A Water System in New Mexico.
The existing city water plant and the franchises, reservoir and canal sites and surveys of the Santa Fe Irrigation Company have been sold to the Municipal Investment Company of Chicago, a corporation backed by men of unlimited means and business capacity, and the intention of the new owners is to construct here a city water and suburban irrigation system that will make productive thousands of acres of the most fertile fruit and farm lands in the West. The former owners of the system were Hon. L. A. Hughes, J. W. Akers, E. L. Bartlett, Max Frost and J. D. Hughes. For two years thiscompany has worked hard to perfect a better irrigation system. The sale is regarded as a boon to the citizens, as the old petty quarrels will cease, and under the new company an era ot prosperity will probably dawn upon the city and vicinity. Work will begin at once on reservoir No. I, which will becompleted this fall at a cost of about $50,000.
The reservoir is located in a natural depression in the foot hills at the easter edge of the Knaebel mesa, 315 feet above the base of the plaza monument, and its capacity will be sufficient to more than double the present water supply for domestic put poses and for the irrigation of all suburban farms, orchards and gardens.
The flood waters of the Rio Santa Fe are to be diverted as a coffer dam about half a mile above the recent reservoir and thence conveyed to this new reservoir through a canal eight feet wide and four feet deep. To complete this part of the improvement it will require the expenditure of $50,000 or more, and this will be expended this fall. It is expected that next spring the other reservoir sites and canal lines will be built, necessitating the expenditure of at least $200,000, and affording water sufficient to irrigate thousands of acres of lands, in close proximity to the capital city.
RAPID BUILDING IN CHICAGO.—The British Consul at Chicago in his latest report gives an example of the extraordinary rapidity with which lofty buildings are erected there. The Ashland block, a construction of steel, stone and terra cotta at the corner of Randolph and Clark streets, close to the city hall, seventeen stories in height, was built on an area of 140 feet by 80 feet in midwinter, and work was continued, day and night, by relays of men, strong arc electric lights being used by night; artificial heat was furnished by ten salamander stoves to enable the builders and masons to work at that season of the year, and protection from cold winds was given by several hundred yards of thick canvas. The skeleton of steel for each floor was first erected, each column, girder and rafter being lifted and placed in position by steam power ; these were rivetted with red-hot rivets, and as the stories rose they were filled-in with square blocks of terra-cotta and brick. On December 6, last year, six floors were completed, and the steel skeleton for the next six stories was for the most part placed. On December iq ten floors were completed, and the steel shell for three more stories was in position. Thus the entire construction of four floors of a building 140 feet by 80 feet, divided into numerous rooms, was solidly built in thirteen days, or one floor in three and one-fourth days. About sixty iron and steel workers, one hundred brick masons and thirty five terra cotta setters were continually at work. The enormous quantity of iron and steel used in this new mode of construction, which was only first tried six years ago, has created quite a new industry, and the employees have already their organization under the term architectural iron workers. Steel has now almost entirely taken the place of iron, of which the first few of these tall buildings were constructed. The foundations are tiers of steel rails embedded in conerete, the beams stretching 10 feet or 12 feet under the street. This plan was found necessary on account of the nature of the soil, so as to bear the great imposed weight. These beams are made at the Illinois Steel Works, or come from Pennsylvania. This new method of building is said so be lighter and stronger than the old system, and to be absolutely fireproof. The greatest variation in the plumb line from base to top of these tall buildings has been found not to exceed half an inch.