. Work on this structure has been going on ever since the high water there and now the county road men are about to complete the job. This bridge will be all right until there is high water again, such as there was three weeks ago, and in that event it may have to be built over again, but there is no likelihood of the water coming that high again. This is a wooden structure, but will answer the purpose; and those traveling on the road east of Silverdale will not have to detour out of the regular road any longer, the commissioners says.


Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, August 10, 1922.

Winfield, Kan., Aug. 10.—Roads and bridges in Cowley County are steadily getting back into better condition than they were in just after the big rains in July, the county engineer’s office reports. Temporary structures have been put in place of some for immediate relief, and permanent bridges have been begun in one or two places.

One of the important pieces of work is the bridge on the New Salem road a short distance west of Maple Grove school, where a culvert about six feet across was washed out in the flood. The work of building a bridge there has begun. This bridge will have a span of sixteen feet with a road width of twenty feet. The waterway under the bridge will be six feet deep, giving a clearance of 96 square feet to the floods which may come hereafter.

The rock road from state line at Chilocco reservation, to Arkansas City is being resurfaced. A scarifier is being used to tear up the rock and gravel, after which scrapers will bring it to grade and a roller compacts it. The graders have been having considerable trouble because of thieves stealing their tools and equipment and breaking down their barriers.

The engineer is now making preliminary surveys for a new bridge on Grouse Creek east of Silverdale. A steel bridge at this place washed out in the recent flood. What kind of a bridge will be built there has not been determined. Plans will be prepared for several different types.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, August 11, 1922.

Winfield, Aug. 11.—Approximately a hundred thousand dollars will be raised by this year’s levy of a dollar and a half in the thousand for the bridge fund of Cowley County. The assessed valuation of the county is $67,217,000 this year. Last year, with a valuation of $70,000,000, the bridge levy was fifty cents in the thousand, making a fund of about thirty-five thousand. Damage caused by the July floods, washing away of some bridges, and partial destruction of others is the cause of the large emergency levy this year. The bridges which took many years to get, must be replaced as soon as possible.

The levy of $1.15 for county general will raise about $77,000.

Road levy of ninety-five cents will raise about $63,000.

Bond fund, twenty-five cents, will be about $16,800.

High school, fifty cents, will be about $33,000.

Poor, and poor farm, twenty-nine cents, will be about $19,500.


Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, August 14, 1922.

Winfield, Aug. 14.—A temporary wooden bridge on Timber creek on the road north of the state school has been finished and is now open to traffic. It is a low line bridge, a few feet above the normal stage of the water.

In planning for the new permanent bridge at this place, the intention of the highway engineer is to do away with the dangerous turn made by the detour of the road to get to the old bridge. The trees and undergrowth have been cut out on the section line, straight through, so the survey can be made for a straight road, north and south. Indications are that good rock foundation for the piers will be found at practical working depth. A concrete "T" girder structure is planned for the new bridge site.

The old bridge was placed where it was because the road went that way. The creek at the place the section line crossed was not fordable at the time the road was laid out, hence the deflection to the west.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, August 18, 1922.

H. B. Walker of Manhattan, member of the state water commission, was in the city yesterday making an investigation of flood conditions in connection with the Arkansas River here. Mr. Walker was sent here on authority from the governor’s office, it is reported, to investigate complaints being made to the state by farmers on the Arkansas River near the dam and also in the vicinity of the West Chestnut Avenue bridge.

He met the farmers, headed by Allen Chaplin, whose post office is Geuda Springs, at the Osage Hotel yesterday. They took lunch at the hotel and in the afternoon, in company with C. B. Tingley of the Kansas Gas and Electric company, went to the vicinity of the dam and the canal inlet 3½ miles northwest of the city. What the state engineer’s report on his findings will be is not known. Attorney Albert Faulconer met with the party at the Osage Hotel. He has some orchard land which he claims is being damaged by channel conditions in the river. Farmers near the dam complain that the bottom of the river is filling up just above the dam, which causes the water to spread out and in flood times doing much damage to their land.

The trouble near the Chestnut Avenue bridge seems to be one of long standing, and arises from the fact that garbage has been dumped at the west end of the bridge and filled in until the river channel has been narrowed to two bents of the bridge; and in high water periods, making it impossible for the narrow channel to properly carry off the water.

It is claimed that both the city and county may come in for damages resulting to adjacent land from channel conditions here. Another feature that would be involved, it is said, is the fact that several acres of new land has been made here, and some of this land has changed hands, selling at a good price.

The present conditions have been slowly developing for years past, being now a history which only the old-time citizens can relate. There are indications now that something is going to be stirring in the not far distant future, and the final developments may be written in court records. What will grow out of the fact that the river channel at the Chestnut Street bridge is too narrow remains to be seen.

Also, what will grow out of conditions at the dam is as yet unwritten history. However, it is likely the state engineer’s report will shortly be known.

Work on Headgates Held Up.

Mr. Tingley reports that a force of men was laid off at the new head gates this morning. This is due to the fact that a shipment of steel sheet piling has been held up on account of present railroad transportation conditions. Men are still at work making dirt fills in the neighborhood of the headgates, but construction work on the gates will be held up until material can be received.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, August 22, 1922.

Winfield, Kans., Aug. 22—Sunday a heavy motor truck broke through the temporary bridge over Grouse Creek at Silverdale, County Commissioner Carl Dees announced today. Only one wheel broke through, but twelve boards were smashed.

The truck, a heavy one, went upon the bridge and the driver speeded up to take the hill on the opposite side. One rear wheel smashed a board and the truck crashed ahead, breaking eleven other boards. No other wheel broke through. The truck was en route from Tonkawa to Sedan and was part of a show. The truck was held up by the accident, not getting free of the bridge for several hours. The floor gave way about ten o’clock that forenoon and the truck did not get out until nearly three o’clock in the afternoon.

The original bridge was washed out during the flood in July and a temporary structure has been put in place just above the low water mark. Cribs filled with stone were let down and flooring laid over these.

Surveys are being made for a permanent bridge to take the place of the old steel bridge as it was ruined by the flood.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, August 25, 1922.

Work on the rock road south of town, which was begun at the state line, is progressing northward, and the first quarter of a mile is completed with the exception of additional rolling.

This road, from the state line to the city limits, is being built entirely of crushed rock. The original rock in the road is being loosened up, then on top of this comes a course of crushed rock, while the top is finished with rock crushed more finely. Each course is sprinkled and rolled and rerolled. The width of the paving is 18 feet.

Each time water is put on the road, it is rolled until the water ceases to go in but is pushed forward ahead of the roller, showing that the rock has been sufficiently packed to prevent the water being taken up.

The edge of the rock paving is being heeled in with earth, which extends to the drainage ditches on each side, insuring that the paved portion will be amply drained.

The road construction here is the same as on the rock road between this city and Winfield, with the exception that the finish is of crushed rock instead of gravel.

The opinion is expressed by some men, who have had considerable road experiences, that travel will wear the surface, creating rock powder which will blow away, and that to prevent this a binder of some kind is needed.

City Commissioner Frank L. Thompson, who with a reporter went to look at the road yesterday, is of the opinion that if the chamber of commerce wants to experiment with oil sprinkling, it could do no better than to conduct the experiment on this piece of road.

It is Mr. Thompson’s belief that with oil used as a binder, this method of road building would prove ideal.

At present, travel is detoured a mile west at the I. X. L. school house, one mile north of the state line. When the work reaches the north portion of the road, detouring is going to be very inconvenient, owing to the washing out of the Sixth Street bridge.


Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, September 2, 1922.

Frank L. Thompson, commissioner of streets, is getting prompt results in his request made upon railroads in regard to fixing their street crossings in this city. The Frisco had a force of men at work yesterday on the West Chestnut Avenue crossing, and all their crossings are being put in good condition. The Midland Valley road is using Joplin chat on its crossing in this city, in connection with oil. This is said to make a very satisfactory crossing, it being claimed to be far superior to wood crossings. The Santa Fe’s crossings are reported by the commissioner to be in fairly good condition. The Missouri Pacific, which has some crossings here which need attention, has not yet responded to the commissioner’s request.

Commissioner Thompson is also doing some other long-needed road work. He is graveling the stretch of road on South Summit street, between the end of the paving and the river bridge, using a gravel from the east bank of the Walnut river, which is about half mixed with river mud.

This gravel is wet when it is put on. Mr. Thompson first tried it on West Madison avenue from the end of the Moore refinery. The street here had been so rutty and full of chuck holes that it was not only a very disagreeable road to travel over but dangerous to car springs.

The use of this gravel has converted it into a fine piece of road. The river mud seems to make just the right kind of binder. The South Summit street road leading to the bridge has been a great religion destroyer for many moons. The variety of language used along the stretch is liable to be converted into amens, when the traveling public sees just what a good road this flint gravel with river mud binder makes.

Mr. Thompson is still strong in his contention that the county is making a mistake in surfacing the new rock road between the city and the state line with soft crushed rock. While the roller being used is big enough to roll it out perfectly smooth, the city commissioner believes that auto travel will wear the surface and it will blow away.

He thinks that oil or tarvy should be used as a binder, and inasmuch as much of the chamber of commerce is getting ready to experiment with some oil sprinkling, he thinks they could do no better than to try the experiment on this road. County Commissioner Dees has so far not expressed himself in regard to Mr. Thompson’s conclusions.


Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, September 5, 1922.

Winfield, Sept. 5.—A delegation of farmers living in the country southwest of Arkansas City visited the county commissioners Monday morning at the courthouse and asked that the Sixth Street Bridge at Arkansas City be placed in repair. Part of the bridge went out during the floods in July.

The commissioners had contemplated abandoning the bridge and building a new road to connect with other bridges. A bridge is located about a mile above the wrecked bridge and another is to be bound about the same distance below.

The delegation pointed out that they were hampered in sending their children to school and asked that the commissioners reconsider their decision to abandon the bridge.

The commissioners are going to view the bridge and estimate what it will cost to put it in repair. They may reconsider their decision and the bridge may be repaired this fall.


Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, September 8, 1922.

County Commissioner Carl Dees reported this morning the letting of a bridge contract yesterday by the board of county commissioners for the construction of a "T" girder concrete bridge, on Grouse creek near Cambridge. The contract was let to Campbell Brothers of Kansas City, whose bid of $13,900 was the low bid. The new structure will consist of three 40-foot spans. It displaces an old steel bridge, which was one of the first bridges built in the county. Campbell Brothers got the contract against four other bridges.


Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, September 11, 1922.

Sixth Street Bridge.

A representation of citizens from the south end of Sixth Street across the river was present at the city commissioners meeting this morning to make inquiries with reference to road work in that neighborhood. The citizens presenting the case were C. E. Case, W. D. Stephens, and W. O. Waite. They asked that the road from the south end of the Sixth Street bridge be repaired from the bridge to the top of the hill.

However, the discussion of most public concern was with reference to getting the children living there to the Third Ward school. The present difficulty there is due to the washing out of the Sixth Street bridge. The citizens had consulted with the county commissioners and they asked the cooperation of the city in helping them to get a new bridge.

The discussion disclosed that the county commissioners claim they cannot build this bridge owing to lack of money in the bridge fund. Bridge building resulting from washouts recently throughout the county will wipe out the fund of one hundred thousand dollars available according to plans already made, which do not include a new bridge on Sixth street.

The county commissioners promised to afford immediate relief in the matter of getting the children to school by using the part of the old bridge not washed away and constructing a foot bridge across the gap.

Traffic is being detoured to the South Summit Street bridge, which is a narrow bridge, and it is pointed out that it would be very dangerous for children to cross this bridge, and that the bridge is too narrow for the ordinary traffic, to say nothing of the additional traffic now being detoured to this bridge.

The citizens present seemed to be unanimous in the proposition that it would be better and cheaper in the long run to build a new concrete bridge across the river on Sixth street than to build a road from the south approach to the bridge down the river to the South Summit Street bridge and then widen the bridge to accommodate the traffic, which proposition, it seems, has been under consideration by the county commissioners.

All were against the proposition of any attempt being made to repair the washed out bridge, it being pointed out that what is left of it is worn out, the bridge having been built 40 years ago.

According to indications the only thing that can be done at present is the proposed temporary foot bridge for the children. The matter of doing the road work requested was referred to the utility commissioner, who stated that he thought that matter could be taken care of within the next thirty days.