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RACINE HARBOR, WIS.
COMMITTEE ON RIVERS AND HARBORS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., February 4, 1916. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. S. M. Sparkman (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Mr. Cooper, we will hear from you.
STATEMENT OF HON. HENRY ALLEN COOPER, A REPRESENTA
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WISCONSIN.
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am here in behalf of the harbor at Racine, Wis. I recollect that when this matter was up a year or more ago there was apparently some doubt in the minds of some of the members of the committee as to what is included in the existing project for Racine.
We respectfully ask that the existing project be completed by removing the present dilapidated old south pier and building a south breakwater to the shore, as provided in the project, so that and in connection with the north
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). The last bill carried your item.
Mr. COOPER. Yes; but in view of the fact that there has been considerable talk as to whether it could be completed
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). The matter was thoroughly gone into.
Mr. BOOHER. I have no doubt of its being an old project. One Member was speaking to me the other day about it, and I wondered whether it would not be well now to recapitulate the matter.
The CHAIRMAN. There were no new questions the last time, and it was all thoroughly gone into.
Mr. BOOHER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. We want to know whether this work ought to be done and how much should be appropriated.
Mr. BOOHER. It is the project of March 2, 1907
Mr. COOPER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Please take it an point out the different features of the project, so the members of the committee will understand it.
Mr. COOPER. Very well. My city is on the west side of Lake Michigan. Here [indicating] is the line of the shore. There [indicating) is the river running through the city into the lake. There is
the south pier (indicating). The north pier (indicating) has been removed. There exists to-day only this old south pier and the breakwater north of it, running from that point [indicating) in the lake around in this direction (indicating] to the shore on the north. This breakwater forms only half of the existing arrowhead project. We ask the completion of the other half.
The south pier should be removed and a south breakwater constructed.
Racine, with its compactly built suburbs, has a population of 45,000 or more people, and is one of the greatest manufacturing cities of its size in the United States. It has some plants which, of their kind, are the largest in the world. It lies between Chicago and Milwaukee, about an hour and a quarter from Chicago and a half hour from Milwaukee.
The city always has suffered because of the imperfect condition of its harbor, storms from the lake driving the water between the piers and up the river, often making it impossible for vessels to remain anchored in the stream or fastened to the docks along its sides. The harbor, in storms, is very dangerous for vessels. Shippers who are
. thoroughly informed tell me, and I believe, that the harbor is in the worst condition it ever has been in. I was at home during a severe storm in December, 1913, and saw some of its effects along the river. It was that storm which convinced the United States engineer in charge that the arrowhead project for Racine ought to be completed without delay.
To give you some conception of the dangerous condition of this harbor I will read a letter, dated November 12, 1913, written by the captain of a vessel that was caught in the river during the storm. The letter is as follows:
Racine, Wis., November 12, 1913. Hon. H. A. Cooper,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I wish to state that on November 6 I arrived in Racine at 4 a. m., loaded with 2,826 tons of coal consigned to the Carroll Coal Co. The weather being fine, I arrived at the Carroll Coal Co. dock at 7.30 and ready to start unloading. I started unloading at 8 a. m. and continued unloading Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and on Saturday noon it started to blow quite hard from the northeast and continued increasing. At 4 a. m. Sunday all hands were called on deck to get out more lines, as considerable sea had made and steamer started parting her lines, caused by the undertow. We worked continually from that time until Monday afternoon when the wind shifted to the westward, which caused the sea to moderate.
We parted every working line we had several times, then we got out our 94-inch brand new hawser. We got two parts out of each end of the boat, in which she snapped like shoestrings. After using up 1,000 feet of our hawser, or, in fact, the whole line, we could do nothing but start working our engine. We had made junk of $650 worth of lines and we had no more, so we started working our engine ahead and astern. About every five minutes, as our steamer would rush ahead, we would back the engine, and when she would rush astern would work ahead.
All this time we lay in the middle of the river and did not know what moment our steamer would rush into the bridge ahead of us. All this time our anchor was down at the bottom, but would drag wherever she went. I must also say that the Carrol Coal Co. dock is three-fourths of a mile from the mouth of the river and around a bend, and that at normal stage of water their docks are between 4 and 5 feet above water, and must say that the sea rolled at least 2 feet over the docks, causing our steamer to roll and pound, in which we were afraid that our rudder and shoe would be damaged. On Monday morning while we were still in midstream I called Mr. George T. Caystile, manager of the Carroll Coal ('o., and asked him to call our agent, D. Sullivan & Co., Chicago, on long-distance phone and ask him to send us 120 fathoms of 64-inch new line by express in order to have something to tie our steamer