Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 8 - Page 29 to 31, Submitted by Phyllis Hazen, August 2, 2012

Page 29

Five Man Board Directs Affairs of Two Utilities

Administration of Muscatine’s municipal electric plant, as well as of the city water department, is vested in a five man board, known as the Municipal Board of Water and Light Plant trustees. When originally started, a separate board of trustees dissected the administration of the electric plant, following the practice which had been adopted when the city acquired the water works as a municipal utility. Subsequently control of both water and electric departments was unified in the hands of a single board.

Headquarters are maintained in a two story brick office building at the corner of Third and Sycamore streets. Space for the office force and administrative heads of the two departments is provided on the first floor, with the second floor used largely for storage of miscellaneous supplies. A garage at the rear of the building supplies housing for light motor equipment.

Present members of the board are A. F. Grensing, R. L. Roach, L. R. Henderson, George McGaughey and J. M. Roth. W. R. Thorson is general superintendent of the two departments.

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Addition to Muscatine Power Plant
Photo of Power Plant Addition

Pictured above is the brick and steel addition to the power plant of the Muscatine municipal electric plant on Maple Grove road. It was erected adjoining the original power plant building. The addition is 128 by 87 feet in dimensions and 73 feet tall. Provision is made in the new building for housing a new 7,500 KW capacity generator and turbine unit, for the necessary switch gear and control apparatus to go with the new generating equipment, and for a shop and workroom.

Space is also provided in the new power plant structure for the subsequent installation of another generator unit and turbine, when such an expansion is considered necessary, and for the installation of boiler and stoker equipment to drive the generators. Boilers are not being added to the equipment at present. The general contract for the building was awarded to the J. H. Hunzinger Co., of Davenport at a meeting in 1939.

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Muscatine County Bible Society - The fifteenth anniversary meeting of this society was held in the M. E. church last evening. The church was crowded to overflowing. All the evangelical churches in the county, we believe except the Baptist, co-operate with this society. Its financial condition as reported by the executive committee is in brief about 470 dollars in books and money on hand, with a debt of over 200 dollars to the American Bible society, to which this county society is auxiliary. Very liberal collections were raised in some of the churches yesterday, and others will be lifted next Sabbath, which will leave the society in a prosperous condition. On the occasion above referred to, addresses were delivered by Revs. Mr. Stewart, of the First Presbyterian church. Mr. Sullivan, of the M. E. church and Mr. Corkhill, the agent of the American Bible society for Iowa. After these addresses, the following gentlemen were elected officers for the ensuing year. A. Ogilvie, president; J. A. Green and P. Jackson, vice presidents; Rev. A. B. Robbins, secretary; P. Fay, treasurer; and J. Erb and R. McCartee, directors. The pastors of all the co-operative churches are also, ex officio, directors and with the other officers constitute the executive committee. – Feb. 9, 1857.

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Page 30

Electric Plant’s Capacity Doubled
Ambitious Improvement Project at City Utility Now Nearing Completion

Designed to double the generating capacity of the city electric plant on Maple Grove road, one of this city’s most ambitious undertakings in recent years is now nearing completion. Undertaken in the closing days in 1938, when first contracts were let, the improvement and expansion program at the city utility is now in the final stages. Total cost, which will exceed $600,000 is being met partially by a Public Works administration grant, covering 45 per cent of the cost. The remainder is being paid for from earnings of the electric plant.

Building Included.

Included in the undertaking are the erection of an addition to the original power plant building, the installation of a new 7,500 KW capacity generator; addition of a condenser of ample capacity to go with the new generator unit; and construction of a cooling water intake system sufficient to supply cooling water to the generating equipment already in place as well as meet the needs of the new generator unit.

The addition to the power plant building, in which the new equipment is already being installed, is of brick and steel construction, 128 by 87 feet in dimensions and 73 feet tall. The general contract was let at a figure of $128,960 to the J. H. Hunzinger Co. of Davenport.

Boiler Space Included.

In addition to housing the new generator and condenser unit, the new structure also contains space for the subsequent placing of another generator when demands for current warrant such an addition. Space is also provided for additional boiler installations, in addition to space for the necessary switch gear plus a shop and workroom.

The new generator unit, which arrived in the city earlier this year and is now being prepared for use practically doubles the productive capacity of the city utility.

Current for customers of the municipal electric plant is now supplied by four generating units, one of 5,000 KW capacity on which the ordinary demand for current is now being met; plus one 1,500 KW capacity generator and two 750 KW capacity units. These last three generators are ordinarily not operated. Being of older design and relatively less efficient in the production of electricity, they are usually held available for standby service, when it is necessary to shut down the 5,000 KW unit for repairs or overhaul.

Installation of the cooling water intake system was decided upon as a solution for a problem which has long been a troublesome one in plant operation – that of getting an adequate supply of water to the condensers in which steam is cooled after it has gone through the turbines which drive the generators.

The intake system includes a pumphouse located in the Mississippi river outside the levee near the power plant, concrete water tunnels leading from the pumphouse to the power plant, connections with the condensers, plus a discharge tunnel, conducting the water back to the Mississippi after it has served its function in the condensers. Pumps, trash racks and electrical equipment are a part of the equipment installed in the pumphouse, which is of substantial brick and steel construction. The contract price for the pumphouse and tunnels was $75,600. B. Layton of Muscatine received the contract on March 15, 1939.

Use of Current Increased.

When the new equipment is put into operation, the city utility will be amply equipped to keep step with the rapidly gaining use of electric current in the community, which has seen the load handled by the municipal plant mount steadily since it was put in operation first in 1924. It will have an installed generating capacity of 15,500 KW, as compared with an installed capacity of 1,500 KW 16 years ago when operations were started. The present addition to generating capacity is the third in the plant’s history, each, in effect, providing double, or more, the previous possible output of current.

Original Plant Outgrown.

When originally placed in operation the plant contained two generators of 750 KW capacity each. That was in 1924. Three years later the need for extra generating capacity had been shown and a third generator unit was added, this time of 1,500 KW capacity, raising the plant’s total to 3,000 KW of installed generating capacity. Increasing demands for electricity brought about another addition in generating capacity in 1930, at which time a 5,000 KW capacity generator was added, boosting the installed generating capacity to 8,000 KW. Growth in the use of electricity the past 10 years has been such that insufficient standby capacity, or reserve power, was available to insure uninterrupted service and the present expansion program was inaugurated to meet the problem.

The huge gains in demand for current are reflected in records since operations began in 1924. Something like 1,263,000 kilowatt hours were generated in the first partial year of operation. In the year 1925, the first full year, generated electricity totaled 3,288,000 kilowatt hours.

Electricity generated the past fiscal year, ending March 31, 1940, amounted to 19,415,000 kilowatt hours.

Preceding the current power plant expansion project, but allied with it in a program to strengthen and improve the efficiency of the plant as a whole was the completion in 1937 of a new sub-station at the corner of West Second and Pine streets.

Old Sub-Station Inadequate.

This new sub-station replaced the original sub-station at the foot of Chestnut street on the river front, which had become overtaxed as the plant’s output increased. Of fireproof brick and steel construction, the sub-station was placed on a landscaped lot 270 by 140 feet, which also provides additional storage space for poles and other equipment and a parking place for department vehicles.

The building is two stories high, with full basement, the latter including a garage and workroom, plus storage space. Inside the sub-station is the nerve center for distribution of electricity over the city. Included are switches, transformers, control panels and recording instruments, on which electricity, received over two high tension feeder lines from the generating plant, is transformed into suitable voltages for industrial and domestic use and routed over the proper wires to the consumers.

Accompanying the sub-station’s completions was the placing of distribution system wires in the downtown section of the city in underground conduits. Through the construction of concrete tubes underground, through which wires are conducted, the ultimate elimination of overhead wires and poles will largely be possible, eliminating the dangers of interruption in service from fires and storms which are always a threat to exposed wires. Material reductions in the expense of upkeep are another advantage of having wires underground.

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City’s New Pump House
Photo of Pump House

Housing new equipment of the city water department, this 26 by 26 foot pumping plant and control station was recently built of reinforce concrete near the reservoir on Lucas street. To insure against freezing the entire structure is cork insulated.

Included in the equipment inside the structure, which will be put into use in about one month, are three pumps, and metering devices, along with control equipment. The pumps raise water from the concrete reservoir at ground level into the elevated steel standpipe.

One pump is automatically controlled, to maintain a designated level in the standpipe. The second is controlled from the powerhouse and pumping station on Maple Grove road, while the third pump is dual driven, being connected to both gasoline and electric motors, for standby service, so that the water level can be maintained in the standpipe in case the other pumps fail, or in case the supply of electricity is interrupted. The structure was erected as a WPA project. Total cost was approximately $14,000, including equipment.

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Male Teachers Were Missing on 1862 Faculty

Male instructors were a minus quantity for a certain period of Muscatine’s school history. The reason remains a mystery for there is nothing in county records to even hint why the feminine pedagogs ruled supreme.

It was in the year 1860 that members of the board of education dispensed with al masculine teachers and officials – with but one exception – Dr. D. H. Goodno who was then serving as principal and superintendent. Then, from Oct. 1, 1862 to January, 1863, there was not a single male teacher of principal in the system.

But names of Male teachers and principals again appeared on the payrolls of schools in 1863 and their numbers have steadily increased since then.

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A Meeting of the Stockholders of the Bloomington Education Society is requested at the School-House, on SATURDAY EVENING, the 20th inst. To take into consideration the propriety of selling the house, and other business. By order of the Directors. Suel Foster, sec’y.- Feb. 19, 1841.

Page 31

Grandview High School Graduates of 1940

Freda Ashby Lillian Hartman Wanda Shaw
Geneva Ashby Charles Odle Mark Shellabarger
Eleanore Creswell Hilton Odle Betty Spitznogle
Lawrence Eaton Marjorie Oepping Neil Westbrook
Leal Hall Weldon Pace Jean Wies

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Muscatine Has Distinction of Building
First Large Brick School in the State of Iowa

Muscatine holds the distinction of having constructed the first large brick school house in the state of Iowa. Historical records of the county reveal that the school was located on the site later occupied by the Third Ward school, and still later by the Jefferson school building. The latter building has not been in use since the construction of the Jefferson school building on Mulberry avenue. The original brick building was virtually a square structure, measuring 40 feet by 45 feet. It was a two-story structure equipped with numerous large windows.

At the time of its construction, the brick building was known as the district No. 1 building because it was constructed to accommodate children in district No. 1 which at that time was the territory extending east from Sycamore street. A smaller structure had been constructed earlier in school district N. 2, the portion of the city extending west from Sycamore street.

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Bowl For Health!
For Fun!

Muscatine has enjoyed the advantages of bowling, off and on for 50 years. One of the pioneer alleys was at the old Commercial Club in Redman Hall, later removed to the Hershey Bldg. Among the many bowlers were an outstanding team known as “The Old Timers.” They began bowling around 1900 and continued until a few years ago. The roster included Herman Mundt, Charlie Mull, George Nietzel, Larry Flannery, the late Joe Kranz, H. C. Wittman, Orval Rittenhouse, Mike Flannery and Verle Nietzel. Their memories of bowing together are golden ones.

Today bowling is a major social activity of the town. Next year the management of Pla-Mor alleys plans to increase present facilities – nine new alleys are planned.


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Page created August 2, 2012 by Lynn McCleary