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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (May 21, 1911)
The Omaha. Sunday Bee.
PAGES 03JE TO FOUR.
FOE AIL THE NEWS
THE OMAHA BEE
BEST XX TEX WEST
VOL. XL NO. 43.
Omaha's Official Housekeeping Staff Covers a
MAHA'S houiekeeplnK costi flat million
Ol dollars a yr, and considerable besides
I In the way of "paying for a dead
m v 1 1 v j t t. . m iv. Hi.. .
The city's housekeeping staff Is
large, considerable of it very active, a
fair percentage middling busy, and
some not busy enough to keep In good fighting con
dition. Bo me members of the big staff are alive and
thinking, perforce, more hours every day than the
law allows, according to strict union rules; some few,
it has been said by their brethren, don't know they are
alive. Still, as they all show up with commendable
promptitude on pay day, the rumor alleging continual
' bodily torpidity cannot be entirely true.
This housekeeping staff for the city of Omaha
Is made up of various groups, boards, "gangs'' and de
tails. The word "gangs" is, of course, used in the
working sense, primarily; though there be those who
sometimes apply It In the political sense with some ve
hemence, when they speak of city hall employes.
Unlike the ordinary housekeeping, this thing of
taking care of Omaha's housework is not confined to
one building, although many of the workers do labor
In the city hall and are not compelled to tempt
the storm or the stress of weather. And talking of
' "storm and stress" makes It convenient to say here
t that when the storm rages hardest and the stress is
on for keeps the active men of the city engineer's and
the street commissioner's departments accumulate
some anxiety. At such times things break or give
way, banks cave, sewers stop up, and unless close tab
la kept on the danger spots damages result that mean
heavy expense to the city.
City Engineering Department Handles Big End.
The big end of the city engineer's housekeeping falls
to the department of the city engineer. Here Is cen
tered the responsibility for the planning and opening
of all new work, whether new streets, grading, pav
ing, curbing, sewers, sidewalks, crosswalks, everything
connected with the streets except cleaning the sur
face. The street commissioner used to have charge
of repairing the streets, but that work is now in
the hands of the city engineer. All public corporations
must deal with the city engineer when they want
to dig boles In the pavements or break up the sur
face of the streets for any purpose.
Last year the city engineer's department had at its
disposal the sum of f 164.t33.80, of which 117,001.80
accrued from miscellaneous receipts. The department
spent-$164,439.69, leaving a balance of 1504.11.
Over thirteen miles of repavement aud new pavement
was laid last year, In the streets and alleys, mainly
In the down town district. This does not Include the
pavement laid by the street car company. The cost of
the pavement laid was $615,683.23.
At this time the total amount of pavement on the
streets of Omaha is 132,718 miles, which has cost
tT.TI7.199.68. To this must be added work under
contract and not finished at the close of last year,
amounting to $227,230.
Of curbing there was placed last year 85,286 linear
feet, at a coat of $65,582.83. i
Of sewers, 9.333 miles were laid In 1910, at a cost
f $112,100.37. The sewer department, in charge of
City Engineer Craig, laid 1.121 miles, including new
catchbaslns, costing f 2 1.897.63, and at the close of the
year 120,000 worth of sewers under contract were
j-fejoij Zerrjclf Handling Cro3SY3l2zS
unfinished. In this department plans have been pre
pared for upward of $300,000 worth of sewers to be
laid this year.
Sidewalks, Crosswalks, Viaducts.
As will be noted from the Illustrations the city
engineer now runs a stone crosswalk foundry. So
heavy was the demand for crosswalks last year, be
cause of the great extent of the new home building,
that 407 stone crosswalks were laid and 137 wooden
ones. The two and a half miles of concrete cross
walks cost the city an average of 19 cents a square
foot, or 67.2 cents per linear foot. For the wooden
crosswalks the cost was 41 cents per linear foot. The
duration of the stone crosswalks is reckoned as ten
to one against the wooden.
New sidewalks laid In 1910 totaled a trifle over
twenty-five miles, of which seventeen and two-tenths
miles were of artificial atone and the rest of brick.
Omaha now has 329.64 miles of sidewalks costing an
aggregate of $1,260,032.
Among other Items of Improved housekeeping pro
posed for this year by the city council are six new
viaducts: Across the railroad tracks on Locust street;
Nicholas street below Sixteenth; Eleventh street, to re
place present viaduct;- Bancroft street, Dodge street
and Mason street At present the city engineer has
supervision over eighty-one existing bridges, of which
eighteen are steel, four combined steel and timber, and
fifty-eight timber. 1 The railroads maintain twenty
seven of these structures, and the city maintains the
others. S'lx new bridges were built by the city last
Asphalt Repair Plant Owned by City.
It would be bard to recognize the old Capitol av
enue market house in the substantial new structure in
which is located the city chemical department and the
headquarters of the asphalt repair plaut. built of the
old material. The new building represents a cost of
$6,916.25 complete. Mr. Craig estimates It should pay
for Itself in a very few years. It Is at once a work
shop and a storehouse. Everything, from nails to
machinery and cement, Is bought by one man, the
purchasing agent of the department, and it is checked
in and out of the plant. Old shovels even must be
accounted for, and broken tools of any kind must be
turned in with a report. In this way nothing is unac
counted for, and someone is responsible and pays if
A loss does occur.
At this city plant the old asphalt torn from the
streets ordered repaved is worked over and is then
used to repair the streets wherever they require re
surfacing in patches. During 1910 23,854 square yards
of asphalt was laid by the repair department, at a
cost of .826 cents a yard. Brick pavement repairs
amounted to 1,892 square yards, costing $1.29 per
yard. Stone pavement rept.t: totaled 17,123 square
yards, at an average coat of .476 cents per yard. Of
this repairing 7.344 square ytwis were necessitated
by plumbers' cuts and other miscellaneous work, for
which the city collected the sum of $16,515.35.
At this particular time the city engineer's depart
ment has on hand plana for work already ordered and
proposed improvements which will cost approximately
$1,500,000, to be done this season. Thus, while the
amount of work done last year exceeded all previous
records, the increasing demands of Omaha for better
OMA1IA, SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 21,
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housekeeping opportunities bids fair to raise the limit
Machine and Hand Brooms, Kept Busy.
The department of brooms in Omaha's scheme of
housekeeping is, in a sense, the "most exposed to the
spotlight of any branch of the work," as Street Com
missioner Flynn puts it. As usual to brooms, the
city's sweepstlcks have a back-entry location, in a
ramshackle cubbyhole under the Sixteenth street via
duct. From that point the brooms on wheels and the
hand brooms are sent out to all points far and near
where the housewives, and their providers, think
some sweeping and brushing should be done. Like
wise, the tank flushing machines and the hose flush
ers foregather under the viaduct when not in active
use, and have to put In much of their time traveling
back and forth to and from the scene of their work.
This seems to be one costly elemtrt of city housekeep
ing which has not been Improved since the day it was
entered on, except to secure new tools when the old
ones are worn out.
The province of the street commissioner's force is
to keep the main thoroughfare's and the alleys of the
city clear of dirt and rubbish by means of brushing,
flushing and hauling it away. The street gang also
cuts weeds for the health commissioner, and last year
cut the weeds from 4.276 blocks, at a cost of $2,133.
Reckoning by blocks, during the 1910 season the
street commissioner's force cleaned 16,628 blocks with
hand and machine brooms; 19,383 intersections were
swept, and 4,342 blocks were flushed by hand or ma
chine. Dirt and sweepings removed from the public
places made 22,301 loads, while the ice and snow re
moved made 6,200 loads. The cost of this branch of
the work wss. for 1910, $57,584.58.
Care of unpaved streets snd alleys falls to the
street commissioner's department, and in this Job
31,870 loads of material were used last year, for fill
ing In washouts, keeping sidewalks and crosswalks up
to grade, making roundups on broken streets and
furnishing cinders for bad walking places. This sort
of work cost in 1910, $24,998.26. '
Care of Health of the Household.
Health Commissioner Connell has exclusive charge
of the hunt for bugs, bacteria, flies, streptococci, dlp-
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lococcl, germs, gnomes and all tne tLtags with pe
culiarly dangerous qualities concealed about their
bodies. To see that the Omaha household keeps clean,
healthy and reasonably happy is the task of the health
department. Dr. Connell doesn't personally chase the
insistent and dynamic mosquito, or slay with lethal
weapons the bugs and bacteriological tribes, but he
does direct the attack. Also he camps on the trail of
the deadly garbage pile, which Omaha has no real
pnOil vot nf fnalitnff HlaonnA,, and th. thi..atan1n.
ssh heap and wild-springing weed are additional abom-
inatlona in his sight
The health department has a bacteriologist, whose
business is to keep Dr. Connell posted on the prox
imity, prollflcness and peregrinations of pestiferous
bacteria in milk, meat, canned goods, water and other
varied fluids 'and solids used by the general run of
housekeepers. Thus the health commissioner be
comes, in a sense, an overseeing housekeeper, and
when he issues dictums or orders it Is well to obey,
for the commissioner holds 'tis better to err on the
side of safety than to flout the scientific findings of
his assistants. If Dr. Connell could be well rid of the
weeds and garbage he would consider himself as hold
ing a comparatively nice situation, since he. has
learned to run an automobile.
Work for Full Weight and Measure.
Do you get correct wefgbts sad full measures, Mrs.
Housewife? If not, John Grant Pegg, who is attached
to the official household for the express purpose of
seeing that you are not cheated too much, will Jump
in and take the fight off your hands. Mr. Pegg is
quite a scrapper, too, when he feels serious, as he
most usually does. He carries with him the Imple
ments to "show" the tricky dealer where he is wrong,
and if anything starts he has ."Casey's odds" handy,
in the shape of a weight in his fist Mr. Pegg Insists
he has now got this matter of weights and measures
fixed for the busy housewife better than it has ever
been before; and he has In his office a collection of
crooked antiques to prove it
Withnell, Wolfe and Waldemar.
"Charley" Withnell. the building Inspector, Is an
Important part of Omaha's housekeeping force. He
It is who sees to it that pedestrians shall not be
SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS.
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if rrr i i iTin H ilwmiit' nuj r f luji " J
crnsned in the street, of sleepers Ta tletr rooms, Vf
falling buildings. Withnell oace In a while finds a
citizen making plans to build that do not meet tha
requirements for strength, and when he refuses to
Issue the permit the plans are usually brought up to
In a city like Omaha, building and hustling with
business at every turn, a great many boilers are neces
sarily brought into use. Robert V. Wolfe Is the maa
. "hc"ea tor rtf c7 Housekeeping, and
he has an assistant who helps in the work. Everr
j 7 s
boiler must have Wolfe's O. K. before being put Into
service, and elevators also receive his attention. AV
though comfortably stout, Mr. Wolfe has no hesitancy
In crawling into the Interior department of any boiler
that looks suspicious, and he has never yet got
"Jammed" so hard a derrick could not pull him out
Waldemar Mlchaelsen has a good many wires go
ing, even for a politician. He has on his shoulders the
responsibility of seeing to the proper Installation and
Insulation of electric light wires In new and old
houses; and every time a fire Is reported as the re
sult of Improper Insulation or Installation Mlchaelsen
gets warm under the collar. Then he cools off, and
tightens up the screws another turn.
License Inspector and Market mac ter,
Richard A. Schneider makes' Inspection of all
licenses except those for matrimony, on behalf of the
general household. In more and more vocations every
year a license is required that costs anywhere' from $1
to a price up In the hundreds, and Inspector Schneider
takes a particular pride In showing the cltitens that
be is collecting more money than any of bis predeces
sors. If anybody Is getting away without paying the
price he wsnts to know It
When you go marketing, especially at the publlo
market, it is well enough to know that John Ktlllaa
Is the man in charge of that detail of municipal house
keeping. He sees to It that all vegetables and fruits
are properly sprinkled and kept clean and palatable
for prospective buyers; but principally bis duty Is to
see that no one backs In and sells at the publlo mar
ket without paying the price provided by ordlaance.
(Continued on Page Three.)
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