Jul 202012

Lock and Dam No. 1

Real photo postcard, 1910-1920.

Businessmen along the Osage River agitated for generations for engineering improvements that would facilitate steamboat traffic on the river. Finally in the late 1800s, politicians bullied the Army Corps of Engineers into building a disastrous lock and dam about nine miles from the junction of the Osage with the Missouri River. Construction costs ran hugely over budget and it failed miserably to provide the projected economic benefits. Fifty years later, the Army Corps of Engineers continued the tradition of intervening in the hydrology of the Osage River with projects that ran over budget and failed to provide promised benefits. Lock & Dam #1 cost somewhere around $750,000 (we think). The six recent interventions by the Corps cost hundreds of millions.

Every Monday we’ll post an unpublished image that relates to the Osage River, its ecology, history and development. None of these have been used in Damming the Osage, but they relate to the themes of the book. A brief caption identifies the location and our thoughts on its significance and meaning. Feel free to use these images for personal use if you credit “Collection of Leland and Crystal Payton.”  For commercial use, email us for details and a modest fee for a higher resolution image. We have thousands of historic photographs and brochures as well as our own contemporary photos.

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