Sunday, April 15, 2012

The 1919 Sewage Crisis, Part I (53)

In a letter dated September 23, 1919 Dr. Walter Bates, the Davis public health officer, responding to urgings from the Women’s Improvement Club asked the California Bureau of Sanitary Engineering to inspect and to help correct certain sanitary conditions in Davis.


Mr. C. F. Smith of that bureau came to Davis on September 27, made an inspection, and wrote the report I reproduce here from its publication in the Davis Enterprise on October 17, 1919.

The images containing the story have been made from my personal copy, which explains some of the markings. The text is otherwise “rough” because that is the way microfilmed images of old newspapers look unless they are “cleaned up” a great deal, which I have not done here.

What Smith describes in his report has, of course, a complex context. Following the images containing his report, I begin to provide some of it in an extract from my Davis (pp. 62-63).

This is the first post in a series. The plot will thicken.