Fridley page 7

[no source, no date]

St. Charles County Gets TNT Plant
Site Near Daniel Boone Bridge; Will Employ Up to 10,000

            A 20,000-acre site near Weldon Spring in St. Charles County has been selected by the War Department for a $15,000,000 TNT plant, which will provide employment for at least 8000 to 10,000 men.
            The first announcement of the project came late yesterday from R. Newton McDowell, Kansas City contractor, who has been designated by Col. R. D. Valliant, chief procurement officer of the department’s Quartermaster Corps, to acquire options on land for the site.
            The plant will be owned by the Government and will be the first west of the Mississippi River to produce explosives exclusively for government use. It will be operated by the Atlas Powder Company of Wilmington, Del.
            Bounded by the new Daniel Boone Bridge, over which the new Highway 40 passes, on one side, and by the Missouri River and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad on the other, the site was selected because of its proximity to rail and river transportation facilities.
            The new highway and bridge was a major factor in the consideration of the site for the plant, according to D. M. Bolton, engineer representing McDowell and who has been in St. Charles for the last few days investigating the area,
            Bolton said the road will expedite the transportation of workers from St Louis to the plant, which will be approximately 20 miles west of the city limits. Bolton told a reporter between 10,000 and 12,000 men will be employed.
            Too, the proximity of the site to a large supply of raw materials, including sulphuric acid, which is used extensively in the manufacture of TNT, and to the Missouri River, which affords plenty of water also needed for the explosive, were other prime factors considered by the war Department.
            The estimate of the cost of the project was made by Thomas H. Dysart, chairman of the Missouri Industrial Commission and head of [?] St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, who said the selection of the St. Charles site for the plant establishes St. Louis area as one of coming importance in industrial aspects of the defense program.
            The erection of the explosive plant will necessitate the absorption of Hamburg, an unincorporated area five miles south of Weldon Springs and with a population of 145, into the plant area and the rerouting of State Highway 94, which leads to St. Charles through Hamburg. About 700 farms are included in the 20,000 acres now needed, it was said.
            A prepared statement issued by both McDowell and Bolton read: “It is the desire of Col. Valliant that farmers be paid a reasonable price for their land. He does not expect to buy it at bankrupt sale figures, but on the other hand does expect to get a fair price for the government.
            “However, time is the essence, the defense program must go forward quickly, and construction on this site is ready to go. While the War Department is most desirous to see this land is acquired in a fair manner and to the satisfaction of the farmers, it has the right in the last analysis to enter condemnation proceedings and take possession immediately. However, the hope is that this will be entirely unnecessary.”
            Bolton said about a dozen aids will be in St. Charles by the end of the week to help him in negotiating for the land, which he seems to think will be a difficult problem as the largest individual tract is about 200 acres.
            McDowell has designated the Kansas City Title and Trust Company to pass on all titles in acquiring options and the Emmons Abstract Company of St. Charles for abstract work.

[no source, no date]

TNT Plant Wrecks Plans for Estates
St. Louisans Had Area in Mind for Fine Homes

            Decision of the War Department to erect a $15,000,000 plant at Weldon Spring, near St. Charles, for the manufacture of high explosives wrecks the plans of a group of wealthy St. Louisans to establish country estates in that area.
            Birch O. Mahaffey, president of W. C. McBride, Inc., owners of oil wells and leases in the Illinois basin and in other oil producing states, yesterday said his 800 acres are a part of the 18,000 acres to be purchased by the government for the plant. Mahaffey’s holdings extend for several miles along the Missouri River bluffs. Kenneth Bitting, broker, is the owner of several farms on the site. He recently erected a fine country home on one of his properties, Other land holders on are B. B. Culver, president of the Wrought Iron Range Company; Edward K. Love Jr., real estate operator, and Mrs. Nancy Blair Van Cleave.
            Mahaffey said he had not been approached by government agents and offered a price for his holdings.
            About 12 years ago, said one of the owners of property on the site, a group undertook to locate the most desirable country residence areas accessible to St. Louis. After much search the group selected the Missouri River bluff in St. Charles County, extending from the present Daniel Boone bridge to five miles up the river. This site met the requirements of accessibility to the city, with privacy of surroundings, scenery, including water areas, and without objectionable features in view.
            Another important requirement was that the summer breeze from the south should come across the maximum amount of water surface to the building site which should be at the greatest elevation obtainable above the water to gain the cooling effect of a rising air. The site, on which the explosive plant is now to be built, fully met this requirement.
            The area on which the War Department will erect the ordnance plant is covered with virgin timber. According to wild life conservationists, while there are many large wooded areas south of the Missouri River, this is the only stand of virgin timber north of the river in the state. Plans were being made to develop it as a forest preserve.
            The War Department announced in Washington yesterday that the plant is to be constructed and operated by private interests, the Atlas Powder Company of Wilmington, Del., on a cost-plus-fixed-fee basis. It will manufacture trinitrotoluene (TNT) and dinitrotoluene (DNT) an explosive similar to TNT.

[no source, October 28, 1940]

Fail to Get Options on TNT Plant Site
[handwritten: Oct. 28, 1940]

            Twelve agents of the R. Newton McDowell Company. Kansas City, Mo., who went out yesterday [?] options on the land for the government’s TNT plant at the Daniel Boone bridgehead in St. Charles County, returned last night without options.
            F. M. Bolton, manager of the St. Charles office of the McDowell Company, said the agents [?] the farmers skeptical. The farmers, he said, wanted more time to consider whether they were getting a fair price for their farms before signing the options. The agents expected better luck today.
            The government is seeking options on 18,000 acres of land [?] site of the high explosive factory. The site now composes 700 parcels of land. Some 200 families are living in the area sought by the government.
            The McDowell Company, however, obtained one option on a [?] of 132 acres. A farmer and his wife came into McDowell’s office at St. Charles and signed an option [?] their property.