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The Hastings Postoffice
lit Mzk m - t f?f7Hrr; UF' .... I Bii Li - DIETRICH POSES. BUILDING AT HASTINGS ASTINGS, Nob., Jan 15. (Special H Correspondence.) In his report of the postoffice investigation Fourth Assistant Postmaster General ISrlstow had tlic following to say relative to the removal of the postotllee In this city: At Hastings. Neb., on May 1, 1SS7, a lease Was made for postoffice premises for a period of five years, Including light, beat, vault and equipment, at an annual rental of $700 per annum. In Marrh, IHul, the lessor was notified that the lease would be caneeled on June almost u year beforn lis expiration. Shortly after this a prop s il was accepted for another building no more desirable, at a rental of H.mhj per aunimi. A most vigorous protest was tiled against this action of the department by those in terested in the canceled lease, ami the nvitter was referred to an inspector for Investigation, who, on April 17, 1101, reported as follows: "Viewed from tho standpoint usually assumed by the Postotlice department in the treatment of lease cases, and elimina ting all questions of personal interest, 1 am unable to conceive what possible repre sentations could have been made to the department of this case to result In the entertainments utid acceptance of tho proposition of Mr. Dietrich at the price named ($1.K) per annum). The proposition Is exorbitant, and the location one that 'f In competition with other propositions offer ing central locations at two-thirds tho juice asked could not conscientiously bo considered. As a result of this report the price for the new site was reduced to $1,3" 0 per annum, with the proviso that the department should pay for moving ami" Installing tho quipment and provide heat and light. The otllce was moved at an expense to tho department of $716. The foregoing report of the fourth assistant postmaster general turn been widely printed and commented upon. That the report Is entirely misleading and un fair, and that it has created a false Im pression of tho transaction, is thown by the following newspaper paragraph, which la a simple of many of the same kind that have been printed by newspapers through out the state and country: The grand Jury Is investigating the cir cumstances attending the removal of the Hastings postoffice to the Dietrich building, the cost of which was J74U. The amount Is thought exorbitant by the department at Washington, and it is said there Is evidence before the grand jury to show that the vouchers was padded to the extent of $5o0 or $&. it is also claimed that much of the expense involved was put Into permanent Improvements on the Dietrich building. The contract for the removal of the post office was awarded by the postoffice de partment to O. N. Staley of Hastings through competitive bidding. The bills were presented while Mr. Leopold Halm was postmaster. Mr. Huhn, It should be understood was the unsuccessful candidate for reappointment at the time of the ap pointment of Jacob Fisher, and was the principal witness called by the prosecuting attorney for the grand Jury investigation. On May 7, 1901, Mr. Hahn sent the bids to the department at Washington with the following letter: HASTINGS POSTOFFICE. OFFICE OF TUB POSTMASTER. HASTINGS Adams County, Neb., May 7. 19ol. Hon. First As sistant Postmaster General, Washington, I. C: Dear Sir In accordance with your Instructions contained in your communica tion "A. N." of dale of April 24. I have the honor to transmit to you two bids with plan and specillcatinns in regard to the re moval of the present equipment to the Dietrich building. I have seen all of the contractors and these are the only two bids received. Should any be presented to nu later on, I then shall submit same likewise to you. Very respectfully, LEOPOLD HAHN, P. M. C. E. N. HAM EN. Asst. P. M. Under date of June 6, 1U.1, the first assist ant postmaster general wrote to the post master at Hastings as follows: Postmaster, Hastings, Neb.: Sir Referr ing to the bids submitted with your letter of the 1st Inst., for moving, repairing and Installing equipment in the Diettich build ing, you are informed that the hid of O. N. Staley Is accepted, with certain qualifica tions, viz: the items of a vault and parti tion from vault to west wall, etc., have been stricken out, as the department will adjust this feature of the case by tnipplving a suitable safe instead of going to the' ex pense of $015 to have Vtiult built. The item relative , 'curtains Is also stricken out and will t taken up for con sideration later on. You are therefor instructed, to confer NOW USED FOR POSTOFFICE PUK- with Mr. Staley nt nnce and Inform him that, with tho elimination of the items above Indicated, his bid Is accepted, and the department will expect him to proceed with the contemplated work as soon as practi cable, so that the postotllee shall be in possession of the Dietiich room and every thing satisfactorily arranged by the end of the present month. After conferring with Mr. Staley on the. subject you will advise this office further. From the report of Mr. ltrlstow it would appear that the charge of $7H was merely for removing fixtures from one 1 iiilding to ' the other, or, In other wolds, that It cost tin government $7I! to have a few desks, tables, (hairs, counters, etc., moved into the new building. In addition to removing the fixtures from the old building Mr. Staley supplied new locks for the private boxes, rfleltered nil boxes, stained and var nished nil new work, supplied new keys for each box, put in a new money order desk, another desk with drawers, n long tabl", a wire railing, a wire partition, a bag rack, a mailing table, one m illing case, a lavatory and sink with sewer connec tions, and combination gas and electric fixtures. All this work was done in ac cordance with the specifications named in Mr. Staley's bid, which were approved by the department. In a letter to the post master, under date of October 1, 1301, tho Pnstofllee department listed the work as follows: Moving and placing oifico fixtures, new locks, with three keys to each lock, re lettering all boxes, stain all new work, varnish all $3Z One money order desk 20 One desk with drawers 15 Ono long table 11 Wire railing, money order counter t: Wire partition enclosure, money order bureau S5 Hag rack itnlarged) 11 Mailing table, 4x5 feet 8 Oiii' mailing case 1H Two coats of paint on above ii Repairs to p::pr rack (iis case) 4 Water closet and sink, (sewer connec tions) 65 Eh-veil combination gas and electric fix tures 03 It will be noted that Mr. lirlstow In his report says that the proposal for tho re moval of the postoffice, "was accepted for another building no more desirable." It was meant by this statement that the new building, where the postoffice Is now lo cated, is nj more desirable than the old one. The old postoffice room was long and narrow, the only windows being In front. The room Is 19 feet wide and 121 feet long, but In the front of it there Is a stairway leading upstairs, which cuts off the light from the rear of the room. The room Into which the postoffice was moved meas ures 44 fvt across the front and Is 125 feet long. It facis both on Second street and St. Joe aveuuu and has doors and windows on both. The old room has 2,2!i9 square feet of Moor space, while the one Into which the postoffice was moved meas ured 5,C00. or over twice as much. Thus It will be seen that the room Into which the postoffice was moved was not only twice as largo as the old one, but hud the ad vantage of fronting on two streets, and was better lighted and better ventilated. The following paragraph is another sum plo of some of the tilings that have been aid by newspapers in regard to the re moval of the postoffice: It appears from the report of Mr. Hrls tow to President Hoosevelt, that there are really two postotlice scandals at Hastings, both involving Mr. Dietrich. The grand Jury indictment for bribery and conspiracy Is the one that has excited the state dur ing the last two weeks. The one just published at Washington Is connected with tho removal of the postotlice from the Grand Army of the Republic building to, Mr. Dietrich's own property. The removal ut an advanced rent to a less convenient location Is handled without gloves bv Mr. Hi ist, in,-. It is claimed nt Hastings that it could never have been accomplished by n man with anything short of a senatorial pull. The Grand Army people were natur ally very much worked up over tho can cellation of tho lease when It had u year yet to run. As to the statement In the foregoing para graph that the postoffice was moved to a it ss convenient location, It Is well to say that the new room is just forty fiet from the old one. facing on the same street, with an additional entrance on St. Joo avenue. Official Record of the Bargain Made by the Government . ... ! U' I' - ' ' ' : T71 ; I ; ;v. Mi t-1 ... I. GRAND ARMY FORMERLY WILDING LOCATED. In regard to the statement that the Grand Army ptople were agitated over the can cellation of the lease on the old building, which is owned by the Grand Army pi st, the following telegram now on Hie In tho Postoffice department at Washington is HUttlch nt explanation : Westi rn I'nlon Teh graph Company, Hastings, Neb., Apt II It, iWl. To the 1', m masler lleni r-'.l, Washington. D. C: t om niander and members ol our Gland Aimy post unanimously have no objection to re moval of postotlice to Senator Dietiich S building. ALMEliT F. PIERCE. Post Commander, late Kington General of National Grand Army of the Rcpub lc. Senator Dietrich und Jarob Fisher, tho present postmaster, were among those who contributed largely to the Grand Army post of Hastings, for the construe. Ion of the Grand Army of the Ri public building. After the postoffice had bien In the Grand Army of the Republic building several years the department at Washington in sisted that the room was inadequate and In order to keep the postotlice as a truant It was necessary to build an addition in the rear. Again Mr. Dietrich and Mr. Fisher made Fiihstnntiai contributions to assist in building this addition, which was necessary in order to prevent the postoffica from being movid. As shown by the report of Mr. Brlstow, tho rent paid by the government to tho Grand Army of the Republic post was 570) per year, but by tho terms of the contract the post had to supply the light and heat. The records of the Grand Army pt st at Hastings disclose tho fact that after pay- . lng the coul and light bills It enjoyid a net average revenue of less than $23 a month. The same room, which, when occupied by the postoffice, netted the post less than $21 a month, is now and has been since the removal of the postoffice occupied by mu nicipal officials, and the city pays for It a rental of $30 a. month and furnishes its own heat and light. From these facts It Is apparent that tho Grund Army post now has a more profitable tenant than when the room was used by the government. It was Mr. Hahn, the disappointed can didate fcr reappointment, who first pro posed tlu removal. This fact, and the his tory of the events leading up to the re moval of the office to the Dietrich build ing, is shown by tho following tecent corre spondence between Senator Dietrich and former Postmaster Gencrul Charles Emory Smith, who was In charge of the der.art ment at the time the office waa movej: HASTINGS, Neb., Dec. 2, VMO. Hon. Charles Emory Smith. Philadelphia,, Pa.: Dear Kir I beg to Invite your attention to the enclost d newspaper (lipping. Vou will note that in it the statement is made that "Hie old postotlice room was in every respect as commodious us the new one" You will recall that I called upon you In Washington while governor of Nebraska, ami there uttendlng the second inaugura tion of President McKlnley, Hiid you will doubtless remember the conversation which took place regarding the postoffice here. I told you that I understood that on your recent visit to Hastings Mr. Leopold Hahn, who was then postmaster, went with you to the postotlice, und while there recom mended to you that n better room be secured. I had heard that he had called your attention to the fact thut the room was not only eutircly too small, but was ! L ! : l AT HASTINGS IN WHICH THE POSTOFFICE WAS poorly lighted, and generally unfit for use iu a postoffice In a town the size of Hast ings. You said that be had done this and that you ugreed with him that n better room for tho posioillce should be pro vided. After learning of this, nnd In the samn conversation, 1 told you that I was hnvln.ir completed the construction of n new build ing within forty feet of the room then oc cupied by the posioillce, and I offered lo lent the first floor of It to the govern ment, provided a satisfactory rental would be paid. Tho new building, 1 explained, was on the corner, facing both on Hecoint street and St. Joe avenue, with windows and entrance from both, and the first Moor, which 1 offered, over twice as large ns the old one, then being used. You were favor able to the proposition of renting In tho new building, ami before I left your office) a contract or agreement was entered Into for the execution of n lease providing for an annual rental of Sl.MH). In view of the fact that tho transaction has been greatly misrepresented by tha newspapers, In tho publication of such statements as the enclosed, I would ap preciate the favor If you would advlsa me If what I have stated Is not true, or, better still, give me your own description of tho transaction and the conversation which led up to It. I am very anxious to get this matter straight before the peo ple, and I sincerely hope you will favor me with an early reply. Thanking you In ndvnnce for the courtesy, I nm. very truly yours. C. H. DIETRICH. THE PHILADELPHIA PRESS. Office of the Editor. December '.9, 1:3. Hon. Charles H. Dietrich: Dear Kir Your letter Hint here while I was confined to my bed with illness und an earlier reply has been Im possible. My genernl recollection of the 'circum stances connected with your visit to the Postoffice department while you we: e gov ernor of Nebraska, relating to the postoffice at Hastings and its proposed change, cor responds with your statement of your un derstanding. I had visited Hastings during the fall of IfKO and had seen the postoffica which whs represented to me to be Inade quate. When you came to the department some months later the subject was cm vnssed and I roncurred In the expediency of a change which would give better fad I tles. I have no special recollection hs to the arrangement of the details, though I believe the re.ital first proposed contem plated your providing the complete outfit of fixtures, and that upon a subsequent arrangement to use those In the old o t nftlce a reduction was made. The rrcord, however, will give the exact facts. Yours verv truly, (Signed) CHARLES EMORY SMITH. The foregoing Is a true and full Ftate ment of the now notorious Hastings pest otllce "deal," and shows how much of mis representation has been Indulged in by biased newspapers. S. G. II. Arbor Day Advocates While Mrs. eGroge 13. McClellun was lunching with some women friends one day recently the oldest of the party began to entertain the others with an account of her only matrimonial quarrel. She sill that after making It up with one another. Iter husband bad planted a tree In reinein branco of It. 'What a splendid Idea," laughed Mrs. McClellan, "I must make a note of It for the benefit of a few couples of my ao- W'hlle Mrs. George 11. McClellan waa qualntancea who are always quar reling. If they adopt a similar plan they wll have a magnificent avenue la D time!"-Philadelphia IUer.