” Survey Shows ‘Abnormal’ Siltation in Lake Charleston”

This article is the very first page of my grandfather’s scrapbook.  In fact, it is glued to the front cover on the inside.  I think this must have been in 1954 as there is also a receipt on this page dated March 4, 1954 from my grandfather.  It is for receipt of money from him to the Hospital Building Fund and it is signed by a Laura L. Winter, Sec’y.


As you can see, these are from 1954 so I am pretty positive that the above articles are, in fact, from 1954.


Above and below the following articles in the scrapbook are lots of notes made by Grandpa.  He may have just been sharing his opinions. I will not share them as I do not know the situation.  Nothing bad is written, I just decided not to share, but I have no problem sharing the articles. The water situation was of a great importance to him and to the city as I have so, so many items on this, including an entire book, green in color, that has map after map and many more things.  Well, the water situation was of great importance to everyone.



This article was in the scrapbook in the middle of all of the other water articles.


I have heard of a Bob Black, but I am pretty certain it is not this Bob Black as the age would not match.  Perhaps, his father?

Does anyone know why he signed it, “Your son, “?

I remember when I worked at EIU in 1974 a story was told of Eastern looking for a place to settle.  They had a few towns to consider. I remember the story that water was an issue.  When the people determining just where to build Eastern, the committee or whatever, were to come through town, even though there was a water issue, they wanted everyone in town to stand outside along the route and water their lawns or wash their cars and smile and wave to the committee as they passed through.  This was to show that we had plenty of water!  I think the offer made to the committee was free water and they would not be billed for 50 years or something like that.  I am not stating this as a fact.  It is just what I remember being told.  In fact, we repeated it to students and their parents visiting EIU.  If you would like, you are welcome to make your own comments correcting me.  I did not go into all of the detail that I was told regarding this story, but it is a shortened version of what I was told. I thought it was a delightful story and it made me smile to hear it.  I loved how they planned this to “win” the home of EIU.

3 thoughts on “” Survey Shows ‘Abnormal’ Siltation in Lake Charleston”

  1. Deborah here is part of a report on how the Normal School was won for Charleston.
    “One of the prime considerations in the selection was the availability of an abundant supply of good water. A member of the Board, Trustee M.J. Walsh, was charged with the duty of going from town to town to secure samples of water to be used for testing by the Board. One night when the summer’s heat and drought were at their worst and no one suspected that he was within a hundred miles of Charleston, Walsh “rolled in” on the midnight Big Four train from the west. Fortunately, the bus driver (the bus from the train station to the hotel) recognized Walsh as he was transporting him to his hotel and began passing the word.
    When Walsh rose to take the early east- bound train, he was greeted everywhere along the way to the depot with people sprinkling. Water flowed on every hand as though the supply was inexhaustible. Walsh, needless to say, left the village with a very profound regard for Charleston’s water supply.
    Some claim that the residents of Charleston also played another little trick on poor Walsh. In the middle of the night, the story says, the hotel clerk sneaked into his room and switched the vial containing the water sample from Charleston for one filled with treated tap water. Not surprisingly, on the very day the site of the School was selected, the Board was informed by the St. Louis chemical firm conducting the tests that Charleston’s water was the finest and purest of all.
    The competition officially ended Sept. 7, 1895, when Charleston was selected by the Board of Trustees. “To the People of Charleston: Charleston wins on the twelfth ballot.”
    Another report states that the Fire Department set up hose lines on the four corners of the Square and shot water over the Courthouse. At the time Charleston’s water was extremely low due to drought. Water pockets in the river above the waterworks were being dredged out so that they would flow to the waterworks and water usage was being restricted. Charleston pulled a fast one.
    In August of 1947 the newly constructed Lake Charleston began filling to provide Charleton with a reliable water supply. Im sure the silt problem just 7 years later was a huge concern for the City fathers at the time.


  2. The map of the lake doesn’t look like the lake of today…. unless I’m not picturing it right…. Very interesting


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