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Successful drive brings us closer to bridge pier sign

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Thanks to all who donated to the East Bridge Pier Project. We have reached and exceeded our goal of raising $50,000 for a “MANHATTAN WELCOMES YOU” sign to be placed on the 1937 art deco pier next to the K-177 viaduct near the Flint Hills Discovery Center.

The original design for the sign was by the late Blaine Thomas of Thomas Sign Co., who insisted that those historic bridge piers not be destroyed after the four-lane viaduct was built in the 1990s.

The original wooden bridge over the Kansas River was destroyed in the flood of 1935. In 1937, the new viaduct was named and dedicated to the memory of Josiah Pillsbury, who arrived here on the Hartford steamship in 1855 and made his name as a newspaper publisher, farmer, engineer and postmaster, and who died in 1879.

Blaine, was a boy, watched the bridge being constructed. In 1996 he stated before the Man-hattan City Commission, “Those people were true craftsmen. This was built without the aid of plywood, skill saws, ready-mix concrete and other labor-saving devices. He was supported in his determination by other prom-inent citizens such as Ray Weisenberger, Burke Bayer and Mike Mecseri.

A monument to be constructed near the Discovery Center will commemorate all the names from the 132 donations for the sign.

We expect to have the sign in place sometime in late fall. Thanks again to all who donated to this worthy project for our fair City of Manhattan.

Phil Anderson
1719 Fairchild Ave.

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