Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
No Pavement In Those Days
This story will be about Miles City's first street sprinkler. It was in the fall of 1906 that the "City Fathers" instructed the city clerk of Miles City to write the manufacturers to obtain their lowest prices on sprinkling wagons, and the city attorney was instructed to look up the law governing street sprinkling so that the council might act intelligently as to the collection of pay for such service and the establishment of districts. These two actions by the city council resulted in the first sprinkling wagon being purchased from the Austin-Western Company on January 10, 1907. In 1907, there was no pavement of any kind and there was very little gravel on the streets even on Main Street, and when it rained or when the frost went out of the ground, the streets were a sea of mud. In dry weather they were like a beach of dust, and it was imperative that something be done to lay the dust. The wagon was a horse-drawn affair, and it was skippered by Joseph Batemen Sr., who was then street commissioner, or by one of his assistants. The only part of the town to receive the benefit of this sprinkler first was Main Street, but in the fall of 1907 a petition was filed with the council to include Pleasant Street from Eight to Twelfth in the district. An interesting sidelight of this first sprinkling wagon was that in April, 1907, some businessmen requested that they be given opportunity to use the water wagon for advertising purposes under yearly contracts. The city clerk was instructed to advertise for bids--the bid of the Hub Clothing Company was accepted at the rate of $40 per year. Miles City has come a long way since it put into operation this first street sprinkler.