Friday, May 02, 2008

Yes, Virginia, there is a Nitro clause

If any you po’ misguided folk believe that government and/or corporate collusion is anything new, here’s the tale of Nitro, West Virginia.

The U. S. government spent seventy million dollars in building the city of Nitro, a few miles below Charleston in the Kanawha valley. Today [1974] the combined valuation of all the realty and personal property in the city is $401,240.”

[Seventy Million Dollars in 1919 purchasing power would be betwixt ten (700 Million Dollars) and twenty-five times (One Billion 750 Million) depending of which Consumer Items you use to calculate the rate of inflation. If you use yachts, large diamonds, luxury cars, etc., you get approximately 10Xs - if you use postage stamps, housing costs, oranges, medicine, lettuce, education, gasoline, etc., it runs between 15 and 30Xs. The price/profit from a quart of U. S. solider blood and/or enemy solider blood seems to have remained at about the same strata however the price of 20th century civilian blood has fluctuated greatly from the all time lows of WWII to the highs of WWI. The sum of 400,000 in 1974 loot should be around.....ohhhhhh, I don’t know – a million, two million?]

Well, the scheme with the building of Nitro was a ‘Cost + 10%’.

Now, what that means is that the company gets reimbursed for their expenses plus a ten percent profit; sooooooo if’in the company spent one million dollars they'd get one hundred thousands dollars profit, if they'd spent 100 million dollars they'd realize 10 million, if they spent 1 billion they'd recieve 100 million.

Anywho, huge bonfires burnt for weeks consuming trainload after trainload of new wood.
Millions of Wheeling nails, in barrels, were rolled into waterways.
Tons of machines, wiring, tools, even entire trucks were buried in some of the many rills and small valleys that the West Virginia landscape supplies in abundance.
All these things, and many more, were squandered IMO but.....were and are (quite a few folks are still raking in interest from Nitro profits) considered ‘good business’ by the ones profiting by vast waste as U. S. doughboys died.

Not only was a plant built but
“About 1,800 acres of farming land in the Kanawha river area was bought and transformed into a city with about 3,400 buildings, including houses for a population of 20,000, waterworks, sewers, electric light and power, schools, churches, a hospital with 600 beds, hotels, amusement places, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A. buildings, stores and other structures.”
Let’s not forget the human hours of labor that, on the +10% side, is best exemplified by the tale of a pipe-fitter as the Commonplace Book tells it but I shall condense the story.
It seems that a man t’were hired to be a pipe-fitter and was told on his first day
‘There’s nothing for you to do today so just go out, walk around and familiarize yourself with the grounds. Oh, don’t forget your 36-inch pipe wrench, keep it with you at all times to be ready to go to work’. The man then goes out, after all he’s being paid to stroll, walks about and goes to his residence after signing his wrench in at day’s end.
The next morn he is told, once again, to meander with his pipe wrench.
The third day he has the same experience.
At the end of the third day the man was upset and told his foreman that he was going to quit.
The foreman asked, ‘why’?
The man said ‘I’ve been here three days, haven’t done any work BUT what really bothers me is that some man has been following me everywhere during work for all three days’.
The foreman smiled and said,
‘Listen, you’re really doing a great job and we want you to stay on and don’t worry about the fellow following you, he’s your assistant’.

But don’t think for one nanosecond that the wheels of American Justice we’re not brought into action for they were *wink*. Of course, good ole arson went into action first and destroyed the administration building at Nitro along with most of the records.
“Incendiarism was suspected when official reports showed the building was found practically on fire all over at one time. Fire Department headquarters only about 150 feet away, with men all around, got no alarm until the fire was well under way. Believing the big safe in the burning building contained valuable papers, the fire chief asked for a guard so he could break it open and save the papers. For this the chief was put under arrest.”

There is MUCH more to the story, all in the same vain vein, with many amusingly tragic tales.

This information is from
“The West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia”
Volume Fourteen
Pages 240-249
Supplemental Series
‘Commonplace Book’

Edited and Published by Jim Comstock
Richwood, West Virginia

If’in ya google
jim comstock new york times
you’ll find, and moi ‘tis sure Mr. Comstock would approve, an amusing obituary.

This series of books is amazingly interesting, most tales are quite brief and you may, for West Virginia residents only, be able to find the entire series at your local public library, college or, perhaps, high school; however to find any mention of the “Nitro [WV] Fiasco” online moi hast only found moi’s blog as the source.
Wonder why?

BTW: Ask moi about The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and just where the Strategically Dead Icon (a.k.a. Raygoon) got the intellectual property from or just read moi’s entire blog, it’s there.

What better way to sum a post such as this than with moi's wee parody
"Hey! Hey! We're The Humans"? (rheTORical question)

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor Hershman

1 comment:

Peter said...

Hey Tor, enjoying your blog. I worked for Jim Comstock 1976-79 and had a fantastic time. He was just finishing up putting together the WV Heritage Encyclopedia, and we did the WV Picture Book together. What a creative renaissance man he was.