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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 352


THE ELECTRIC power companies at Niagara Falls were beginning to draw so much water from above the great Horseshoe Falls as to bring into speculation the question of how soon America’s greatest scenic asset would be a coal-pile with a thin trickle of water crawling down its vast cliffs. Already companies had been given legal permission to utilize one-quarter of the whole flow, and additional companies were asking for further grants. Permission for forty per cent of the whole volume of water had been granted. J. Horace McFarland, as President of the American Civic Association, called Bok’s attention to the matter, and urged him to agitate it through his magazine so that restrictive legislation might be secured.

Bok went to Washington, conferred with President Roosevelt, and found him cognizant of the matter in all its aspects.

“I can do nothing,” said the President, “unless there is an awakened public sentiment that compels action. Give me that, and I’ll either put the subject in my next message to Congress or send a special message. I’m from Missouri on this point,” continued the President. “Show me that the American people want their Falls preserved, and I’ll do the rest. But I’ve got to be shown.” Bok assured the President he could demonstrate this to him.

XXXI. Adventures in Civics
 

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