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RG2999.AM:  George Pomeroy Kingsley, 1865-1929

Papers:  1922-1930

Minden, Kearney County, Neb.:  Businessman: Public power & irrigation promoter

Size:  1.5 cu.ft.; 3 boxes + oversize


George P. Kingsley, a Minden businessman, was a pioneer in public power and irrigation in Nebraska. Born in Freeport, Illinois, in 1864, he came to Nebraska in 1887 after graduating from Hobart College in Geneva, New York. For a year he was employed in the Lincoln National Bank and then joined his brother, a banker and lumber yard operator in Minden. In 1888 Kingsley organized a branch bank in Norman and then a lumber yard. He was an active supporter and financial backer of the movement which eventually resulted in the foundation of the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District. Kingsley was Vice-President of the Tri-County Supplemental Water Association, which in 1922 became the Central Nebraska Supplemental Water Association; President of the Association for the Conservation, Control, and Utilization of Our Water Resources; and a director of the North and South Pike Association. Kingsley died in 1929.


This collection consists of three boxes of manuscript materials and various oversized items amassed by George P. Kingsley in his role as promoter of public power and irrigation in south-central Nebraska. The collection is arranged in nine series: (1) Correspondence of George P. Kingsley, 1922-1929 and undated; (2) Correspondence of the Waterways, Irrigation and Power Committee and the Committee on Conservation, Control, and Utilization of Our Water Resources of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, 1927-1930; (3) Mailing Lists, 1928-1930; (4) Reports, 1922-1927; (5) Charts and Maps, 1874-1927 and undated, (6) Resolutions and Petitions, 1926-1929 and undated; (7) Bills and Resolutions, 1925-1933; (8) Printed Material, 1923-1931 and undated, and (9) Miscellany, undated.

These manuscripts concern one period in the history of the Tri-County Project for the development of irrigation in Phelps, Kearney, and Adams Counties in south-central Nebraska. Attempts to bring power and water to this area had begun in the 1880s and continued intermittently until 1922 when, after relative prosperity during World War I, a period of depressed farm prices revived local interest. This collection relates to the efforts of Charles W. McConaughy and George P. Kingsley, President and Vice-President, respectively, of the Central Nebraska Supplemental Water Association to develop a project that would divert water from the Platte River to be stored in the sub-soil as a supplement to local rainfall and incidentally to generate electric power. Because Kingsley and McConaughy sought federal money, they needed to justify this project as a part of the program for flood control of the Mississippi River and so became peripherally involved in the national debate over levees on the lower Mississippi versus dams and reservoirs on its tributaries.

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence arranged in two series. The first includes letters received by Kingsley in his capacity as officer of several local organizations concerned with irrigation as well as correspondence concerning the North and South Pike Association. Among his correspondents were Senator George W. Norris (1922-1929), Congressman Willis G. Sears (1928-1929), Clark E. Mickey, chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Nebraska (1924-1929), as well as prominent men from the tri-counties, including James M. Clark (1928-1929). Of special interest are letters from McConaughy in Washington reporting the progress of his lobbying on behalf of the Tri-County Project.

Series 2 consists of the correspondence of P.L. Johnson as Chairman of the Waterways, Irrigation, and Power Committee and then Committee on Conservation, Control and Utilization of Our Water Resources of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, a group which actively promoted the Tri-County Project after 1927. Material in the remainder of the collection supplements the correspondence. Charts, maps and reports give information on rainfall, water usage, soil conditions, and crop production in the Platte River Valley and also include designs for water diversion and flood control. There are resolutions and petitions from interested organizations favoring the use of water from the Platte for irrigation as well as copies of bills and resolutions introduced into both the United States Congress and the Nebraska legislature. Printed material on the issues of irrigation, power, and flood control includes reprints of speeches, articles, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings. In the Miscellany are notes for and drafts of speeches, probably made by Kingsley.

Note:  See the NSHS Library Catalog and the Nebraska History index for published materials about George Kinsley, Charles McConaughy, Kinsley Dam, Lake McConaughy, and the Tri-County Irrigation Project. See also the records of the Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District [RG601] as well as the moving image component for Arnold Galvin [RG4882.MI] for home movie footage of the building of Kingsley Dam.


Series 1 – Correspondence of George P. Kingsley, 1922-1929

Box 1


  1. 1922

  2. 1923

  3. 1924

  4. 1925

  5. 1926

  6. 1927

  7. 1928

  8. 1929

  9. undated

Series 2 – Correspondence of the Waterways, Irrigation and Power Committee and the Committee on Conservation, Control, and Utilization of Our Water Resources of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, 1927-1930

Box 2


  1. 1927

  2. 1928, Jan.-Mar.

  3. 1928, Apr.-Dec.

  4. 1929

  5. 1930

Series 3 – Mailing Lists, 1928-1930

  1. Names to which copies of information on water projects and notices of meetings were sent

Series 4 – Reports, 1922-1927

  1. Annual Report of Operation & Maintenance, North Platte Project, 1922

  2. Report of Soil Investigations in Central Nebraska Supplemental Irrigation Project, 1923

  3. Papers Relating to the Report on the Tri-County Project, 1923-1926

  4. Preliminary Draft of the North Platte River Compact, 1927

  5. Flood Control of the Mississippi River, 1927

Series 5 – Charts and Maps, 1874-1927, undated (see oversize)


  1. Mean Monthly Discharge of North Platte River at North Platte

  2. Annual Discharge in Acre-Feet of North Platte River at North Platte

  3. Amount of Water Available along Platte River at sampling points

  4. Use of Water from Upper Six Feet of Soil Winter Wheat, 1921

  5. Storage of Water by Summer Tillage-Its Carry-over through the winter and Its Use by Spring Wheat-five year average

  6. Ability of Soil to Hold Weight

  7. Annual Rainfall at Holdrege, 1890-1919

  8. Crop Production Records for Phelps, Kearney, and Adams Counties, 1913-1922

  9. Map of Proposed National Emergency Flood Control Project of the Mississippi Delta, 1927

  10. Plan of Foundation for Horizontal Pump Engine

  11. Map of Mississippi River System

  12. Sketch of Penetration of Corn Roots where Subsoil Moisture is Sufficient

  13. Soil Map of Holdrege-Minden-Hastings Irrigation Project

  14. Map of Proposed Tri-County Project, 1924

  15. State Highway map of Nebraska, 1924

  16. Contour Map of Land Owned by D.W. Kingsley

  17. Gradient of Platte River from Cozad to Norman

  18. Copy of Plat of some Lots in Minden, Nebraska, 1882

  19. Precipitation and Crop Production of Phelps & Kearney Counties, 1904-1922

  20. Copy of Plat of Fredericksborg, Kearney County, Nebraska, 1874

Series 6 – Resolutions and Petitions, 1926-1929, undated

Box 3


  1. From the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, the Mississippi Valley Association, the Kearney Chamber of Commerce, the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Association for the Conservation, Control, and Utilization of Our Water Resources, and the Nebraska State Irrigation Association

Series 7 – Bills and Resolutions, 1925-1933

  1. United States Congress, 1925-1929, undated

  2. Legislature of Nebraska, 1927-1933

Series 8 – Printed Material, 1923-1931, undated

  1. Speeches, 1924-1929

  2. Pamphlets and reprints of articles, 1927-1929, undated

  3. Waterways Bulletin, May 1928-November 1929; Mississippi River Series, Dec. 1927-April 1928

  4. Newspaper clippings, 1923-1931

Series 9 – Miscellany

  1. Notes and drafts, possibly for speeches by Kingsley; information on cost and types of pumps for irrigation; wheat marketing; report on soils; program for irrigation meeting in Dawson County



Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District

Irrigation — Nebraska

Kingsley, George Pomeroy, 1865-1929

McConaughy, Charles W., 1859-1941

Nebraska — Public works

Tri-County Irrigation Project (Neb.)

Water-power — Nebraska

Water-storage — Nebraska


KFK   07-22-1996

Encoded TMM   05-19-2010