100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending February 16, 1918 and are compiled by Teena Kracht from the newspaper archives of the Manistee County Historical Museum. Read more of her 100 Years Ago column at www.manisteenews.com:100 Years Ago

“A long anticipated upheaval in city administrative circles materialized with startling abruptness last night, and in unexpected fashion, when the council received the curtly-worded resignations of three of the most essential municipal functionaries and accepted them with equal curtness. The three resignations are those of City Manager Charles E. Ruger, effective May 1; City Clerk Charles Bickell, effective April 1; City Assessor Chris B. Jentoft.

“All were accepted without public comment or discussion, and unanimously.

“This episode marks the close of a long period of inharmony and friction between two of the officials, and of inharmony with the public on the part of another. It is common knowledge that there has long existed a bitter personal fuel between the city manager and the city clerk, and that they did not exchange greetings when they met in the city offices or elsewhere.

“The commissioners, feeling that this was inimical to the city’s interests and that it impaired the efficiency of the officials, decided to get out from under the storm of censure that appeared certain to sooner or later be visited upon them, and perform a ‘housecleaning.’ The course of action was decided upon at a series of executive sessions held recently, and carried out yesterday without deviation from the plan adopted.

“None of the commissioners last night intimated whom, if anybody, they had in mind to fill the vacancies created by the resignations, and it is believed that no one has yet been picked out.

“Declaring that during the past four and one-half years in which it has operated the Manistee street railway it has sustained losses totaling $139,000, and that, unless relief is granted, the company will be unable to continue giving transportation services to the community, the Manistee Railway company, by General Manager C. S. Kressler, last night filed with the city commission a petition asking amendment of the ordinance which will permit it to discontinue service on the north side between Dec. 1 and April 30th each year, and establish a rate of fare of 7 tickets for 50 cents, or where tickets are not bought 10 cents per trip.

“Because repeated snows and blizzards made it impossible to keep the skating pond at Sands park in condition for service, the venture has been abandoned for the winter.

“The rink had been greatly enlarged and, with suitable weather conditions, it had been hoped to give young America almost unlimited opportunity for healthy, safe outdoor recreation.

“Caretaker William Aldrich had been kept on the job and fire maintained in the building by using old boards and other refuse lumber, but as King Winter seemed disinclined to abate his tyranny, the place has been closed, windows boarded up and the caretaker’s service discontinued.

“BEAUTY MAY BE ONLY skin deep, but we can’t see any deeper than that anyhow.

“STORAGE EGGS, the market report says, are exhausted. Long years of inactivity had sapped their vitality.

“ADD TO DIETARY CAMOUFLAGE the meatless mince pie.

“WE KNOW SUMMER will come. Otherwise the ice man would never have nerve to talk about higher prices.

“Fifty more men have been added to the list of registrants qualified for general military service and one for limited service as a result of yesterday afternoon’s physical examination conducted by the local exemption board. This brings the total up to 165 fully qualified men for the [this week’s] three days’ tests. Eight have been listed for limited service in that time. Eighteen were rejected as physically unfit.

“As yesterday’s snow, though not heavy, was effective in its obstructive qualities and stalled practically all railroad traffic, many were unable to report and upwards 30 more are being examined today. Smaller groups are expected during the greater part of next week.

“With men appearing steadily and no signs of an end of the job being reached, Chief of Police Grady was pleased to receive a telegram today from U. S. Marshal O’Connor announcing the extension of thee enemy alien registration period until next Wednesday.

“No information is in the hands of local authorities as to the number of aliens in the county and the police department was just considering the matter of hunting up men who have failed to appear, when the extension of time was ordered giving another three days for delinquents to appear.

“At the end of this period the hunt for unregistered enemies will begin. According to the regulations governing the registration, an alien enemy required to register and who fails to complete his registration within the time fixed therefore, in addition to all other penalties prescribed by law, is liable to restraint, imprisonment and detention for the duration of the war.

“After an examination consuming the greater portion of a day and a half, Louis Gering and Arthur Gudart, two young draftsmen recently employed at the Manistee Iron Works, who were arrested Jan. 19 on the charge of stealing valuable blue prints and drawings with the intent of disposing of them to the injury of the United States government, late yesterday afternoon were bound over to the federal district grand jury by U. S. Commissioner Charles N. Belcher.

“Bail for Gering was fixed in the sum of $2,500, and for Gudart at $1,000. The surety for Gudart was furnished later in the afternoon by Chas. A. Zobel and John Zobel, and he spent last evening in the society of his friends. Gering was released this afternoon, the same sureties signing the bonds.

‘Interest in the case appeared to be pitched high, and the cramped quarters of the commissioner’s quarters were crowded. Many apparently intimate friends and associates of the young men charged with a serious offense were in evidence, and at every opportunity assured them of their sympathy.

“An even dozen witnesses were put on the stand to substantiate the charges against Gering and Gudart. Though none of it materially strengthened the case against the young men on the charge on which they were held, it did prove beyond doubt that both are strongly pro-German in sentiment and disloyal in thought. So strongly was this impressed that [Defense] Attorney Neal, in his motion that the defendants be discharged on the charge on which they are held, disclaimed any thought of defending them against any charge of pro-Germanism that might be made and strongly manifested his lack of sympathy with expressions attributed to them.

“Arthur Dawson, Charles W. O’Donnell and Harold Warman, heads of departments at the Iron Works, were witnesses called Thursday. Their testimony was mostly of a technical nature concerning blueprints and drawings found in possession of the prisoners at the time of their arrest. Like other officials of the company who appeared Friday, they appeared unanimous in their conviction that the prints in question could be of no value to an enemy, or in fact, to anyone but their own firm or to the draftsmen as specimens of their craftsmanship.

“The Pere Marquette has annulled trains 4 and 5 on the Chicago division and 4 and 5 on the Petoskey division until weather conditions improve.

“This announcement, made this morning, rudely jarred Manistee people from their dreams of approaching spring and prospects of continued train and mail service because of the thaw that has prevailed the past three days. I seems that, though the temperature has moderated generally and the snowfalls have not been unduly heavy, the wind and adhesive qualities of the fluffy stuff have effectually stalled traffic in middle western section.

“The only way to get to Grand Rapids from here is via the M. & N. E.

“Because substitutes prescribed by the federal food administration to be used in place of wheat flour have jumped in price and cost more that wheat flour, the price of bread will be increased in Manistee beginning Monday, Feb. 11, according to an announcement made today by the Hornkohl bakery and Schmeling Brothers bakery.

“This means the consumer will pay 10 cents for the pound loaf, which he formerly bought for nine, and 15 cents for the pound-and-a-half loaf, which used to cost him 12 cents.

“Encouraged by the relaxation of winter, the Consumers Power company announces that tomorrow it will ‘pick up all its load,’ which means that it is again in position to furnish the requisite amount of current for all the city’s lighting and power purposes.

“For some time past Manistee has been under stringent regulations regarding the use of these essentials. General Manager Kressler of the Power company today stated that the company has a sufficient supply of coal to maintain the full service, and that merchants whose display windows have been darkened can again ‘light up,’ while homes in which conservation of lights has been practiced may be illuminated as much as may be desired.

“The federal government order for Thursday and Sunday nights, however, is still in force, and it will not be permissible on either of those nights to light up electric signs or window displays.

“Thirty-two registrants have been added to Manistee County’s qualified list since Saturday.

“That the Red Cross Lincoln day luncheon to be held at the Chippewa hotel tomorrow noon will be one of the biggest events of its kind ever held in Manistee became increasingly apparent today when additional acceptances swelled the already large total. A crowd of over 200 will assemble at the hotel, and Manager August Field is making preparations for utilizing every bit of floor space in the dining room.

“The Pere Marquette schedule will be reestablished tomorrow as it was previous to Saturday’s annulment of train s 4 and 5 on the Petoskey and Chicago divisions.

“Yesterday’s fine weather induced Manistee citizens in hundreds to tramp to the lake shore to enjoy the spectacle of Lake Michigan covered with a solid sheet of ice as far as the eye could reach. Many of the sightseers carried cameras and numerous snapshots of the curious ice formations and of people posed upon them were taken.

“The piers, sheathed in ice, were covered with people and many more walked out on the ice or climbed about the miniature bergs. One daring party of half a dozen people ventured more than a mile from shore and a large number walked as far as the breakwater or a short distance beyond it. All seemed to be enjoying themselves to the limit and no serious mishaps are recorded, though many sat down with disconcerting abruptness on the slippery ice and one young man, finding the only spot of open water in sight, put both of his feet in it.

“This Sunday excursion to the lake to view Jack Frost’s tricks with the water takes place every year in Manistee after the spring has approached near enough to make it pleasant but before the ice has begun to melt, and every year more and more people are seen attending it.

“OFFICIAL SCORERS will kindly note a change in the lineup: Mild Weather now batting for I. C. Winter, the home run king.

“MISS FOOTE who is taking the place of Ernest Bosch as teacher of chemistry and physics in the High school, took up her work today.

“TOMORROW WILL BE a legal holiday, and all the banks will be closed. Lincoln’s birthday a year ago showed the thermometer registered 26 1/2 degrees below zero.

“CHOPPING ICE off of roofs was the popular outdoor sport Sunday. Lot of damage was done to interiors by the water backing up and dripping through roofs.

“The Consumers Power company put all its patrons on full power service today, not only in Manistee but throughout the state.

“This welcome step is made possible because the fuel situation has eased considerably and because of the mild weather. Thawing conditions throughout the state have opened up rivers and again made water power available at full capacity, whereas during the ice-bound period the frozen streams cut the water power 50 per cent.

“With upward of 200 in attendance, the Lincoln’s day Red Cross luncheon at the Chippewa this afternoon was successful beyond the fondest expectations of the promoters.

“The dining room of the hotel was appropriately decorated in a patriotic showing of colors, the Red, White and Blue predominating, with a showing of the British and French flags, as the patriotic assemblage of Manistee’s best citizenship took possession shortly after 12 o’clock.

“The city’s population in 1910 was placed at 12,381. Of this number 10,287 were foreign or mixed parentage. Of Germans there were 4,139 or 33.4 percent; of Austrians 154.

“Residents who were born abroad totaled 3,610, including 1,544 Germans and 66 Austrians. Those of enemy alien birth comprised 34.8 per cent.

“Out of the male population of voting age 1,828 were born abroad. Of this number 1,480 had taken out full citizens’ papers, 78 their first papers and 270 retained their status as aliens.

“THE LIMITATION of two pounds of sugar to the family is working a great hardship on the neighbors, who scarcely know where to borrow.

“Emboldened by previous success in like endeavor, Adolph J. Nessen, generalissimo of the Red Cross forces assigned to the conquest of capital, yesterday eclipsed all former victories standing to his credit when, in a snappy four-hour drive [the Lincoln day luncheon], he fully obtained his objective with pledges totaling en even $10,000 to the support of the organization during the coming year.

“A lot of foresighted fishermen went home disappointed after long, shivery vigils along the Manistee river near Junction Dam, where they had been watching the draining of the stream preparatory to setting the first water wheel turning.

“They had high hopes of bushels of hand-picked fish when the river went dry and had rosy visions of walking out and picking them up like firewood. Unfortunately for them, the Lord and the weather man were on the side of their intended piscatorial victims. The ice was so thick and strong that it failed to break up but gradually settled to the river bottom intact, and the waiting lines of seekers for the finny meat substitutes had to depart empty handed.

“WASHINGTON, Feb. 14.—Fuel Administrator Garfield has revoked the ‘heatless’ Monday order, but state administrators are empowered to continue the ‘workless’ Mondays in their states if they deem it necessary because of fuel conditions.

“LANSING, Feb. 14.—State Fuel Administrator Prudden today called off fuelless Mondays, freed theatres from the Tuesday close-down order and raised all restrictions from church service.

“The order also permits drug stores to remain open an additional three hours a day for the sale of drugs and medicines, and gives theatres an additional three hours daily in which to operate.

“GARDEN SEEDS. Many kinds of seeds are extremely scarce this year. Bring in your lists now and have your seed saved for you. After our present supply is gone we may be unable to get more. Don’t Wait. C. N. RUSSELL.

“ABOUT THE TIME they begin to urge the necessity of the backyard garden, a seed famine will probably develop.

“’BARBER SHOPS have lost their best trade because so many young felloes have gone to war,’ laments a veteran River street knight of the razor. ‘They were the fellows who liked to get dolled up when they went to call on their girls, and they went in strong for extras that meant money to us. Old married men don’t care a hang for massages or shampoos and other extras. Guess we’ll have to impose a war tax to get even.

“’KISS IS A NOUN; common; more common than proper,’ said a High school girl. ‘It is seldom declined; not very singular, as it is generally used in the plural. It agrees with me.’ Talk about your ‘higher education.’

 

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