THE City of McLeansboro
With its 2,500 energetic, go-ahead, far-reaching citizens, fully alive to the best interests of the community, and who are ever on the alert for any and everything that will tend to the city's growth and prosperity.
The location of the city is set upon a hill, the public square, such as portrayed in this article, being its crowning point. Here the great majority of the business houses can e found, the streets radiating east, west, north and south, being beautifully lined with handsome dwellings, set in well-kept lawns, and shaded with trees giving such an air of refinement and home-like comfort. The city has ample transportation facilities, being on the main line of the L. & N. railroad and at the junction of the Shawneetown branch of the same road. It is 100 miles from St. Louis, 60 miles from Evansville and 40 miles from Shawneetown, on the Ohio river.
The city of McLeansboro is one of the most fortunate cities in the United States. Nearly four years ago the city council by ordinance adopted into law the principle of municipal ownership for all public betterments including electric light and water works. It was declared to be the policy of the city government that the city erect, install, own and control its own electric light and water works plants. These policies although somewhat unpopular with some of our people who had not studied the questions at the time have become universally popular since they have become thoroughly understood. The electric light plant was constructed and put in operation over three years ago. The city has forty-four arc lights for street lighting, each of 2,000 candle power and is supplying to the citizens as customers for rental about 1,000 incandescent lamps of an average 16-candle power. The total cost to the city of the entire light plant as now constituted was $12,082.06. The electric light plant is now practically self-supporting. The rent for incandescent lights paid by citizens pays all the expenses of maintaining the plant. This demonstrates the wisdom of municipal ownership. This gives the city its street lights for the interest on the cost of the electric light plant. The rate of interest to the city would be 5 per cent, and 5 per cent on $12,082.06, the total cost of the plant, would be $604.10.
THE WATER WORKS SYSTEM
Of McLeansboro was commenced in 1898 and completed in the spring of 1899. The power is furnished from the power house of the electric light plant. By the use of an electric dynamo in the electric light power house connected by wire with an electric motor at the pump house the water is pumped and delivered through the water mains into a 60,000 gallon water tank by electricity. The main features of the system include a compound duplex pump capable of producing 399 pounds pressure, an electric dynamo, an electric motor, one mile electric poles and wires, about five miles of water mains of 4, 6 and 8 inch diameter, and an all steel water tank and supports 120 feet high holding 60,0-00 gallons with fire plugs and all the accessories necessary to a complete system.
The total cost of the water works plant when completed and accepted was $22,219.66. Of this amount $13,000 was paid out of the proceeds of city bonds, bearing 5 percent interest, issued by the city, and sold at par; and the remainder has been paid out of funds then on hand, and out of current revenues. In 1899, $3,000 of these bonds were paid and $3,000 more have been or will be paid in a few days. This leaves the city owing only $7,000 on its water works plant when the revenue of 1899 for water works has all been collected and applied. It was a fortunate thing for the city that the water works were constructed just at the time they were. They were put in when steel and iron were at the lowest price ever known. The same materials and water works pumps, if constructed now at the present price of steel and iron would cost at least $40,000.00. The plant was completed so late in 1899 that very few persons could connect with the mains before winter. It is believed and confidently expected that the city will sell enough water before the year is ended to pay all the operating expenses of the plant. The water is taken from two wells, each 200 feet deep at the old fair grounds. There is no better water in the world. It is considered by experts to be equal to the best of the waters at the springs of the greatest health resorts in the world. The supply is considered fully adequate to all the needs of the city, and other wells can be made when needed, as the water supply is unlimited. The total expense of operating and maintaining the water works plant is comparatively very small. All the work is done by electricity, from the electric light plant. No one is needed at the pumping station. It is believed that no other city has so economical an arrangement for furnishing water and light as McLeansboro. If the same careful forethought and good judgment shall always prevail in the management of these city plants as prevailed in their conception and construction, the people of the city will be able to enjoy the benefits and blessings of good light and good water at less than one-fifth the price paid for the same amount of light and water by other cities where the cities do not own the plants.
The whole management of the plants is under the immediate supervision of Mr. B. D. Clover, who has had charge since December, 1896, and is ably assisted by C. J. Sneed and W. E. Davis, both of whom are native of McLeansboro.
The city is divided into three wards and the government
is vested in the mayor and a board of six aldermen who are elected biennially.
The present incumbents are:
J. H. Wilson, and W. H. Woodworth represent the first
Council meetings are held the first Tuesday in each month.
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