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by Lois Puchta


by Lois Puchta

I am intrigued, entertained, frequently amused and always fascinated by newspaper reporting in times past. The openness and candidness of early reporting is refreshing, though sometimes actually a bit surprising in terms of expression of the editor’s opinion as a part of the reporting. One of the perks of being an Archives & Records Center volunteer is ready access to Gasconade County newspapers on microfilm. Of course, that microfilm is available to any person visiting the Center.

This article shares front-page news of the spring and summer of 1930, as reported in the Gasconade County Republican. Incidentally, an annual subscription to the newspaper in 1930 cost $1.50.

A newsworthy topic during that period of time was the county’s purchase of right-of-way for the construction of Highway 19, a piece of Gasconade County landscape that today we likely take for granted. Here’s a bit of its history printed as originally published.
April 3, 1930 -- “County court met last Tuesday and Wednesday to secure right-of-ways for highway No. 19. Thus far they have secured right-of-ways over the proposed route from the city limits of Hermann to where the highway intersects with the old iron road at the Mike Boesch farm.

“This week the court devoted to securing right-of-ways over properties belonging to Hermann people. They yesterday secured deeds for right-of-ways from J. Haney, Irvin Haid, Christ. H. Danuser, Phillip Apprill, Lucas Cramer and Stone Hill Farms. The only right-of-way left to be secured is from F. W. Beckmann, who has property here but resides in Washington, MO., and from the Toussaint Schnell and the Chr. Wolf estates.
“The biggest proposition confronting the court was the purchase of the right-of-way from Oscar Hoffmann. The course of the highway is directly over Mr. Hoffmann’s residence lot and necessitates the tearing down or moving away of the residence, a new bungalow recently built. The house stands directly in the path of the highway.
“After a conference with Mr. Hoffmann the matter was definitely settled through the county court purchasing the property at $4900, the actual cost of the building and premises to Mr. Hoffmann. This was a very reasonable demand on the part of the owner and we consider the court to be commended not only for paying Mr. Hoffmann what the premises are worth but in using good judgment in that the county now owns the building and can reimburse itself to some extent through the sale of the same to some one else who may move the property to some nearby lot.”

Following up on this unusual right-of-way purchase, a cursory search of the minutes of the County Court reveals this entry relating to the Hoffmann property from the Court’s minutes of Saturday, August 30, 1930: “Court now orders that all lumber which was left over from the house known as Oscar Hoffmann house on Market Street [in Hermann] on new State Highway No. 19 which was moved to a new location by order of the County Court and all material needed and left over is to be under the supervision of Judge H. Schnitger whether it be sold or retained by the Court for future building purposes.”

For persons who are interested, the original official record of the Kollmorgen inquest is on file and on microfilm at the GCHS Archives & Records Center. Along with other documents, the file contains the depositions of Wanura, W.T. Emde, Schaefer and Huber.