February 13, 1909
The Helping Hand institute, assisted by the park board, has solved the "unemployed" problem of Kansas City. Since Monday more than 100 men have been busy at the rock quarry at Penn Valley park, and it is now the belief of E. T. Brigham, superintendent of the institute, that the situation is well in hand. Though the quarry is operated at a slight loss each day, he believes that in time there will be no public begging in Kansas City.
Several weeks ago, the park board agreed to take all the broken rock that the Helping Hand institute could furnish at $1 per cubic foot. A deserted quarry at the northeast corner of the park was turned over to Mr. Brigham and work began Monday.
Under ordinary circumstances the average man breaks two cubic feet of rock each day. For this he is allowed $1.60, but not in currency, which he might be tempted to spend in the North End saloons. For each box of rock he is allowed a 5-cent ticket. If he fills twenty-four boxes he is given twenty-four tickets, and these he exchanges for meal tickets which are good at three different restaurants or at the Helping Hand institute.
If he is unmarried and has no family to support he is not allowed to work until three days have elapsed, and in the meantime is allowed to look out for permanent employment. The tickets which he accumulates will afford him board and lodging for three days under ordinary circumstances.
At the quarry yesterday eighty-eight men were employed. A dozen of the more experienced were blasting rock; others were carrying the larger stones in wheel barrows to smaller piles. In the long shed which the park board constructed for use in cold weather the time keeper was busy keeping the individual accounts. Every man is furnished a pair of mittens free of charge and is entitled to go in the shed and warm his hands at the coal stove.
The extra expense is due to the number of experienced men who must be employed, Superintendent Brigham explained. One carpenter must be employed to do nothing but repair the boxes and fix hammer handles. An experienced man who understands blasting is also employed and adds to the expense bill.
"We are well pleased," Mr. Brigham said yesterday. "Thanks to the co-operation of the city, we can soon see that no one suffers in Kansas City for the lack of shelter and something to eat."