City to celebrate river’s history

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

As Iola celebrates its sesquicentennial this weekend, the U.S. Geological Survey wants to point out a unique bit of history about the city and the Neosho River.
Jim Putnam, chief of hydraulic data management at the Kansas Water Science Center in Lawrence, will be on hand Saturday morning for a ceremony to honor the city’s streamgage, connected to the U.S. 54 bridge that spans the Neosho.
The 9:30 ceremony, at Iola’s water plant, will precede tours of the water plant. The public is invited.
The streamgage monitors the Neosho’s water flow, measuring both the height of the river and the rate at which the water is flowing (measured in cubic feet per second). Iola’s streamgage is significant in that, at nearly 114 years old, it is one of the oldest river gauges in the state.
The streamgage is a vital component of the National Weather Service’s flood forecasts.
Streamgages also provide information for such things as bridge designs and watershed parameters and is used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its operation of the John Redmond Reservoir system.
The streamgage originally was installed at a spot along the Neosho just south of Iola and went online July 20, 1895. Since then, it has provided official records for a number of historic meteorological events, including the great floods of 1951 and 2007 and the drought of 1936, in which the Neosho ran dry.
The streamgage was relocated to the U.S. 54 bridge in 2005.
The water plant tours run from 10 o’clock to noon.

SEVERAL other activities are a part of the city’s Memorial Day Weekend celebration of its 150th anniversary, including a downtown parade.
The Iola Public Library and Bowlus Fine Arts Center will host open houses from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Allen County Historical Society museums and Funston Home are open from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Tours of the Old Jail begin at 1:30.
The Sesquicentennial Homecoming Parade, celebrating Iola’s history, begins at 2 o’clock at the downtown square.
Molly Trolley rides follow th eparade.
The famed Kansas City Marching Cobras drill team will perform a routine at 3 o’clock at the intersection of Jackson and Washington avenues.
The day is capped with a 4 o’clock Iola Municipal Band concert at the courthouse bandstand.
The annual Iola High School alumni reunion is Sunday.
A wreath laying ceremony is planned for 9:30 a.m. Monday at the old Iola Cemetery at gravesite of Iola Colborn, for whom Iola was named.
Iola’s Memorial Day services are at 11 a.m. Monday at Highland Cemetery.