George E. Johnson, superintendent of the Sabetha Light & Water Plant, Sabetha, Kan., has had an exceptionally brilliant career for a young man, having developed and put into practical use a system of heating and lighting in the city of Sabetha that is attracting the attention of mechanical engineers all over the country. Mr. Johnson is a native of Nebraska, and was reared and educated in that state and in Kansas City, Mo., where he was graduated from the high school. He supplemented his high school work by taking two special coursesone in mechanical and the other in electrical engineeringin one of the best correspondence schools in the country, and then entered Armour Institute at Chicago, in which institution he was graduated in electrical, mechanical and steam engineering. Thus equipped he accepted an electrical engineering position in St. Joseph, Mo., and soon his services were in demand in several nearby cities as an expert in operating electric light and other city power plants, with which the local management was having trouble. On Sept. 1, 1909, he took charge of the Sabetha Electric Light & Power Plant, which at that time was in a deplorable condition of inefficiency. It was owned and operated by the city, and up to the time Mr. Johnson took charge each monthly report showed that the plant was not paying expenses. He at once overhauled all the machinery, substituted oil instead of coal for fuel, and within three months, or by Jan. 1, 1910, he had succeeded in placing the plant on a paying basis. He encouraged the installation of meters and since his management begun has succeeded in placing electric lights in over 200 additional homes, thus giving to Sabetha the distinction of having more electric lights per capita than any other city of its size in the United States. Mr. Johnson has also added 228 horse power in motors installed in factories and homes, as well as a complete system of waterworks equipment, at a total cost of $65,000, which furnishes water to over 400 homes in Sabetha. To insure an adequate supply of pure water for the city, Mr. Johnson supervised the drilling of four wells, each of which is 140 feet deep, terminating in a vein of as pure water as can be found in the state, and capable of producing 250,000 gallons per day if needed. Probably the most notable achievement thus far accomplished by Mr. Johnson has been the installation of a vacuum-exhaust, steam heating system, by means of which the exhaust steam from the electric light and water plant is forced into specially constructed mains, supplying business houses and homes with heat at a nominal cost to the consumer and at a great gain in revenue to the city. Mr. Johnson estimates that the net gain in revenue will about cover the cost of the fuel used in operating the plant. This innovation has attracted wide attention all over the country, and taken in connection with its new city hospital, which was completed in 1911 and is modern in all of its equipment, Sabetha is fortunate in having attained this distinction. While Mr. Johnson has accomplished much in the way of improvement for Sabetha, he modestly takes little of the credit to himself, but gives it to the progressive spirit manifested by the city council and the citizens of Sabetha who have loyally stood at his back and encouraged him in his work.
In 1903 Mr. Johnson was united in marriage with Miss Minnie R. Adams, of Chicago, Ill. She is a cousin of Maude Adams, the famous actress. To Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have been born two sonsTheodore and George. Politically, Mr. Johnson is a Republican, and fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Fraternal Aid Association, and the Knights and Ladies of Security. In this brief sketch has been outlined the life of a young man, scarcely thirty years of age, who through perseverance and industry has demonstrated that he possesses those keen intuitive and perceptive faculties that are sure to acquire success for him in whatever field of mechanics he may seek in the future, and the city of Sabetha is to be congratulated for having secured the services of such a capable superintendent.Pages 1223-1225 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project