Fridley page 14

[no source, handwritten date: Nov. 5, 1940]

U. S. and Howell Owners to Meet
Parley Tonight to Settle ‘Fair Price’ on TNT Plant Land

            Growing buyer-and-seller strife in connection with government acquisition of land for the proposed $15,000,000 TNT plant near Howell, St. Charles County, appeared headed for a showdown yesterday when a meeting of landowners, War Department representatives and state aids was called in Francis Howell High School for tonight.
            At issue is the question of “fair price,” which the government has said it is willing to pay for the land it needs for the explosives plant, but which, to farmers whose tracts are included in the proposed 1800-acre site, must include the cost of moving and re-establishing themselves on land that is said already to have doubled in price.
            Representatives of R. Newton McDowell, Kansas Cityan to whom the War Department has delegated the task of getting options, yesterday said they had “a few” options signed, but declined to reveal prices. Virtually the entire staff returned to Kansas City yesterday to vote after saying the “prospects are bright” for signing up other land owners.
            The meeting tonight is designed to iron out problems confronting farmers in the move they must make if they surrender their tracts, which range in size from small 50 by 140 foot building lots to 200-acre parcels.
            War Department aids are to join in price discussion and reveal the extent to which the government will aid in relocating families in homes comparable to those vacated. Federal and state social and economic specialists are to help in the work, it was said.
            Although Congressman Clarence Cannon of Elsberry, Lincoln County, told a meeting of farmers Monday night at Francis Howell High School, that the War Department, regardless of protests, will start work on the plant in December, sentiment in St. Charles County yesterday was growing that the farmers still hold an “ace in the hole”—the delay they could cause by forcing the government to go through court condemnation proceedings.
            From the meeting tonight was expected to come some new federal price instructions to McDowell or a solid landowner front against yielding land.
            Evacuation of the approximately 200 tracts involved will bring many community repercussions, it was pointed out. Removal of any con- [one or more lines missing]

[no source, no date]

Quickly Agrees TNT No Place for Home

            Living near an explosives plant is nothing new to William Kaut, general superintendent of the Brown Shoe Company here, but he thinks so little of the idea that he was among the first to agree with the War Department option-buyers on the price at which he would yield his new St. Charles County home to the proposed TNT plant.
            Built three years ago as a “home for the rest of my life,” Kaut’s 75-acre tract contains a stone 10-room residence, a barn and a cottage. The grounds have been carefully landscaped.
            Twenty years ago Kaut had his first experience with powder plant explosions when he lived in Carthage, Mo. Twelve miles away was the Hercules Powder plant, which he said blew up several times without extensive near-by damage.
            “While they didn’t hurt my place, I don’t have any desire to live near another explosives plant,” he said. “I have already signed an option to sell my property to the government for the St. Charles County plant. There’s no other way out of it and I believe all landowners affected would do better to work with the government on the job than against.”