A Sampling Of History……#211 (the 90’s)


.  Jim White was pansophical, a person who’s engineering logic was respected by all whom called upon him,  Gary distinguishing the 75-year-old unlike anyone he had ever encountered.   A little known communal aspect,  Jim’s induction of proficiency wasn’t limited to mechanical or integral engineering,  but also an intrinsic sphere of  many interest.  Jim displaying a vivid knowledge of  history,  literature and the arts, believing its interest to be a depleting trait not found in the new generation, a new circumscribed field of study dictating their lives.   The  Retiree,  his copious years as Anthony’s City Engineer giving him insight to city governmental functioning and acquiring community respect for his many engineering accomplishments, the foremost, the design and installation of three diesel-powered generators as an auxiliary power source for the city of Anthony.  Gary’s first experience with Jim White,  other than his employment interview at the hospital was one of crisis after the failure of  the hospitals 100 ton Trane Air Conditioning unit.  Roy Stein  having mentioned it was the hospitals original central AC Unit.  Gary as Plant Service Manager calling upon Jim after a disclosure from the Trane Company in Wichita,  stating they would be unable to make a service call for at least several days.  Jim’s analogy of the quandary when inspecting the boiler room located 100 ton monstrosity,  it had sustained critical damage,  and in his opinion,  it was not plausible to even attempt to repair this relic from the past.  Gary immediately surmising  his options,  asking Jim to accompany him to relate the problem to Hospital Administrator Jay Jolly.

Jim calmly addressing the situation to the administrator, and without hesitation responding with an innovative solution,  revealing,  his son,  a refrigeration engineers, owner of a commercial air conditioning company in Midwest City, Oklahoma,  offering to call and inquire about any serviceable used units that could alleviate the immediate problem.  Jim placing the call,  his son’s  company having two serviceable used 60 ton Carrier units,  each unit possessing a pair of 30 ton compressors.  The elderly engineer emphasizing,  that with Jays approval,  he could journey to Oklahoma for a 60 ton Carrier unit and confident it could be coupled into the existing system.  The following afternoon found Jim returning from Oklahoma, secured in the back of his pickup was the first of the 60 ton Carrier units.

.  Gary receiving questions of concern from the hospital staff about the air conditioning, relating,  it would be up and running soon, and fortunately there were two areas not affected with the loss of the main system,  the kitchen and surgery suites,  both possessing roof top units.   With the inoperative 100 ton Trane still in place it was necessary to install the first 60 ton unit outside adjacent to the boiler room,  its ground level windows,  allowing access to the circulating pumps water supply line from the idle unit. The first Carrier unit was up and running  two days after arrival. The next project entertained was the removal of the large Trane unit,  its voluminous size and weight was such, the only way for removal was to employ a cutting torch to reduce the unit into sections.  Gary experienced a hands-on use of an acetylene torch for the first time.   Expediency was not of an essence for the boiler room installed second unit,  but once completed,  the two units provided the hospital a cost saving cooling capability.  the  units provided power options, employing 30 to a hundred twenty tons,  according to necessity, but foremost for Gary  the knowledge there was redundancy,  no longer a lone solitary unit for cooling the 48 bed acute hospital and clinic.

.  Gary having taken some time off, seated in Jim White’s Buick journeying east on highway 160,  the elderly man having extended an invitation for Gary to accompany him to Oxford,  14 miles east of Wellington,  a small farming community on the Arkansas River.   The two entering the small hamlet,  exiting north on a dirt road appropriately named Old Mill Rd, soon coming upon a structure of another era, a paddle wheel powered  mill,  Jim mentioning it had been placed on the National Historic Registry in 1983.    The grain mill  was constructed in 1874  on the newly acquired land which was ceded by a 1870 treaty with the Osage Indians, a  state-of-the-art facility for its time.  It was  built by D.N. Cook and John Hewitt,  the two having a 3 mile rill dug parallel to the Arkansas River,  providing an aquatic flow to enable the paddle wheel to power a water turbine generator,  providing the mill with electricity for its operating function. The mill operation having a restoration program initiated  in 19 89 with  an addition of a small restaurant and gift shop complementing the revitalized structure.   Gary wondering the reason for Jim to share this part of Kansas history and the electricity dispensing water turbine generator, a remnant from a by-gone era.   Gary soon discovered,  Jim was responsible for restoring it to an operational status, although the water flow rate was no longer available for any practical function, Jim’s achievement was still impressive.

.  Before returning to Anthony, the two walked over to another grain and flour mill built in 1935,  and still actively producing its flour product.  entering the mill, Jim was well received by the employees, greeted by all, the elderly celebrity motioning to Gary to join him on a wooden slat conveyor to access the top of the structure.  Gary, Hesitant at first, not wanting to show his uncertainty, mirroring Jim, grasping the cable, stepping on the moving conveyor slat, an upward journey to a platform at the top of the mill.  Following Jim’s example upon reaching the top, stepping off the conveyor onto the platform.  The high platform  giving view to the integral working of the milling process.  Upon their departure the two visitors were presented with a five pound cloth sack of flour, a product of the mill.  Gary appreciative for the invitation to experience a sampling of Kansas culture and history in the company of such a multifarious individual, a commodity of yesteryear but still appropriately complimentary today.




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