Thursday, December 11, 2014

Weber’s mass student suspension of 1911 over a frolic

                                     Weber State College in the early 1950s.

ONE of the largest mass student suspensions in Utah took place just over a century ago in Ogden.
“Students of academy expelled” was a March 16, 1911 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
Fifty students of Weber Academy (forerunner of Weber State University) were suspended from school as a result of a “junior class frolic.”
“The students of that class took it upon themselves to have an all-day holiday, and accordingly went to the (Ogden) Canyon,” the Standard story reported.
“The faculty could not see where the joke was and decided to take disciplinary measures. The names of the offending students were read out in assembly this morning and the students were asked to leave the building and leave the grounds,” the story stated.
The students would only be reinstated with a letter from their parents requesting such action, backed up by assurance from the students that they will keep school rules in the future.
The majority of the students followed the procedure and returned to school the next day.
-Another historical item: “Tunnel through the Wasatch Mountains” was a January 24, 1903 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
In another ambitious early 20th Century plan that never quite happened, an irrigation tunnel was planned for a thirsty Wasatch Front, where crops had been suffering from a lack of water.
This 20-mile tunnel would have taken water from the Weber River, near Peterson in Morgan County, westward to what is now the Hill Air Force Base area, or back then John Hill’s ranch.
“Not only would a tunnel be a work of eternity and cost little for maintenance, but it would be an underground drain for the seepage of the mountain range,” The Standard story reported.
A new corporation, to be known as the Davis County Canal & Irrigation Company, was to organize this gigantic feat for an estimated $310,000 ($7.5 million in 2014 dollars).

                           The mouth of Weber Canyon.

The tunnel would also rely on two small dams on the Weber River, one near Peoa and another near Kamas.
This plan was believed to be less expensive than a nine-mile-long wooden flume and could help irrigate some 100,000 acres of farmland in Davis and Weber counties.
Fast forward 50 years to 1953 and the Weber Basin Project became a similar feat, though this far more complex water storage and delivery system required more than $57 million and 17 years to complete. The modern project also included a 3.3-mile-long tunnel through the rock of Weber Canyon.
-In yet another historical note, the communities of West Weber and Slaterville were united on March 1, 1891, thanks to the completion of an iron bridge over the combined Ogden and Weber rivers.
A Standard report from that date, stated that “after long years of mutual and patient tax-paying, after passing through much tribulation in their endeavors to be tied together,”   a superb iron bridge was finally built by Weber County.
James McFarland poured “a libation of wine” on the bridge to christen it. Then, Richard Slater, 80, the first of the settlers on the north side, advanced to the center to the bridge. He had a banner that stated, “Hurrah! This element is spanned. And may this bridge forever stand.”
Slater was there greeted by John Douglas, 76, senior settler on the south side, who had a banner that stated, “And may both sides be united in everlasting harmony.”
Carriages then carried area residents back and forth the new bridge. Then, a tame deer from West Weber ran across the span to the Slaterville side.

(-Originally published on-line and in print by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Dec. 11-12, 2014.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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