Archeological discoveries unearthed in water main repair

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Public works projects always offer a potential for mystery when digging in the ground. Dave Gatewood, public works supervisor in Purdy, had one of his biggest surprises repairing a cracked six-inch water main on Fifth Street next to the east entrance into the city park. Fixing the main, located under a concrete culvert, required hiring a private contractor to reach it. Then, once reached, Gatewood and assistant Lonnie Lowery found it packed with pieces of scrap metal, dating back before rebar. They extracted what appeared to be an axle to a Model A, held by Gatewood, some leaf springs and assorted metal strips of unknown origin. The culvert is pictured at right. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat

Public works projects always offer a potential for mystery when digging in the ground.

Underneath the cracked pipe were two metal wheels, either from an early vehicle or a wagon, plus a rod gear with teeth. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Gatewood said. “When we took down Dr. Howell’s old office on Washington, we found some old cork sealed medicine bottles, but never anything like this.” The age of Purdy’s water system is unknown. These artifacts suggest at least parts of it date back a century. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat
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