100 Years Ago

In 1911 Manistee County boasted at least seven English language newspapers — the Bear Lake Beacon, the Copemish Courier, the Manistee Advocate, the Manistee Daily Advocate, the Manistee Daily News, the Manistee Times, and the Onekama Lake Breeze. The following news items are from the papers for the week of June 24, 1911:

“Manistee’s county jail and infirmary were under inspection today by Dr. F. W. Shumway, secretary of the State Board of Health, and Mart F. Murray, secretary of the Board of Corrections and Charities.

“Both institutions came off very credibly, though one cannot say that the jail came out with flying colors. But conditions in the jail were found so good that the inspectors were surprised and pleased and frankly stated that there was ground for satisfaction on the part of Manistee people.

“Speaking of the jail Dr. Shumway said that a great deal had been accomplished by Sheriff Henchey in providing a ventilation system and that this, together with scrupulous cleanliness, had worked wonders. It should be said that no warning was given the sheriff, the inspectors simply dropping in unannounced in order to observe conditions as they regularly exist.

“‘Our inspection of the county farm buildings, or county infirmary, was most satisfactory, said Mr. Murray. The condition there reflects the highest credit on Manager Wexstaff. ‘You should tell your readers that it is hardly excelled in the entire state, if at all, and it has only five or six equals.

“‘There are in all infirmaries persons with syphilis and other chronic and incurable complaints which are offensive. At the Manistee infirmary a separate building is used for housing them. Not another institution in the state is so provided though they all should be.

“In attempting to change back from the small auxiliary engine at the electric light and power station yesterday afternoon to the big engine which has been undergoing much needed repairs, the crew got into trouble, with the result that the lights and power lines were idle for several hours. A valve in the big engine stuck, and in forcing it a stud was broken, so that it was necessary after much effort to return to the small engine.

“The result was no power for the Daily News press and no street car service. About 200 had to walk home from League Park in Parkdale and there was much grumbling. Service was resumed in time to take care of the lights and the News was printed shortly after 7:30 and distributed as rapidly as possible.

“After nervously feeling of each other for two games, the Colts and the Boosters knuckled down to hard work this afternoon and a nifty exhibition of ball was given. The relative strength of the teams is shown pretty well by the score of 3-1 in favor of the Colts, who were in no great danger at any time, though they had to put up the best they were capable of.

“Thompsonville, one of the fastest independent teams in the state, will meet the Records at Orchard Beach tomorrow in the second game of the series. The first game was played at Thompsonville and Manistee was defeated 3-2, each team getting three hits and having one error. As the league does not play here Sunday the baseball fans will have an opportunity of seeing a fast and snappy game of independent ball. The game is called at 3 o’clock.

“Manistee may have an aero plane flight for July 4. The committee intends to secure the best attractions, and have applied to the Wright brothers for an aviator and a machine.

“A team owned by James Henderson made a spectacular finish to a runaway this noon by colliding with a baker’s wagon at the corner of First and Pine street. The driver of the baker’s rig had one ankle smashed and was severely bruised. One of Henderson’s horses lost an eye and was badly cut.

“Ray Henderson had the team harnessed to a hack and had stopped to talk on Sibben Street, leaving the team in the hands of a boy. He saw them start to run for the livery barn, and gave chase. But for a fall which bruised his hand and knee he would have stopped them. The team ran the length of First Street and down the steep hill by the Central school.

“At the bottom stood A. C. Hornkohl’s delivery wagon. The crash was terrific as the hack team collided with the big wagon, rolling it over and smashing it up pretty thoroughly.

“The driver was thrown through the side door and the injured horse landed inside the wagon body, crushing the side. The man’s escape from death was remarkable. The Hornkohl horses broke from their harness but were uninjured, as was one of Henderson’s.

“The First Street schoolhouse of German Lutheran Trinity congregation, which has done service for the past 39 years and has educated thousands of pupils in German and English common school branches, and in study preparatory to the Lutheran confirmation, is to be torn down to permit of erecting a fine new concrete and brick building in its place.

“Prof. Chapel has been requested to draw plans for an observatory to hold the telescope and transit which Nels Johnson has given to the high school. When the plans are made estimates of cost will be secured and it is presumed that the school board will authorize construction in order that this fine gift may be made use of as soon as possible. The six inch telescope is considerably more powerful that any other in Michigan except at the University observatory at Ann Arbor.

“Moved by the city’s loss of the Boland damage suit the council has taken steps to prevent similar cases. It was moved last evening that F. C. Larsen be required to put a hand railing on his walk leading up the hill on Greenbush Street from River street. It was also moved and carried that Engineer Pike make a general inspection of places that might be considered dangerous, and he in turn asked aldermen to report any places they may know of.

“There has been a delay in putting the hand rail up on the Hancock street hill north of the shirt factory, so the council decided to notify the contractor that he must act at once.

“Sheriff Henchey today rescued a maiden from durance on the farm of her father at Peterson’s corners, near the Manistee and Brown township lines.

“The young woman, though married, was held in captivity by her parents. She is 20 years old. A year ago she married a Chicago man who later deserted her.

“Whenever she tried to leave the farm she was forced to return, but finally sent word to her sister who got her husband to make a complaint before Justice Erb.

“The sheriff brought the young woman to the city this afternoon and allowed her to go to the home of her sister. Her father excused his conduct by saying that she was not mentally responsible, but this is denied by others.

“The six inch telescope of Nels Johnson is still standing on the stone pier and free as water in Lake Michigan to all who care to have a good look at some of the wonders. Of course it requires a clear cloudless night to get the best results. “

Compiled by Teena Kracht from the archives of the Manistee County Historical Museum

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