Photos from the Vault

Seized gamecocks become inmates' dinner, World War II week by week

Jan. 18, 1944 Telegram-Tribune headlines include a deal for Salinas Dam water.
Jan. 18, 1944 Telegram-Tribune headlines include a deal for Salinas Dam water.

Jan. 14, 1944:

Thousand-dollar prison stew was served to jail inmates. Confiscated gamecocks were converted into hot meals after two men tried to steal the fowl back from sheriff's custody. The 32 fighting roosters were valued at $1,120, or $35 each.

Funeral services were scheduled for Sgt. Charles Eddy of Templeton. He died, along with the seven other crew members, in a bomber crash on a training mission in Idaho.

San Luis Obispo County births had more than doubled in the three years since 1940. In 1943 there were 1,183 children born but only 546 in 1940. If projections held then there would be twice as many first-graders enrolled in 1950 as enrolled in 1943. Robert L. Bird, county superintendent of schools, advised trustees of school boards to begin budgeting and planning for growth on a scale they were not used to.

Jan. 18, 1944:

San Luis Obispo county was starting the Fourth War Loan campaign. Organizers hoped to raise just shy of $2 million.

The longest-lasting news for San Luis Obispo was a license agreement for Salinas Dam water. This would secure a reliable water supply for the future.

City Obtains Salinas Dam Water Supply

San Luis Obispans were assured of a 40-year water supply, adequate to keep pace with the city's growth, Monday night, when the city council authorized execution of a license agreement with the United States for diversion of water from the Salinas river.

Resolution providing for this agreement was passed unanimously by the council. The new license, which Mayor Fred C. Kimball said gives the city a more favorable rate of payment, replaced a contract dated Aug. 9, 1943, which was never completely executed.

Diversion Authorized

The license, permitting the city to appropriate and maintain a connection to the Army pipeline from the dam, authorizes the city to divert all water needed by San Luis Obispo which is in excess of the needs of Camp San Luis Obispo. The city to install its own meters.

The maximum water to be diverted is not to exceed 2,400 acre-feet in any calendar year and is to be paid for by the city on a basis of three cents per 100 cubic feet or $13.068 per acre foot. The minimum charge is to be $5,000, which is approximately half of the minimum charge asked in the original contract, Kimball said.

He expressed appreciation to Elmo Buttle, representing the U.S. Engineers Office, for his cooperation in obtaining the favorable license agreement.

The license is said to be in effect from Jan. 1, 1944, for one calendar year and will be automatically renewed each successive one-year period, provided it is not revoked meanwhile by the Secretary of War or on written notice by the city of its intention to terminate the license, which must be received by the United States at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the preceding one-year period. Under this plan the license is to run for 40 years.

The city is prohibited from assigning or transferring any interest in the license to another party without prior written consent of the United States.

Rates to Stay Same

Mayor Kimball said he expected the water rates for consumers to remain about the same, with the possibility of their becoming less. He said he also believed that the Salinas River would provide softer water than the city had been using from shed water at the city reservoir and wells throughout the city.

As soon as testing is completed at the Steel Bridge canyon reservoir, the water will be run in from the Salinas dam and then will be diverted to Camp San Luis Obispo and the city. The federal government has assumed the cost of building the dam, requiring the city to pay only its own cost of diverting the water, while the reservoir has been built by the Federal Works Agency.

Miles Fitzgerald, city attorney, read a letter from the FWA in relation to leasing the waterworks facilities provided by the FWA, and suggesting that a representative of the council and a representative of the FWA meet to discuss terms.

Kimball said that a special meeting of the council will be called at the representative's convenience to negotiate terms of a lease.

Attending the council session were Kimball, J.E. Brown, city clerk, Joseph Leary, Ralph C Kennedy, Raymond Howell, Clyde T. O'Nan, councilmen and Fitzgerald.

The Southerm Pacific was advertising for plumbers. The wartime labor shortage had hit and steam powered locomotives needed reliable water service. Though the company called itself "permanent" the jobs evaporated when the railroad converted from steam to diesel power in a decade. The permanent company no longer exists either, it was bought out by Union Pacific.

Military Police and city police were called in to break up what was termed "an incipient gang fight" on lower Higuera street. One African American soldier was stabbed and fistfights were breaking out when authorities arrived. About 60 men were involved and they were sent back to Camp San Luis Obispo and Shell Beach.

The Soviet Army was continuing its advance across the Ukraine and was attacking near Leningrad.