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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 12, 1913, NOON EDITION, Image 9

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-04-12/ed-1/seq-9/

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SMITH GOT SWNGt BUT MADE THE BEST OF IT;
HE FARMED; A HOLE-IN THE GROUND
Springfield, Mo'., April' 12. A few
years ago Robert Smith was a St.
Louis workingman, bringing home a
workingman's wages 'and- despairing
of making both ends-meet. 'Like lots
of other city men Robert Smith got
the "back to the land" fever; got it
bad. .
Today Robert Smith is the most
prosperous cave 'farmer jn America.
When the back-to-the-s6il fever
got the better of Smith he-went to
"Robert Smith.
couldn't make a living working the
top of' the land he had bought he
began farming underground.
'Oh his land-was a big (Save, particu
larly fitted for- a "cellar garden." It
was 'large, well' aired, had an .even
temperature, standing at 60 winter
and summer"; "had no cold, damp
drafts, arid" was moist enough and not
too -dripping wetl
So, instead of-raisin'g corn and fruit
and' other" farm products as Smith
h'a'd-4'ntended, he r raised mushrooms,
rhubarb, celery 'and DUU" frogs.
"Last year he cleared-nearly $4,000
ononis "cave farm.
The rhubarb is started outdoors
and' Is'.transplanted'ih the cave, where
it grows, an inch a "day. He sells it
at" 15 dents a pound- long before his
surface farming neighbors can get
a real estate dealer arid bought a 26
acre farm in the Ozarks, a few miles
from Springfield; The farinhe bought
was considerable worse than most
Ozark mountain . farms, which, in
many cases, are- bad enough for
farming purposes however great
they maybe on scenery.
In plain language, Robert Smith
was "stuck" for a poor,.rocky farm.
He was "just a cityifeller" and didn't
know much about buying farm land.
So the seller thought. The Smith
family moved down, from St Louis,
and when Robert found- put he
theirs out of the ground. Three crops
of mushrooms" are raised each year.
A square foot, of grounds produces
more, than a pound of mushrooms,,
and Smith 'sells them to St. Louis
hotels and "restaurants at 50 cents
a . pound. .
Celery is transplanted in the cave
for bleaching, where it attains a, per
fection of whiteness arid tenderness
and .attracts high prices.
When? Smith first learned that he
couldn,'t'farm his place like a regular
farm,. and decided io farm'in the cave,
he hadIto-."ctear" his land Instead
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