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The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
Volume III. Number 6 (March, 1875)

Chippewa Dalles. End of the fifteen years' struggle regarding the improvement,   pp. 480-482 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 481

The Wmeonnn Lumberman.
sufficient depth to give four feet of water
in the channel in low water, thus shorten-
ing the distance by three and a half miles.
The portion, thus cut off is full of rocks and
rapids, the river falling seven feet in less
than a mile, and has proved very disastrous
to rafts of lumber passing down. The
improvement atso contemplates the con-
struction of a dam below the proposed ca-
nal, by which the rapid current of the
river will become ohecked for some five
miles as reckoned by the tortuous winding
of the same, and will also overflow a large
portion of the flat ground bordering the
river above the dam and will make a safe
and long needed reservoir for the holding
of logs for the mills now located, and
hereafter to be located, at and near this
city. Its capacity for that purpose is es-
timated at from 150,000,009 to 200,000,-
000 feet, board measure.
The construction of this dam will also
far in excess of the necessities 6f the city
for hydraulic purposes, and will also im-
prove the navigation of that portion of the
river effected by it for all purposes.  The
surplus of water power over the public
necessities of the city and the privileges
created by the erection of the dam are inci-
dental to, and will follow as the natural ef-
fect of, providing for the imperative wants
of a growing and thriving city, and, it is
claimed, can be utilized by renting such
surplus power and Drivileges so as to reim-
burse the city for its outlay, and at the
same time provide such increased facilities
for manufacturing of various kinds as to
be of great advantage to this entire sec-
tion of country, a disadvantage to no one,
and a benefit to all.
Numerous eff)rts have been made to
secure the passage of a bill by the legisla-
ture to authorize the above-mentioned
improvement. As early as 1860, a bill
was introduced and passed both houses,
but was vetoed by Gov. Randall on the
round that the bill did not provide for a
ockfor the passage of steamers above Eau
Clair, and it was claimed that the river
was navigable to Chippewa Falls 12 miles
Much has been said in the past about
steamboat navigation from Eau Claire to
Chippewa Falls. Upon inquiries into the
facts your correspondent finns that four
years ago a steamboat calculated to run in
a heavy dew did succeed in getting up to
Chippewa Falls and that two years ago a
similar boat also succeeded in getting
to   that   point,  which   is   the
last  attempt  that  has been   made
to accomplish that difficult feat.
Col. Farquhar, in his official report to
the war department of the survev of the
river under date of Jan. 30, 1875, says:
"Between Eau Claire and the mouth of the
river there is, luring the season of naviga-
tion, when the stage of the water will per-
mit, a daily line of steamboats each way;
also between the mouth of the Red Cedar
and the Mississippi rivers. Between Eau
Claire and Chippewa Falls the only use
made of the river is to run logs and raft
lumber." Last fall the people of Chippe-
wa Falls incurred a large municipal, as
well as private debt by constructing a
branch railroad from Eau Claire to their
city, which, while it speaks well for their
enterprise, must be convincing proof to all
that the steamboat navigation between
the-e points is bust a myth, and is only
used as a specious argument against the
construction of dams below them, urged by
interested parties at the Falls. To an
outsider who wishes to give a correct ac-
count of things as he views them, it ap-
pears that after the best of slack water
navigation by the construction of dams and
locks (which is the only way steamboat
navigation between the e points can be
made) had been made, there would not be
steamboat business enough done to pay for
the oil necessary to grease the machinery.
After the vetoing of the Dalles bill in
1860, nothing more was done in the matter
until 1867, when the bill passed the senate
and was defeated in the ass~embly. Not
discouraged however, the lumbermen, con-
sidering the matter of vital importance,
again brought it forward in 1&-0, when the
bill passed the assembly, but was defeated
in the senate by filibustering until the hour
of final adjournment arrived, which was a
disgrace to the senate, and was so charac-
terized by The Times at the time. In
1871 the bill passed both houses and was
vetoed by Gov. Fairchild upon the ground
of corruption. The veto caused great com-
motion in the state, and an investigation
followed, which failed to find that a single
member of the house had been corrupted.
That the friends of the bill worked unceas-
ingly, early and late, to secure its passage,
and that large lobbies at the capital are ex-
pensive they did not deny, and that its op-
ponents worked equally hard to defeat it,
and expended a large amount of money for
that purpose is conceded by all.
Alt of these bills created a private cor-

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