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MICHIGAN ENGINEERING

ENGINEERING SOCIETY.

ANNUAL CONVENTION, 1892.

MAYOR UHL'S ADDRESS.

The annual convention for 1892 was held in the city hall at Grand Rapids. Mayor Uhl welcomed the society to the city in a few well chosen words and continued as follows:

I ran upon some figures, gathered by the board of trade as to some of our manufacturing industries, and I see here that there is employed in capital $18,228,000, or was last year; that the value of the product was $33,555,000, as against $15,000,000 capital the year before, and $27,000,000 of product. The number of hands employed this year is 39,000 as against 13,000 the year before.

This city here, nestling in the valley of Grand river, was, but a few years ago, a hamlet surrounded by an agricultural country, but today it presents one industry that, as we think, takes the lead of all other cities in the land. It takes that lead for freshness of design and intelligence of workmanship, and while you are here gathering in your annual convention there is a great influx into this city, not only those who buy our wares, but those that come here, to the furniture center of the United States, bringing their wares to sell, and it will be as I have said, no doubt, the great privilege of the local members of your profession, before you shall go hence, to show you some of this manufactured product.

And now I bespeak for your annual gathering one of profit, one of pleasure and one of success. We tender to you, as I said in the beginning, the very best that we have, and as some one has said, the emphasis of hospitality lies in friendship, in cordiality, in attention, rather than in the externals or the accessories that surround it.

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Time fails me, even were I competent, to speak of the noble profession which is yours. Would that while you are here you could show to us some way of preserving the beauty, the harmony, and the engaging grace that nature has given us in these hill-sides, and still accommodate it to the wants of man. Would that you could demonstrate to a certainty that it is the highest piece of vandalism to cut a canal through the beautiful park on the other side of the river in order that a few more loads of hay or a few more cords of wood may be brought upon West Fulton street.

Many of you are representatives of the class known as hydraulic engineers, and there is a subject which could engage the highest talent in that regard, for it has been a vexed question for many a year, a question that yet remains for solution, as to the permanent water supply of this city. That question is divided between the advocates of ground water, Grand river, Rogue river, Flat river, and I may say, Lake Michigan, and there are some who say, as far as that is concerned, except for culinary purposes, we don't need a great quantity of water in any event.

We are now taking our source of supply from the Grand river, and many of us are of opinion that if that source shall be taken three miles above where Rogue river empties into the Grand, that we shall have a satisfactory water supply.

I said a moment ago that time failed me, even were I competent, to speak of the excellencies and the glories and the beneficent results worked out by your exalted profession. We see today through its instrumentalities living results, which a decade ago we considered but the wild fictions of enthusiasts, and as unsubstantial as the stuff that dreams are made of.

Give me where to stand, said the ancient philosopher, and I will move the world. Find where to stand. Stand where you are, is the voice of science, and so your profession has done much-nay, has accomplished wonders beyond the power of tongue or pen to detail in the betterment of man, and in the building up of a civilization which today is in advance of all the ages that have gone before.

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RESPONSE OF THE PRESIDENT, PROF. DAVIS.

Your honor, I suppose it falls on the president to thank you for your kind words of welcome. As I am only a sort of a president, but his representative, it falls upon me, I suppose, to say thank you, sir.

We men who live in bricks, and mud and mortar, you know are not usually talkers. That isn't a part of our business. Our business is to work. We came to Grand Rapids with the confident assurance, which needs no confirmation, of the same kind of a reception that we have met with, knowing that everything will be done for us that can be, and I spare words in that direction, to express some wishes I have.

I hope to see the day when the ships of the lakes shall make their wharves at Grand Rapids. I see no reason from what I have already learned, why that should not be done. I see no reason why you should not presently have a ten foot channel up to the city front.

It happens that acquaintances of mine and men that have formerly been in my employ, have been engaged in making a survey

this summer for this purpose. I hope to see it accomplished. I have looked over the maps and plans some, and I see no reason why it may not be accomplished, and while I do not know the amount of water power you have here, I see no reason why seven or eight feet more may not be added to your present head, and perhaps that water power doubled, if you are prepared to utilize it.

As I came here the other day I saw what I suppose is your first ten story building. I see no reason why there should not be more. I see no reason why your city should not profit by every modern improvement. We who live in the State, take a pride in the city of Grand Rapids. as you have truly said, the center of the furniture trade for this whole country, whole nation, and we look upon Grand Rapids as one of the features of Michigan-just as we count its other features-its wonderful, and simply matchless, system of inland navigation, yet to be improved as time passes, as we all know, and I take pleasure in referring to one particular item of that improvement which has fallen under my eye dur

It is, ing the past summer, which we will all take pleasure in hearing about, I think. The improvement of the St. Mary's river and the building of the new locks at the “Soo."

The opening of the St. Mary's channel will easily double the Lake Superior commerce, and that commerce now exceeds that of the Suez canal, as we all perhaps know. The St. Mary's river at the present time can be passed only in the day time. When the new channel is done, it can be passed continuously, day and night. The locks are already operated day and night by means of the electric light, so when that channel is done—'93 is the date set-in the fall-we may expect to double the capacity of that channel. It will be a 20-foot channel-indeed it is being made 21 feet. I know of no place where one can spend a few hours and receive more bona fide instruction than to sit on the canal docks of the Soo, and see the great vessels passing through there. Now a portion of that commerce must come up here. This city is entitled to it. It is only seven or eight miles to within grasp of that thing. All the fall of Grand River is in the first seven or eight miles and that can readily be overcome. While Grand Rapids extends to us, gentlemen, a most hearty welcome, I, in behalf of the Michigan Engineering society, wish to extend to the city of Grand Rapids, congratulations upon the prospect of being a sea-port in the literal and proper sense of the word. It cannot all be done at once. We know how these things are done. But I repeat, I see no reason why this city, with its wealth and possibilities, should not have a channel.

We shall take great pleasure, Mr. Mayor, in looking around your city.

We come here to learn. I don't know whether I had better tell a story or not, but when I say we here to learn, that word learn impresses me. Conceit, of all other things, is out of place it seems to me, amongst our class. I was once in the city of Philadelphia and called upon the Secretary of the National Society of Civil Engineers; he was good enough to mention my school work. He said, “I should remember your college. I have had some of your boys at work for me.” I felt obliged to ask how they got along, even if I felt I was getting into a corner. He says, “There is one thing you do for your boys, you get the

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conceit out of them." I said, “If you had studied to pay the

“ school a compliment that I would appreciate, you could not have selected one that I would have thought more of.” We as a profession, sir, will continue to learn as long as we are able. We come here to learn, to look around and see what you are doing, and whenever any of us have any municipal work on hand (I know I do and I understand that others do), we look to see, and ask what Grand Rapids has done in like cases, and we shall learn a great deal, and we shall use your welcome and I am sure we shall profit by it.

MAYOR UHL: Permit me to say one word in reply, and that is on the subject to which you have referred, viz.: the early improvement of the navigation of Grand river. It is a subject upon which the people of this city feel more deeply perhaps than any other. It is a railroad center, and our railroad facilities are extraordinary for a city of this size, and yet we feel, for the proper development of the city and its further growth, that this highway by water to the great lakes, should be and must be made.

And, sir, to hear you speak in terms so earnest and so thoughtful upon that subject which lies near the hearts of all the people of our city, is a matter of exceeding gratification, because we'need aid in this enterprise—we need the aid of all the friends throughout the State, and perhaps in other states. As you, as president, have well remarked, this cannot be done at once, and we know that every enterprise of that kind has met with opposition, perhaps, and always obstacles, so it is a matter of great gratification to us that the people who come here and see the possible growth of this city, see.its need of an outlet by way of the great lakes, and speak so earnestly and emphatically as you have done. I beg, sir, on behalf of this city, to thank you most cordially.

PROF. DAVIS: I cannot forbear one more word, if the mayor will pardon me for detaining him. But, putting the thing in a plain matter of fact way, here, we have said, is the great furniture center of the United States. Your timber line is further and further away. Your lumber has to be hauled in here by railroad to make this furniture. That timber line will recede year by year still further away, and it will be necessary

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