100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending Nov. 24, 1917, and are compiled by Teena Kracht from the newspaper archives of the Manistee County Historical Museum. 

“Manistee county registrants for the selective service draft who are not well versed in the English language will be assisted by the local exemption board in filling out the voluminous new questionnaire that has been prepared by the war department.

“The questionnaire was devised as an improvement over the old method of having dozens of different blanks for the registrants. Formerly perhaps a dozen documents were necessary and had to be filed away. Now the one booklet is complete in itself.

“Captain Lewis M. Baker of Company K, 337th Inft., at Camp Custer writes the News-Advocate as follows:

“’1. I would suggest that you use the columns of your paper to advise men coming to Camp Custer in the next draft increment to provide themselves with a sufficient quantity of heavy underwear, woolen stockings, towels short sweaters and overcoats.

“’2. It may be several days after these men arrive before it will be possible to equip them with army clothing.’

“It being gossiped about that Mrs. Ed Kieling made disloyal remarks in the presence of the committee soliciting pledges for food conservation, the undersigned, who called upon Mrs. Kieleing, desire to inform the public that they were courteously received in the Kieling home and heard no remarks of a disloyal nature. [Signed] MRS. O. J. RACINE, MISS CARRIE CHANNER.

“The following ladies, members of the canvassing committee of the ‘Y’ war fund, desire to state that at the time they canvassed Mrs. Ed Kieling, the interview was one of the pleasantest they experienced. Mrs. Kieling was pleased to make a contribution. [Signed] MRS. A. U. MAUZY, MRS. C. P. WOODWARD.

“Note—Both Mr. and Mrs. Kieling are willing to make an affidavit that no member of the Liberty Bond committee called at their residence.

“Those who have been in the habit of depending upon keno games, turkey raffles and the like for their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner will have to give up this method of food purveying this year or else run counter to the combined authority of the United States food administration and the sheriff’s department. George M. Prescott, food administrator for Michigan, asks to pass the word along…

“’Authority is being exerted upon dealers to insure fair prices all along the line. Lotteries in foodstuffs, turkey raffles and enterprises of the sort set at naught the attempt at regulation of prices and fair dealing. The man who wins a turkey in a raffle may get a turkey cheaply, but the man who sells it by means of the illegal game, gets and exorbitant price. He can afford to pay an exorbitant price in purchasing. No purveyor of commodities who does business in the legal manner can compete with him. The raffle is not only illegal but unfair. It will not be permitted anywhere in Michigan.’

“Along with the extra duties in preparing for the mobilization of the 58 Manistee county selectives, the local exemption board is over its eyes in work compiling statistics about the men in the selective draft. This task was unexpectedly thrust upon all the local boards and the district, state and federal board by members of the congress. The nation’s salons have experienced a sudden desire to know all about everything connected with the registrants. Their word is law, and all the boards, especially the county clerks who must look after the compilations, are wondering whether there will ever be any real cause for Thanksgiving this year.

“Another old landmark familiar to hundreds of Manistee folk is being razed.

“The Northern Michigan Steamship company’s coal docks on the north shore of thee Manistee river, just east of the Washington street drawbridge, are being torn down by workmen.

“The razing of the building will relieve the city of another unsightly construction.

“A BANK FAILURE may not upset a depositor, but he’s liable to lose his balance.

“NOW IS THE TIME to get out in the country and see the heaps of husked corn curing in the sun. It is the golden concentrate of Indian summer, the poetry of autumn made tangible, the luscious promise of sausage sizzling in the pan and filling the house with the perfume of myrrh and frankincense.

“Auguste Rodin, Noted French Sculptor, Dead. Rodin was born in 1840. Aside from being one of the world’s foremost sculptors, he was a great collector of area works.

“Some time ago he gave the entire collection to the French nation. He stipulated that the mansion which was to be the home of the collection [now the Musee Rodin in Paris] should remain his personal property for life.

“Many people have been more or less confused about the arrival and departure of mail since the recent change on the Pere Marquette line.

“Post office officials announced today that there is as much mail arriving and leaving as ever but at less convenient times.

“Electric advertising signs may be operated only between 7:45 and 11 p.m., according to an official notice sent District Manager C. S. Kressler of the Consumers Power company by the federal fuel administration.

“The order is nation-wide and some of the larger cities’ much touted ‘great white ways’ have become great dark ways at an hour when the gay life usually was just beginning.

“Probably what will be two of the finest and most modern homes erected in Manistee in over a year, are rapidly nearing completion and will be ready for occupancy within a month.

“Jack Kann is erecting a colonial type three-story concrete house on Maple street just south of the Gus Kitzinger home. The dwelling will be equipped with all the modern conveniences including built-in cabinets, a vacuum vapor heating plant, electric lighting system and running water fittings.

“A sun parlor and sleeping porch stand out prominently in making the architecture pleasing to the eye.

“Leonard Short is ready and waiting to move into his new two-story concrete home now being finished on Fourth street between Pine and Oak streets.

“The structure is built of concrete with buff colored stucco work and fireproof shingles. Probably the most novel arrangement yet attempted in Manistee is the building of a garage in the basement. A slight decline of a few inches runs from the rear alleyway making an easy drive into the garage.

“The home is finished throughout in oak and has hardwood floors. Built-in cabinets and buffets, electric lighting system and a hot water heating arrangement are provided for. There are eight rooms and a bath in the dwelling.

“Saturday’s canvass brought the total pledges and contributions for the Y. M. C. A. war work to $3,310.17 which is well above the minimum quota of $2,900 that was asked by the state and district committees. If other communities do as well as Manistee, this part of the state will go away over the top in their performance of the duty to provide for the comfort and moral welfare of the boys in the camps and trenches.

“Andrew Grabowski, Jr., 17, local youth with considerable knowledge of the inside of jail cells and who was recently returned from Milwaukee on the charge of larceny, was arrested by the sheriff’s office Saturday on the charge of vagrancy. This was Grabowski’s second offence of like nature.

“It was charged that the young man had done nothing to contribute to his support for nearly a month. He was arraigned before Justice Erb today and admitted that he rather liked the county jail during the winter. The court sentenced him to serve 75 days and to help Sheriff Waal around the court house. Grabowski seemed pleased with the assured shelter.

“The dangerous practice of young boys and girls in ‘hooking on’ to the rear end of wagons and vehicles, nearly resulted in a fatality at noon today when little Walter Voight, 5-year-old son of Otto Voight, 155 Jackson Street, unhooked himself from a wagon and ran in front of an automobile opposite the First ward school building on Washington street. The machine passed entirely over him, knocking him unconscious and badly bruising his head and body. No complaint has been filed against the driver, witnesses testifying that he was not at fault. The attending physician stated that the boy was resting comfortably late this afternoon.

“With the going of Manistee’s selectives Wednesday morning will go a man who has brought many pleasing and entertaining works to the city. Joseph Trevitts, artist and painter extraordinary, will be among those to entrain for Camp Custer.

“ADD TO THE LIST of ‘-less’ days in Manistee: Sunday, mailless day. Quite a deprivation.

“FROM THE WHISTLE of the wind around the corners it is patent that we are in for something rough before long.

“JUDGING BY THE ROTTING of crops that can’t be got to market, the home gardener ought also to have planted for a crop of locomotives and cars.

“WE HEAR A GREAT DEAL about the busy bee, and the laziest man we know remarks: ‘Who would not be a bee, who works three months in the summer, and loafs all winter living on honey.’

“ROUGH STUFF promoted by several rowdies caused Manager Floyd Schaab of the Larsen pavilion considerable trouble Saturday night. The management of the dancing pavilion intends to have order within the hall and to protect girls from insult outside even at the expense of discontinuing the dancing indefinitely, it is said. Police were called Saturday to break up the gang, after Schaab had bodily thrown one or two of them from the hall.

“Black smoke pours from the 207-foot stack of the Filer Fibre plant in Filer City.

“One hundred and twenty workmen are laboring in day and night shifts turning out Manistee county’s newest product.

“The Filer Fibre company is not an experiment. Fibre board is one of the world’s greatest and most-used products and at the same time one of its open fields for manufacture.

“Little Walter Voight, 5-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Voight, 155 Jackson street, who was run over by an automobile on Washington street at noon yesterday, died at 7:30 o’clock last night from shock.

“The lad regained consciousness for short intervals several times during the afternoon and early evening. He talked cheerfully to his parents and had not complained of being in great pain. Death comes as a surprise. His father and mother are prostrated.

“It was bound to break. The public has been waiting for it.

“It certainly would be impossible for 58 of the county’s strong young men to depart for war without at least one matrimonial knot being tied. It amounted to that — just one inseparable knot.

“Harry Victor Strand, 23, more or less known in certain circles about town, secured a permit this morning to wed Miss Rose Olson, 27 years old. Both are residents of the city.

“Strand leaves in the morning with the Manistee contingent of selected men. His wife will remain behind, as wives do when men go forth to fight, waiting Harry’s return to the fold.

“Five or 5:30 in the morning is very, very early for the average citizen; at this season it is also very dark at that hour, leaving little opportunity for sightseeing; also, weather conditions today were unfavorable, a drizzling rain giving promise of heavier precipitation. Nevertheless the throng that this morning bade farewell to the 58 selected men who entrained for Custer cantonment, Battle Creek, exceeded all others who on similar occasions followed their hearts’ promptings for a final word with or last glimpse of the men before they passed out into the great war swirl that is stirring all the civilized nations of the world.

“Manistee mothers are proud of their soldier sons and, despite the heartaches, happy to see them go on their country’s great mission — that has always been the spirit of the American mother. A grim, perilous task awaits their boys, but they loyally give them to their nation and consign them to the care of the Father of all. In this trying hour it materially lightens their grief to realize that, through the Y. M. C. A., the Knights of Columbus and other organizations are undertaking the work of surrounding the boys with the proper moral and religious surroundings in the camps and at the front, so that they may return as clean and pure and manly as when they answered the call to the colors.

“Work on the Manistee breakwater has ceased for the winter.

“Scarcity of coal, inclement weather and shortage of men have forced the contractors to begin work of laying up the $50,000 marine outfit used in constructing the deep-water project.

“Conditions during the summer have been anything but satisfactory for making progress. There has been a constant shortage of suitable men that has at times threatened to entirely stop progress for the season.

“The superintendent has scouted through the state several times in an effort to obtain enough men to accomplish suitable results. In each case the effort has failed. Only the bulldog tenacity of the superintendent and engineers has kept the small crews in the lake to carry on the construction.

“Dredges, scows and other floating equipment are being taken to their winter quarters in the Manistee river. Work will be resumed in the early spring, provided men and fuel can be obtained at that time.

“The local exemption board wishes to acknowledge the many special services rendered and courtesies shown the selected men who left for Battle Creek this morning, with special mention being made of the following:

“The Home Guards, Boy Scouts and Mike Kliber’s band for escorting the men to the station, with particular reference to the work of the Scouts in keeping the paths cleared by use of their staffs.

“The police department for assisting in maintaining order and decorum at all points in the line of march, at the hall and at the station.

“Mrs. Edward Wheeler for providing the selected men with sandwiches and confections on their journey.

“August Field manager of the new Hotel Chippewa, for furnishing cigars.

“Capt. William Wenzel for the drill of two and one-half hours last night to instill the rudiments of marching formations.

“Capt. John Stronach, Jr., for donating the use of Ramsdell hall for lodging and breakfast.

“Mrs. Ida Larsen for her efficient service in providing breakfast.

“The public in general for all form of assistance and encouragement given the board and the men who entrained.

“THE PARTING WAS DISMAL to the extreme, a slow drizzle smiting the thousands who went to the depot.

“OUR IDEAS OF THE MILLENIUM are hazy, but we feel certain there will be no alarm clocks there.

“SOME FEED WAS HANDED the 58 selected men in Ramsdell hall long before the rooster made his first call this morning.

“IT WAS SOME LITTLE TURN-out at that. Not many cities accord their departing soldiers all the honors given the Manistee contingent this morning.

“FIRE DESTROYS MANISTEE LEATHER CO. PLANT. New Industry Is In Ruins Today; Loss Is $50,000. Flames of Unexplained Origin Gain Big Headway Before Discovered and Sweep on Unchecked; Building and Contents Total Loss.

“Fire, fanned by a strong northeast gale, completely destroyed the Manistee Leather company plant in Filer City early this morning.

“The flames, discovered by the night watchman about 4 o’clock this morning in a part of the building ostracised from any heat, are of unknown origin. Mystery surrounds the cause.

“Help summoned was unable to do anything to check the wind-blown flames. The plant was destroyed without means to prevent the fire god’s orgy.

“Nothing was left but a huge pile of smouldering ashes today where yesterday the leather company, one of Manistee’s newest and most promising industries was thriving. The Manistee Leather company…has been wiped from existence.

“Local stockholders who invested heavily in the new company are heavily hit. Their investments are a total loss. The small insurance of a little over $30,000 carried on buildings and stock will not serve to properly adjust all claims.

“Manistee today suffers the loss of another industrial activity in quiet calm.

“THAT LITTLE BLAZE this morning should have warmed Filer Cityans who have not such a great amount of fuel.

“Rising costs and scarcity of help are turning attention to the self-service idea in merchandising.

“The grocery trade is interested in the self-service idea. It works as follows:

“A customer enters the store through a turnstile. Here the customer helps herself to a tray which is simply a convenience for gathering up the items the housewife selects. If on the other hand she wishes to use a basket in which to carry her goods home, she is charged 4 cents for it, which amount she receives on returning it.

“Shelves are indexed alphabetically. A low partition divides the store. A customer walks down one side and up the other selecting the goods she desires. When she has finished she finds herself at the cashier’s desk…the cashier checks the items and collects the amount.

“Every article in the store is plainly marked with the price at which it is sold. It is remarkable to observe how quickly a customer can wait on herself.

“It is necessary in this kind of a grocery store to carry standard and nationally-advertised articles, so that the customer on their journey through the store will not have to ask any questions.

“A store manager has a clerk to assist. The proprietor and the clerk do nothing but fill up the shelves to get things ready for the selling hours. On busy days, like Saturday, the proprietor and clerk simply watch the crowd and see that everybody takes care of him or herself.”


Leave a Reply