Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2004

Before indoor plumbing

December 16, 2004

The only water line in Lansing before 1940 was supplied by the prison. Only the officers who worked at the prison and lived on Kansas Avenue, Kay Street and part of Minnie (now Main) Street were able to get water to their homes. Water pressure was OK in the early part of the day but dropped to very little in the afternoon - the reason being the inmates were all taking showers at that time.

The new high school and grade school built in 1923 also were given water. The rest of the city relied on wells. Some of the wells supplied many families in the whole area. Many times, the children in the neighborhood carried so much water that they had a low shoulder.

In 1940, the Delaware Township water lines were dug by 70 WPA workers. It was a $3 million project. The water lines started south of Limit Street in Leavenworth and one block west of Fourth Street. The new lines went 35 miles into the township.

I remember the digging of the water lines across the street from our house on Minnie Street. The supervisor of the project was Pete Kley. Mr. Kley's son, Bob, and I were in the same class. The ditch was dug by two men digging the first shovel depth; the next two men dug the next shovel depth. That system continued until they were below the frost line.

This was a great improvement for Lansing to have indoor plumbing and get rid of the outhouses. However, it eliminated the fun of overturning the outhouses on Halloween night. It was a prank a few mischievous kids were involved in.

The meter fee when my folks hooked up to the water line was $3. Everyone had to dig his own line from the meter to his house. I was in high school when we finally got indoor plumbing.

We take a lot for granted.


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