• 66°

Stump gets in the way of progress

More this week on Horace Austin State Park, now best known in Austin as the Mill Pond area. When the park was being developed in 1915, workers made an unusual discovery.

From the Austin Weekly Herald on Oct. 27, 1915:

“The big dredge cleaning out the Horace Austin state park hooked onto the biggest obstacle they expect to meet in all their work.

Near the north end of the east channel leading from the lagoon at the head of Main street was a stump of what must have been one of the largest trees that ever grew in this part of the state. The dredge men have been looking at that stump with some little fear for they know it would put the machine to the supreme test.

The derrick can lift seven ton but no one could say what that water soaked stump with its great roots would weigh. This morning the local park committee and quite a number of citizens gathered to see the work. All the machinery of the dredge was gone over. The heavy hawsers were drawn taut anchoring the dredge at the easiest angle for the big lift.

The Herald knowing of the attempt to lift the obstacle had the Moving Picture man with his camera on the scene and the operator says its one of the most interesting pictures he ever took.

He and his machine were in a scow to the west of the machine and the picture shows the big dipper in its several failures before it got a grip. Then the derrick groaned as the steel cables began to lift. Pullies squeaked and the old engine puffed and snorted under the strain. Slowly the gargantuan stump with fifteen feet roots arose from its oozy bed where it had lain so long.

The engineer remarked “Its close to the seven ton mark,” as the stern of the dredge rose clear off the water and the prow went deep down. Slowly the derrick swung it over to the shore. The Movie man shouted “Hold it till I get a close view.”

He had just got his camera in motion when the iron jaws tore the roots apart and the stump dropped beneath the water. Then the movie man got another splendid close view of the raising of the log to its being dropped into the mud upon the shore.”

I find that the Austin Weekly Herald was far ahead of their time, employing a “Moving Picture Man” in 1915. Too bad that they weren’t able to post the video to their website in those early days.

This week at the HHH

Sunday, Jan. 29: Austin Wedding Showcase featuring the Austin Bruins at noon to 3 p.m. Bridal Fashion Show presented by Belles & Beaus and ViDeyo Arts at 2 p.m. Admission $3 at the door.

Coming soon to the HHH

Cooking Tips & Trends on Saturday, February 18 at 10 a.m. presented by Josh Diaz from Piggy Blues, as part two of a three-part “Passport to Flavor” classes in January, February and March. Register through Community Ed at 460-1704.

Social Concerns: New Jobs in Austin by John Garry of the DCA on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. Register at 433-4243 by Monday, Feb. 20.