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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, March 07, 1937, Image 51

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Part 4—8 Pages WASHINGTON, D. C.t SUNDAY MORNING,' MARCH 7, 1937. PAGE F—1 ~~
Deeper Channels and Modern Facilities for'
Business and Pleasure Craft to Make
Washington More Attractive to Guests
From All Parts of Country.
By William A. Millen.
ASHINGTON, on tidewater,
but 185 miles from the sea,
will soon have a modern
harbor, thanks to the funds
to be supplied by Congress shortly
end the studies made over several
years by Army engineers.
The Washington Channel water
front, along Water street, will be one
scene of the transformation. Yacht
basins and piers, to accommodate sea
going vessels up to 24 feet draft, will
be constructed there.
Improvement of the Port of Wash
ington will be a double-barreled af
fair. for not only will the Army engi
neers dredge the navigational chan
nels to a depth of 24 feet but the
ramshackle piers will be supplanted
by modern terminal facilities, minus
the railroad tracks. The dredging job
will go forward soon. Funds have
not yet been supplied for the Wash
ington Channel improvement, but
they are expected in the near future, as
Congress has already officially ap
proved the project.
A modernized Port of Washington is
the result of many years of agitation
on the part of business and pleasure
interests here. Public hearings have
been held from time to time on the
subject, and the plans have been re
vamped in accordance with the re
quirements of shipping, yachting and
other maritime groups. The Fine Arts
Commission and the National Capital
Park and Planning Commission have
bad a hand in the program.
Airmen of the Army Air Corps have
flown over the Washington Channel
water front and taken pictures show
ing the present conditions. The im
provement is to take place on the
north side of Washington Channel,
as the south side is the improved East
Potomac Park.
T TNDER the program there will be
no alterations to the Municipal
Fish Market, but the harbormaster’s
pier and the District Police Depart
ment's pier are to be combined and
enlarged. The police and firemen will
be together on the same pier.
Yacht basins will be built on either
side of the fish market, from Four
teenth street to Eighth and K streets
southwest. Downstream the st amer
piers will be constructed, with space
allowed between O and P streets south
west for a future pier, which is not
provided in the pending scheme.
Some 300 yachts will be accommo
dated in the present plan, with future
expansion allowing for 100 additional.
Mooring in the stream will still be per
mitted. A survey conduct*, by the
United States engineer office has con
vinced the authorities that the number
of yachts has increased as much as
40 to 50 per cent since 1932.
A timber bulkhead will be built along
the outer edge of the yacht basin to
prevolt the wash from steamers and
othe> %r«e craft from interfering with
the smaller yachts.
Linw*i no with the improvement pro
gram is the plan to widen Water street.
Downstream of* the outlet bridge, in
future years, a new bridge will be con
structed. but there is no provision for
this in the current movement. This
bridge would connect with Potomac
The work will be conducted under
the supervision of Maj. Walter D. Lup
low, the new district engineer for the
War Department for the Washington
area. The preliminary plans, as re
vised, have been prepared thus far
Under the direction of First Lieut. Wil
liam J. Matteson, who has been dis
trict engineer until recently and is the
son-in-law of Maj. Gen. Edward M.
Markham, chief of Army Engineers.
Lieut. Matteson has received orders
directing him to sail shortly for Ha
waii, for duty with the 3d Engineers
a Schofield Barracks, Honolulu.
'T'HE plan for the new development
is to move out the pierhead lines
a maximum of 72 feet from the shore
at the yacht basin at the northerly
end of the Washington Channel, to ac
commodate the greatest possible num
ber of pleasure craft. The total cost
of the development is $1,650,000, of
which the District' of Columbia will
contribute $389,000 for its own facili
Thus far Congress has made avail
able $15,000 for the preparation of
plans and specifications. A special
force has been built up, with the aid
of E. A. Schmitt, senior engineer in
Maj. Luplow’s office. Immediately In
charge of this new group is Charles
A. Chaney, senior structural engineer,
who is supervising the design and
plans and the drawing up of specifica
tions. An architect, John P. Bills: a
design engineer and a draftsman are
included in the force.
The engineers figure that if they
spend the money now most eco
nomically, provision can be made for
300 yachts in three basins, instead of
the old set-up 01 286 yachts. Pier
heads will be moved out so that no
work will have to be scrapped in the
future. The site of the future fourth
basin will be utilized for the time
being as the tying-up place for visit
ing yachts. The future yacht basin
will be at Eighth and K and Water
streets southwest, at the southerly
limit of the yacht basin area, and
this will provide for 100 additional
Navigational interests here made it
clear at the recent public hearing that
extension of the pierhead lines will
not interfere with the Norfolk &
Washington steamers tying up and
leaving here, '"’he new piers will be
constructed on an ' angle, designed to
facilitate navigation.
'T'HE scheduled improvement pro
gram will take eight years to ac
complish.. During this building period
the district engineer for the War De
partment for this area will have con
trol of the entire site. After construc
tion has been completed the District
government will have charge of oper
ating the facilities.
In the vicinity of Seventh and L
streets southwest the pierhead line
may be moved out only 10 feet, in the
restricted part of the channel, to aid
navigation. Dowstream of M street,
the pierhead line is to be moved out
channelward a maximum of 50 feet.
This arrangement, the engineers
say, will provide a minimum length
of slip of 250 feet for the steamer
piers. Some will be longer than that.
For the steamer piers, 125 feet will
be the maximum width, while others
will generally be about 100 feet wide.
No provision has been made for a
rail terminal at Water street, the au
thorities dealing with the growth of
the city having decided tha rail and
commercial steamer combinations can
best be served at the Anacostia River,
rather than on Washington Channel.
Provision has been made for the
possibility of extending the Fish Mar
ket piers, if desireu. but officials made
it plain that this is not mandatory.
T'HE project upon which the Army
engineers are about to embark is
primarily a beautification job, coupled
with serving existing needs. Congress
has declared in the legislation that
the unsightly conditions shall be ban
ished from the water entrance to the
Nation's Capital.
"We are going ahead on the as
sumption that we shall never have to
develop a harbor here comparable to
that at Baltimore,” say the Army en
(1) The northerly end of the Washington Channel
water front, near the outlet bridge—the site of the future
yacht basins, under the development program. (2) A
sweeping view, from an airman’s eye, of the whole
scheme, showing East Potomac Paid< to the right and at
the water front on the left the Washington Channel, scene
of the Army engineers’ endeavors. (3) A glimpse of some
of the big river^craft that ply in and out of Washington
(4) A map, drawn by the Army Engineers, showing
the yacht basin at the head of the Washington Channel
and the steamer pier, downstream.
—Air Photo by Army Air Corps.
—Map, Star Staff Photo.
gineers. "We are planning for local
consumption only.”
Having the artistic in mind as well
as the useful, the engineers say that
the unloading of lumber at Water
street wifi not become a major part
of the operation. Piles of lumber and
other materials are to be trucked rap
idly away, so that there will be no un
sightly conditions.
The work represents the culmina
tion of many years of effort. As far
back as 1872, reports were made to
Congress on the job. Including the
report now being prepared, 10 re
ports have been made on the develop
ment. These represent a wealth of
basic data, which the engineers are
now finding mighty useful in whipping
the final plans into shape.
The last major plan was made In
1932, and the engineers are now mod
ernizing this, for the depression has
brought many changes, and the cloth
must be cut to fit the changing times.
By the middle* of the Summer the
Army engineers expect to have the
detailed plans in gobd shape, so that—
if Congress supplies the necessary
funds—they will be able to start work
in four months from now.
'T'HE Washington Channel water
front area is now all Federally
owned, rith three separate jurisdic
tions having a say. The Treasury De
partment. the District of Columbia and
the chief of Army Engineers have a
stake in the present water front. Al
together, this represents a grand total
of 5.643 feet for commercial develop
ment. This and the new work do not
include the Army War College front
age. which does not enter into the
plan at all.
At present, steamboat operation at
the Washington Channel includes the
Norfolk & Washington Line, the Po
tomac River Line Co. and the Wilson
Army Engineers Carry Forward Project for
Which Many Years Have Been Spent in
Preparation, and Art Commission, With
Park and Planning Board, Had Part.
Line. There are two yacht clubs there, ]
the Capitol and the Columbia, as well
as a number of yacht basins, privately j
operated. Marine railways and facili- j
ties for storing and repairing small ;
craft are found along the water front
as well. The engineers say that none
of these is in a good state of repair,
and they are for the most part un
sightly. irregularly constructed and
The District government has exten
sive holdings along the Washington
Channel, for the fish market, the Oc
coquan wharf, the Police and Fire De- j
partments and the Morgue are repre- i
sented there. In addition, there is an I
amory building, used by the District i
of Columbia National Guard, but |
whether this is Federal or District,
officials are at a loss to explain, they
At the recent public hearing, Comdr.
Frederick Allen Hunnewell, chief con
structor of the Coast Guard, stated
that a possible future development at
Washington Channel is a special
building for this organization, famed
for its saving of life and property at
sea. This would be on the east side
of Water street, with a wharf across
the street for its river facilities. The
Coast Guard plays an important part
hereabouts, especially in conjunction
with the policing of the river fronts
when the President's Cup regatta is
held here.
r~)NE taking a stroll along the Wash
ington Channel water front or
viewing it from the channel side, is
impressed with the tumbledown con
dition of the piers and the buildings,
generally. The place looks as if it
had been struck by an earthquake or
a hurricane and the results left so
that men might view the aftermath.
Rotting piers and ramshackled build
ings so impressed Congress that it
enacted into law a provision that the
situation should be cleared up and a
■ ■ — •% —— - A -
By Lucy Salamanca.
A BIG blue tick, flat on its back.
Slowly uncurls its eight legs
and turns over. Trying its legs
after a long slumber in a lit
tle square pine box. it makes its cau
tious way across the palm of a sci
entist's hand. It’s back, rounded and
smooth, is indented with curious hol
lows. It is grayish blue in color, and
the flatter it gets because of lack of
food, the grayer it becomes. When
newly fed it is a deep blue.
A harmless enough looking bug, one
would say. But within its body, even
during periods of starvation, it nour
ishes a slender, spiral germ, and seven
years from the day it was placed in its
pine wood retreat, without a drop of
nourishment meanwhile, that blue tick
has infected its host with a disease that
has come to be known as “relapsing
i fever.”
Dr. Edward Francis of the National
Institute of Health of the United States
Public Health Service, stood beside the
window of his laboratory, overlooking
the gray waters of the Potomac, and
held the malignant little blue tick on
the palm of his hand. On the table
beside him was a veritable village of
little square pine wood boxes, corked,
and standing in the middle of shallow
pans filled with sand that is saturated
with a disinfectant. In each one of
those square pine boxes is imprisoned
a single blue tick, “omithodorous tu
ricata,” and there they will remain for
many years to come.
Some of them are being used in he
course of experiments Dr. Francis is
making in his fight against relapsing
fever in this country. Others will not
be disturbed nor allotoed to feed, and
these latter have been placed in the
scientist's will so that his scientific
colleagues who come after him may as
certain how long both tick and germ
are able to survive within an unfed
body, and just what chances man has,
should the period prove Indefinite, to
combat so tenacious and hardy a germ.
r\R. FRANCIS, who in 1928 was the
recipient of the gold medal of the
American Medical Association for his
outstanding work with respect to
tularemia, is making a study of this
disease, rew to America, that because
of certain characteristics has been
termed relapsing fever. He has, with
the aid of other O-men of science, been
Government’s G-Men of Science Trace Offender to Its Hiding Cave and Learn
of Danger to Americans in Some Places—Fearless Group of Investigators
Adds Another Triumph to Service.
Blue ticks which have not eaten for seven years yet contain
virulent fever germs in their bodies shown on the hand of Dr.
Edward Francis. Their bite causes relapsing fever.
—Star Staff Photo.
able to cast light upon its source, the
germ that causes it, and treatment and
as a result another ailment of the
human race has gone down before the
forces of indefatiguable research.
In the cluttered laboratory beside the
Potomac, where such incalculable good
has been wrought for humanity, Dr.
Francis crosses to a cabinet that stands
against the wall. From a shelf he
draws a number of small glass bottles
.and each is filled with a powdery, dusty
brown earth. The earth had been gath
ered from the floors of caves in Texas
and sent to the laboratories beside the
Potomac for analysis. For within those
caves were found the blue ticks proved
to be so menacing to human health.
“You, see,” says Dr. Francis, with
characteristic modesty, “we fellows
don’t find out these things because
we’re so smart. No .. . that’s not the
way we find things out. We kind of
just putter around with this thing and
that and try everything and make
experiments on a bunch half the time.
You have to use your eyes more than
your brains. You can’t think things
Dr. Edward Francis shoicn with his colony of ticks from
. Texas caves, being used in the fight against relapsing fever. Dr.
Francis is shown placing a tick on the tail of a white mouse.
out in a laboratory. You can’t even
nave ideas. They might be the wrong
ideas and set you on a wrong tack.
You’ve got to take anything for
granted, keep your mind clear of pre
conceived notions about anything. You
just got to keep on doing everything,
trying everything and keeping your
eyes open.”
That is the way Dr. Francis works.
Plodding, tireless, observing, he put
ters among his rabbit cages, his blue
ticks, his tubes and cultures, putting
two and two together and Jotting
down the results when something
worthy of notation happens. No one
considers himself less of a hero than
Dr. Francis, yet his name has made
medical history and he has fallen
• ■
victim to a veritable host of germs at
one time or another in his laboratory. |
Many discoveries, he asserts, owe much
to chance. That’s what he thinks
about relapsing fever.
'Y'HIS fever had been known for
years in Africa, Russia and in the
Balkan States, and has a 50 Der cent
mortality record in some parts of the
world. But not until a very few
years ago was any thing like it re
corded in the United States. Then,
quite without warning, it turned up,
unrecognized and mvsterious as are
all new diseases, in the West and
Southwest. In 1915 C. N. Meatier re
ported five cases from Colorado, and
three years later J. J. Waring re
ported two more from the same State.
In 1922 Le Roy H. Briggs sent word
to the United States Public Health
Service that two cases had come to
his attention in California and he re
viewed their symptoms and history
in the Journal of the American Medi
cal Association. In addition, statisti
cal reports from California in 1931
included 10 additional cases of the
From Texas came word from Bur
ford Weller and G. M. Graham, In
1930, that they had collected evidence
of about 50 cases of the disease in
Central Texas, and these G-men of
science had succeeded in tracing the
infection to the bite of a curious blue
Here was a new phase of an ancient
disease, for in the European countries
the illness had always occurred in re
lation to overcrowding and body lice.
Not so this American version. On
the contrary the lonely caves in Mills
County, Texas County and San Saba
County, in Texas, proved to be the
source responsibile for every case of
relapsing fever reported in Texas.
How did the men engaged in the
eternal and relentless battle against
germ hosts find this out? That, says
Dr. Francis, is where chance and the
ability to keep one’s eyes open,
came in.
A party of boys, returning from a
camping trip, were smitten, one by
one, with an ailment that bore a strik
ing resemblance to one known to be
transmitted by body lice in the Old
World. They developed high tempera
tures, chills, intense headache and
1 (Continued on Sixth Page.)
beautification program undertaken,
this new plan will match the beauty
of East Potomac Park, just to the
The municipal fish wharf is con
sidered the only structure worthy of
the name on the channel side of
Water street. There is a half-finished
pier at the police wharf, and this the
Army engineers expect to complete
out to the new line on the water front.
Under present plans, the construction
work will be put out to bids as soon
as funds are made available.
Additional dredging will be under
taken in the slips proper. For the
steamboat piers the depth will be
carried down to 24 feet. In the yacht
basins this depth will be less, due to
the shallower draft of the pleasure
craft. Yachts put into Washington
from various parts of the coun
try. In the new plan provision will
be made for them to tie up, load and
unload and a greatly improved system
will be in force. Washington for
many years has been known among
yachtsmen as lacking in facilities for
the visitor afloat.
VI WASHINGTON, midway between
North and South, is a convenient
stopping-off place for the visitors who
come by way of the water. This the
Army engineers have in mind in plan
ning the improvement of the Wash
ington Channel waterfront.
At the National Capital there is a
3-foot tide. This factor enters into
the engineers’ calculations. Further,
they have in mind the high waters
that sometimes sweep down upon the
City of Washington. Their studies
show that in the past half century
there have been but four damaging
floods. These were in 1881, 1889. 1933
and 1936. Then the floods wen? above
the 9'g-foot mark.
In the new plans the steamer docks
are being arranged 9'2 feet above
average low water. Bearing in mind
that in 50 years only four floods would
have covered this dock height, the
engineers are predicating their draw
ings on this fact. The yacht basin
piers will be about 6 feet above aver
age low water.
The Washington Channel will have
a project depth of 24 feet, the same
as the Potomac River. The river
channel here has a project width of
200 feet, ample for the anticipated
The length of vessels negotiating
Washington Harbor shows that there
are three craft each approximately 305
feet long and 51 feet beam, with a
draft of 17 or 18 feet. The excursion
steamers vary up to 327 feet in length
and a 60-foot beam, while many
smaller-size craft also are seen here.
TN THE forthcoming construction
A work it will be necessary to shift
the present occupants from their ex
isting quarters. The Army Engineers
emphasize that while they may be put
to some inconveninence. none will be
so jeopardized that he will be put out
of business. The Engineers want to be
as helpful as may be to evolve a
smooth-running program, both for the
business man and the Government,
they say.
Thus the scenic drive in East Poto
mac Park, along the Washington
Channel water front, is soon to witness
a transformation across the water.
Colonial style buildings, in keeping
with the pattern set In the construc
tion of the Municipal Fish Market and
the War College, will be erected. Pre
liminary sketches of the various types
of steamer pierhead houses, yacht unit
structures and appurtenant features
were recently viewed by the Fine Arts
Commission and the proposed archi
tectural arrangement received its gen
eral approval. Up-to- tte piers will be
built and that whole area generally
toned up.
A new factor has recemiy come into
t e reckoning, for the Thomas Jeffer
s n Memorial Commission set up by
Congress has decided that th memo
rit' to the Sage of Monticello is to be
built in the Southwest, between Fif
teenth and Seventeenth streets ex
tended. at the Tidal Basin. This will
be built a good stone’s Ujow from the
head of Washington Channel.
Th northerly end of Washington
Channel is connected to the Tidal
Basin by automatic gates, which per
mit the stored tidewaters to flow into
the head of that channel and thereby
flush the place out twice daily. Pre
liminary plans of the Jefferson Memo
rial so far available indicate that thia
function is to be safeguarded.

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