Kansas City, Missouri, although not so well known in the East as Leavenworth, Omaha, St. Joseph, and possibly some other Missouri river towns—enjoys remarkable advantages of natural location and commercial facilities. It is already the terminus of seven different railroads. To Kansas City belongs the honor of building the pioneer bridge over the Missouri. On the south or west side of the river the Pacific Railroad (of Missouri) extends irom St. Louis to the State line at Kansas City; the Kansas Pacific Railway, late Union Pacific Eastern Division, is now in operation four hundred and five miles west from the same point of the boundary. The Missouri River Railroad, now operated in connection with the Missouri Pacific, continues that line up the river to Leavenworth ; and the Missouri River, Port Scott, and Gulf Railroad, running at present to Paola, forty miles south, is being pushed rapidly to the Indian Territory, and will become the great route from the North to the Southwest. On the opposite river bank the North Missouri Railroad forms a second line to St. Louis; the Missouri Valley Railroad runs northward to St. Joseph ; and the Kansas City and Cameron Railroad, forming part of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad line, opens a direct route to Chicago. The bridge, now completed, was built by the last-named road and will enable the seven roads to unite at common points within the city. The location of the bridge, as shown in the accompanying topographical sketch, is opposite the town, and immediately below a bend in the river. It was begun in January, 1867. In February Mr. Chanute, the chief engineer, took charge of the works. In the spring the enterprise was interrupted by a high flood, and it was not until August that work could be resumed. The south abutment of the bridge was placed eighty feet back from the face of the bluff, and from it a sixty-six foot span extends over a street and the track of the Missouri Pacific Railroad to a pair of pillars standing near the edge of the rock face; a span of one hundred and thirty-three feet reaches from them to pier No. 1, the first river pier. A pivot-draw of two spans, each one hundred and sixty feet in the clear, and three hundred and sixty-three feet long over all, from center to center of piers Nos. 1 and 8, turns upon pier No. 2, which is placed as nearly as possible in the center of the channel. Pier No. 4 was located two hundred and fifty feet beyond No. 3; No. 5, two hundred feet further north, on the edge of the sand-bar; and two spans, two hundred, and one hundred and seventy-seven feet respectively, cover the distance remaining to pier No. 7, which stands on the edge of the wooded shore, taking the place of a north abutment. The railroad is then carried over the bottom land on two thousand three hundred and sixty feet of trestle-work, descending one foot in a hundred to an embankment. The carriage-way is carried down on a heavier grade by a sidetrestle. The difficulties attending the building of this bridge were wholly in the foundations. Tho length of the structure is one mile. The masonry of all the piers is of limestone, quarried In tho neighborhood, tho facing being of ashlar and the backing of heavy rubble. The ashlar of the upper courses, above the ; ice-breaker, ia of a good blue-stone, of uniform color, and the stones used below are of a grayish tint. The piers finish eleven feet higher than the great flood of 1844, and forty-eight feet above the lowest water observed. The total hight ; of pier No. 4, from rock to coping, is eighty-nine feet. The pivot pier is circular in form and twenty-nine feet in diameter, finishing thirty-two feet on top. The entire structure was completed by July 3,1869, and the event was celebrated by the citizens of Kansas City with the greatest enthusiasm. — ? Bleaching Straw Hats. Straw hats which have turned yellow may be bleached by the use of a soap prepared by taking any good soda soap and precipitating it from its solution by means of common salt, and adding to it one fourth the weight of sulphate of soda, previously rubbed into a mass with water, then drying the product. About equal parts, by weight, of water are to be poured upon this, and for every two pounds of soap, half an ounce of spirits of sal-ammoniac is to be added ; and after the whole has assumed a gelatinous consistency, one part of the mass is to be dissolved in eight parts of warm water; smaller proportions of tho foregoing will of course answer for a few articles. The objects to be bleached are to be washed by means of a brush in this solution, and transferred, while still moist, into water acidulated with hydrochloric acid (twenty-five parts water to one and a halt of acid), and allowed to remain a few hours in this liquid. They are then to be washed with fresh cold water and dried. Experiment has proved the results of this method of bleaching to be exceedingly satisfactory. m P Chinamen In California. Hittell's " Resources of California," a notice of which will be found under the head of " New Publications," in another column, contains the following statements in regard to the Chinese in California, and their present condition: ' The Chinamen in California are nearly all very ignorant and very poor. Their number is about fifty thousand, of whom more than half have been six or seven years in the State. Most of them are engaged in mining ; and the remainder are merchants, fishermen, washermen, and a few are employed as cooks in hotels, and as farm laborers on farms owned by white men. Most of them come from Southern China, and nearly all of them are members of five great companies, called the Yung-Wo, the Sze-yap, the Sam-yap, the Yan-wo, and j Ning-yeung companies. These companies have each a large building in San Francisco, where they lodge and feed all the members of their company when they arrive from China, or when they come on a visit from the interior. The companies are benevolent associations, and take care of their indigent and sick. There are no Chinese beggars in the streets, and no Chinese patients in the public hospitals. The common laborers are brought to the State under contract to work for several years at a low rate of wages (from four to eight dollars) per month ; and they usually keep these contracts faithfully. The employers in those cases ar either tho companies I ships, with not less than three nor irore than ten partners ; all of whom live in the store, and deal chiefly in Chinese silks, teas, rice, and dried fish. The two latter articles form a large portion of the food of the Chinamen in the State. They have not learned to use bread instead of rice. Those who can afford it, eat pork, chickens, and ducks. Beef, and most of our garden vegetables, do not find much favor with them, even among the wealthiest. The washermen are usually in companies of two or three, and they have numerous little shops in the streets of San Francisco, and in the smaller towns. They sprinkle their clothes previous to ironing, by filling the mouth with water and then blowing it over them. For ironing, instead of a flatiron, they use an iron pan with a smooth bottom, and kept full of burning charcoal. There are not more than one thousand Chinese women in the State, and nine tenths of these are prostitutes of the lowest class. The Chinese children are few. The Chinese men, women, and children learn English very slowly ; most of those who have been five or six years in the State cannot understand the most common English words. All the Chinamen in California adhere to their national costume, with some slight variations. They wear their hair long, use no white muslin or linen next the skin, and never put on a dress coat or stove-pipe hat. In the cities they ordinarily use wooden-soled shoes, with thin cotton uppers. Instead of a coat, they have a short blouse, generally of dark blue cotton, fitting close up to the neck. The wealthy have this blouse made of silk or fur. In cold weather, if of silk or cotton, it is wadded. The legs and lower part of the body are inclosed in breeches of cotton or silk, tight from the thigh down, and loose above. Some of the poorer men find trousers of the European pattern more convenient, and wear them. The miners generally wear coarse boots or shoes. A MADRAS paper states that the wounded caudal appendage of a young lion was recently amputated at the stern while the beast was under the influence of chloroform. After the operation the surgeon commenced briskly rubbing, so as to inflate the lungs, a plentiful supply of water being also poured over the body, which soon restored the animal to life. This, we believe, is the first time that a lion has had his tail bobbed while under the influence of Chloroform.
This article was originally published with the title "Suspension Bridge over the Missouri River" in Scientific American 21, 9, 132 (August 1869)