S. L. Foster


S. L. Foster


W[illiam] E. Colby


UNITED. RAILROADS OF SAN FRANCISCOOFFICE OF CHIEF ELECTRICIAN1140 FILLMORE STRUTIN REPLY REPER TONOTIFICATION OF WATER[illegible]San Francisco,Sept. 25th, 1912.W. E. Colby,Secretary, Sierra club,302 Mills Building, City.Dear Sir:- It may seem rather "far fetched" and visionary to advance the argument in the Ketch Hetchy matter that the water of the Tuolumne o any on is too pure and is so free ofcalcium salts from having run over only granite, that its useis liable to lead to tuberculosis and dental Caries but I amgoing to give you an apparent justification for the argument andleave it to your Judgment aided by the advice of some of thegood medical, as well as geological members of the club as toits utility at this time.In the "Literary Digest" of July 6, 1912 page 217 under the head of "Will Pure Water Harm the Teeth?" appeared an interesting article abstracting comments in European medical journals on the claims of a Dr. Roese - a German physician who Claims that absence of calcium salts in drinking water or the use of boiled water predisposes and leads to decay of the teeth. "Obviously, for the same reason, the water of lime stone regions are preferable to those where the soil is granitic." x x x "Decalcification of water is one of the conditions most favorable to the development of tuberculosis" , are extracts from this Digest article.In the San Francisco "Examiner" of July 21st, 1912 in the"Magazine" part is a full paged article entitled "Science Discovers06327

Mr. W.E.C. - #2,9/25/12.that Only the Lime Starved Get consumption". This is written by physician Caption Phillips and tells at length about how a Dr. Van Gieaen of Germany proved the truth of the title of the article by experiments on lime starved and line supplied dogs artificially infected with tuberouloua bacilli. (NOTE!- The exclusive use by the Chinese of Boiled water In their only beverage-tea - for centuries does not sees to have led to their extermination by consumption. This is, perhaps, because they get their lime salts in their food, as for example, from the outer covering of the aground rice which forms the bulk of the carbohydrate component of their food.)It is not necessary to tell you that the Tuolumne River runs through a granitic soil. The only "fly In the ointment" it the geological fact that of the eight kinds of feld spar, three are found in granite according to Dana, and one of then, oligoclasecaries calcium salts. What kind of feldspar is present in the granite of the Tuolumne Canyon, I do not know. If it is not oligoclase, there is sons basis for this argument of mine though probably it will be combatted by the statement that the calcium salts will be furnished by the admixture of the lime saturated water of the spring Valley Water company supply. Probably one of the members of the Sierra Club who is a geologist can tell you off hand whether the feldspar in the Tuolumne Canyon granite is orthoclase or oligoclase or albite or microcline or at any rate, whether it is 6ti the kind that would impart lime salts to water flowing over it.As I am neither a physician nor a geologist, I am possibly lost in the scientific wilderness of those callings.06324

Mr. W.E.C. - #3. 9/25/12. A simple solution of the question and one that probably you have made or can learn about from Mr. Manson - is to analyze for lime the water of the Tuolumne as it enters Hetch Hetchy Vally.I must admit, however, that I do not think much of this decalcification argument of mine because, from the great frequency with which demijohns of distilled water are to be seen in business offices in San Francisco, I have gained the idea that there is an excess of line in the Spring Valley company's water already and that the mixture with it of some of the melted snow from Mr. Lyell may be a moat desirable thing for us all. Still, if the other aide is mot prepared for it, this decalcification gobies may cause a little confusion In their attack and worry, them some and every little counts.The long delay to the final discussion seems also to have put into your hands additional arguments through the recent activity or the automobile owners who have a meeting planned for next month in Yosemite valley with Major Forsythe and corsetry Fisher when they expect to bring all their guns to bear on the question of securing admission loathe valley", probably via the Big Oak Flat Road.They also, as you know, look forward next to the rehabilitation of the Tioga Road for automobile use.If $1,000,000.00 can be raised, as the auto owners hope, to put the Big Oak Flat and the Tioga Road in order for their use, it takes little imagination to figure out the trail from Hog Ranch to Hetch Hetchy valley being also made in time an automobile road, when the typhoid contamination arguments acquire06326

Mr. W. E.C. - #S. 9/25/12.renewed force. Active young spirits, who can be landed by automobiles In Tuolumne Meadowa or Hetch Hetchy valley without exhaustion and with ample resources of food and other outing supplied will most certainly make many short and also long fishing excursions into the Tuolumne Canyon and up its many secluded mad Interesting trout Tilled tributaries.A summer line of automobiles to carry nature lovers, not owning their own machines, from Chinese Camp to Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadows is the next easily logical assumption when the Big oak Flat and Tioga roads are put in order and thrown open for auto Use.All these things have probably occurred to your wide awake mind but I have rambled on and unloaded my story as it came to me in case it might have some points of view of value to you at the hearing of the case at Washington.I must not forget to congratulate you on your discovery or Colby Pass in the Kern River country this summer as reported in the papers and the acquisition of Tuolumne Meadowa.very truly your,[illegible]1098 Dolores street.06324


San Francisco

Date Original

1912 Sep 25


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 20, Image 1331

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


4 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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