Hodge Podge - Three Rivers|
written by Joe Ganger, 20 Nov 2000
Mr. Washington Gascon from Three Rivers made "keel-boats" in 1836 and 1837. B. Moore designed the first "ark" boats and E. Millard built them. They named the first one "Kitty Kiddungo" and it carried flour to Chicago, down the river past the "South Bend" in the river and back up to Lake Michigan at St. Joseph, then along the shoreline to Chicago. Lumber for the boats was "whip-sawed." A whip-saw is a narrow two man saw they could use to cut the logs length-wise into long boards.
Of course the railroads quickly made this kind of transportation obsolete. The first rails were wood with strap iron nailed on top. The all iron T-rails were eventually laid making it very modern and permitted trains to travel at the terrific speed of 30 (whoopee!) miles per hour. Compare that to drifting with the current!
An interesting story about Three Rivers is the Bowman Park on North Main Street. It was given to the city by the Bowman family for use as a cemetery, and if not, it was to go back to the family. In 1858 the River Side Cemetery was laid out east of town. When they wanted to move the graves from Bowman Cemetery to River Side Cemetery, this was a problem because legally, they would lose the land. They solved that problem by leaving one grave on the site. Visit Bowman park today and sure enough, it is still a cemetery. One lone grave makes it so. Clever or under-handed? You be the judge.
Yes, Colon's Bowman Street here in Colon is named after the same family.