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The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Local History

Catfish vs. Canoe


"That the monster catfish which has become famous for his repeated depredations at Doling Park, ‘got his’ yesterday afternoon was an evident fact. Ben Meyer, the jolly ex-mayor of Springfield, Lee Savage and Frank Rosback, hearing that the monster catfish had at last been drawn within the meshes of the great drag net, and desiring to be of assistance in landing the monster, procured a canoe, and paddled out to where the seine was being dragged. Meyers immediately grabbed hold to the top of the net. About this time the monster catfish spied him, and recognizing the ex-mayor as his sworn enemy, gave a big flop cleared the top of the net which was over two feet out of the water and landed broadside against the canoe upsetting it, and the party in the cold and chilly lake, not even respecting the fact that they had on their best ‘bib and tucker.’ Just as Benny was disappearing into the deep blue abyss and only the toe of his ‘tootsie wootsie’ was visible, the awful monster grabbed it and shook his victim, just as does a rat terrier hangs on to a rat. His friends immediately went to his rescue and helped him to regain his feet. About this time b’rer fish returned to the attack and all three men went down before his fierce onslaught. The seiners, about fifty in number, rushed and splashed to the rescue, with the big drag net. At this onslaught the monster disappeared and was seen no more during the afternoon. The seining was very successful, the day’s work netting the seiners something like 400 pounds of fish, which will be served in addition to the 2,000 pounds of fish which are now in cold storage, at the big free fish fry Monday, September 2, at Doling Park. It is reported on good authority, that since the last attack of the catfish with the cavernous mouth, and man eating disposition, that Mr. Meyer has increased his offer to [pay] for the capture of the monster fish, if turned over to him alive. Don’t forget that the biggest event in the history of Doling Park will take place tomorrow afternoon, when the big free fish fry takes place."

Springfield Leader, September 1, 1907.

The fish fry coincided with other Labor Day events happening in Springfield on the following day. The advertisement for the fish fry is from and the image of Doling Lake with canoes is from the Springfield-Greene County Library collection.

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