100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending July 6, 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

“There will be two war savings stamp meetings in Manistee tonight. One will be at the Congregational church, which will be turned into a rally for a few minutes when K. R. Matthews of Ludington will give a ‘pep’ talk. Immediately afterwards Mr. Matthews will go to the Ramsdell theatre where the real war savings meeting will be held. It is the only rally which will be held in Manistee during the course of the drive and it is hoped that the theatre will be crowded.

“Although today was National Stamp day, the local campaign will not close tonight. Dr. King says that the workers will continue their intensive efforts until the middle of next week, and that the sales drive will continue until the county has taken its quota if it takes two months.

“A large crowd consisting chiefly of proud parents of the students, attended the high school commencement exercises at the Ramsdell theater last night where 61 diplomas were given the graduates by Prof. S. W. Baker.

“An unusual patriotic address was given by President Charles McKenny of the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. He pointed out the economic and social value of the school institution and the importance of the fact that America educates her young people in public schools as an asset of the country, especially at this time. He declared that the test of democracy will lie on the shoulders of the young people, who are coming to take their place in the world.

“The hall and stage were beautifully decorated with the flags of the Allies and red and white, the colors of the graduating class.

“The students were all looking their best on the night of triumph and made a pleasing group on the stage. In accordance with an old precedent, all girls were dressed in white and many of them carried beautiful bouquets.

“Miss Ida Brownrigg, who leaves tomorrow to begin war work in Washington, vacates many important positions in local patriotic activities for other people to fill during her absence.

“Miss Brownrigg has accepted a position in the capitol and will do civilian work for the Red Cross. She has had much experience in social service and is expected to carry a large part in the field she has chosen. She will return to Manistee in the fall to resume her place as teacher in the High school.

“An excellent program for the Fourth of July will be given the city during the afternoon when the children of the public schools will appear in the Ramsdell theater in patriotic drills and songs. The program will begin at 2 p. m.

“In the list of patriotic Manistee County families note the name of Masty, which will soon have six representatives in the fighting ranks. These six stalwart youths are sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Masty, well known and highly respected residents of Stronach Township.

“In addition to responding willingly to the call for personal service, the brothers have also purchased Liberty bonds as liberally as their means permit, and have demonstrated their patriotism in other ways. There are two other members of the family, a sister, Mary, living in Grand Rapids, and a 14-year-old boy on the farm.

“We submit that his contribution of six brothers to the service is something for future generations of the family to point to with pride.

“The teams in the War Savings Stamps drive are fairly whirling along now, and the total pledges secured in the residential districts is beyond the $30,000 mark. WASHINGTON, June 19.—The federal trade commission reported to the senate today that some American business is gorging in war profits.

“The report showed that four of five big packers reaped $140,000,000 profits between 1915 and 1917, of which $181,000,000 represented the excess over pre-war profits.

“Beside the packers, flour milling and basic industries showed profits vastly above those of peace times.

“Steel mills also showed enormous profits. In one case it was found that 319.65 percent profit had been made, while many others averaged above 100 per cent.

“Dumbfounded by the demand made upon Manistee county for the draft quota of July 22, the local draft board, after first expressing doubts as to the accuracy of the number called, 240, this morning began casting up its available resources to meet the emergency.

“‘Of course, if we have to supply 240 men, we’ll do it,’ said a draft board official, ‘But where are we going to get that number?’

“The Manistee board was utterly at a loss to figure on what basis of computation this county’s quota was determined at so high a figure, placing it fourth or fifth in the list of counties in the state, and requiring approximately four times as many as the neighboring counties of Grand Traverse and Wexford, which have populations as large as Manistee’s.

“The addition of 240 Manistee county men to the 630 from this county known to be in service…will bring the number of warriors from hereabouts up to nearly 900, which is a pretty fair little army in itself.

“Manistee’s homecoming on July fourth is going to attract a bigger congregation of former residents than had been anticipated. Already the people are beginning to come back and are going to make the next week a real joy. There will be visitors in most of the homes and the streets are going to be filled with the hundreds who still look upon Manistee as home, despite the miles that may be between.

“A notable addition to Manistee’s group of industries has been secured by the Board of Commerce in the form of a branch factory of the Cooper Underwear company, of Kenosha, Wis., one of the largest manufacturers of underwear in the United States.

“The company will begin work immediately on the creation of a splendid, modern fireproof factory building, two stories and basement, on the present Briny Inn site whish is donated by the Board of Commerce for this purpose.

“It is the intention of the company to rush the work as rapidly as possible, and begin operation before the close of 1918.

“The company expects to employ about 200 operatives when fully established.

“WASHINGTON, July 1.—President Wilson today asked congress for power to take over telegraph and telephone lines.

“The power asked [was considered] necessary to prevent suspension of service on telegraph lines and to guard military secrets and government communications.

“This was regarded as indicative of the president’s purpose to prevent the strike of telegraphers threatened by order of President Konenkamp of their union for July 8.

“The president advocated passage of the Aswell resolution, which would empower him to take over not only telephone and telegraph lines but also the cable lines and radio systems of the country.

“The [interstate commerce committee of the congress] does not want to withhold such power, but wants time to gather facts and data so as to be prepared to rush the resolution through the house.

“The whirl of the merry-go-round, the rumble of The Whip and the pleading, cajoling spiel of the bally-hoo will resound from the west end of River and Water streets this evening, where the carnival city which will be a feature of the Fourth of July gala week sprang, mushroom-like, into being this morning.

“Outlook for the resort traffic between Manistee and Onekama becomes more and more gloomy as the season advances and the steamer companies show less and less desire to engage in the unprofitable trade. With the Northern Michigan Transportation Co. out of the running, the Pere Marquette Line is left as Manistee’s only connection with the ‘summer city,’ and prospects are that the connection may be broken entirely.

“In accordance with the latest Hoover requests the Manistee Country club has decided to give up its teas, which in the past years have been held every Saturday afternoon at 5 o’clock. To offset the decrease in social activity, the club suppers, formerly held once a month, will this year be given twice each month but to conform with the food administration ruling, will be held at 6:30. They will be a combination of the former suppers and teas and will be followed by card parties. While keeping all food rulings and serving no unnecessary meals at odd hours, the new schedule will not decrease the social activity of the club or lessen the number of club entertainments.

“That Manistee’s next draft quota of 240 men is to be reduced considerably, is the opinion of Sheriff Waal after a long distance conversation with Adjutant General Bersey this afternoon. The number is greatly in excess of the number of class one men in the county. The fact was disclosed that the call was based on a mistaken estimate of the number of available men in the county. Incorrect figures in the adjutant’s books were responsible for the mistake.

“Announcement is made by John Stronach, Jr., that the Ramsdell theater has been closed, and will remain in its state of darkness for the duration of the war. The only variation from this order will be when the city uses the auditorium for its municipal affairs.

“The reason assigned for the action by Mr. Stronach is the fact that there are very few road companies now offering the big city successes, or any other shows. This is due to the government’s transportation regulations. Absence of attractions makes it impossible for the theater management to meet operating expenses.

“With the conclusion of the war the theater will be re-decorated, and re-opened with its former high standard of attractions.

“NICE NOVEMBER weather, this. Lot of folks kindled and kept the home fires burning yesterday, all right.

“Thursday, July 4, greatest of our national holidays and, with a nation at war, this year the most significant of most significant of any patriotic observance date, there will be no issue of The News-Advocate.

“The News-Advocate management feels that on this occasion its working force is entitled to full enjoyment of and participation in the holiday, equally as much as employes of banks, the postoffice, and public offices and other public utilities. The Fourth of July is one of the very few holidays on which News-Advocate readers will be denied the news.

“There will be no regular issue Thursday, no delivery by carriers, no mail edition. We’re going to take a holiday with the rest of you.

“Announcement is authorized today that the Portage Point Inn, concerning the future of which there has lately been considerable uncertainty, will be re-opened for the season next Saturday, July 6, under the management of Mrs. Grace E. Oliver.

“Mrs. Oliver is a hotel woman of wide experience, formerly connected with the Hotel Pfister, Milwaukee, and the Hotel Victory, Put-in-Bay, Ohio. She is the wife of P. L. Oliver, superintendent of the Pere Marquette system dining and parlor cars.

“Portage Point Inn has been leased for the season from the Northern Michigan Transportation company by Mrs. Oliver, with the sanction and approval of the Portage Point association owners.

“This marks the success of the effort of the Portage Point association to restore the hotel to summer service under popular and progressive management,, and is an announcement of great interest to hundreds of resorters as well as to the people of Manistee.

“Through the assistance of local grocers, Manistee is now placed on the strict sugar ration which State Food Administrator Prescott has ordained for the state for the next three months. Every person is to be allowed three pounds of sweet per month. The quantity of sugar listed includes all kinds of raw and refined cane sugar and beet sugar but does not include maple, corn and grape sugars.

“Manistee will be examined for slackers under the ‘work or fight’ law very shortly by the local draft board headed by Sheriff Waal. The city’s non-essential citizens will be tagged as such and will receive orders to obtain employment or enlist.

“Details concerning the exact workings of the law and the methods of application are not yet forthcoming although the board expects to soon give instructions and power to go to work. The number of persons liable to be affected by the ruling in Manistee is not believed to be very great. Its action in smaller cities is usually of minor importance although in the great centers of the country, excellent additions to the nation’s working and fighting forces have been the result of its enforcement.

“A belated effort to forestall the street carnival…was made yesterday, while the outfit was being placed at the upper end of River and Water streets, through a petition of remonstrance filed with the city authorities by 13 property owners and business men of that section.

“The petition sets forth, among other objections, that: The proposed location of this so-called carnival will result in serious damage to property and inconvenience to residents and business men, that the blocking of the streets will interfere with the conduct of business, that residents in the carnival area will be annoyed and disturbed day and night until a late hour.

“The petition urges that the circus grounds in the south end of the city be used instead of the streets of the city, and offers that site rent-free for the purpose.

“The city authorities state that but one business man in Manistee interposed any objection to the project when it was first broached by the Board of Commerce as a feature in connection with the city’s Fourth of July week homecoming festivities; that sanction was granted publicly two weeks ago, at which time any remonstrance should have been filed, and that the city is actively on the job of safeguarding abutting property and the rights of individual citizens.

“Some of the objectors appear to have valid grounds for complaint.

“The remonstrance will be presented to the council tonight.

“The agreeable change in temperature from the chill of Sunday conducted to the attendance of a large crowd of recreation seekers at the street carnival…under the auspices of Manistee Elks’ lodge, for the opening last night.

“The kid contingent, especially, was out in force, waiting for the merry-go-round to begin its revolutions. Shortly before 7:30 the carnival band livened things up, and the week’s merriment was formally begun.

“HOUSEHOLDERS WHO HAVE fallen into the careless practice of leaving their doors unlocked during brief absences from home are reminded that right now is a good time to begin practicing more caution. There are a lot of strangers in town this week, and not all of them are satisfactorily vouched for.

“With flags flying from every building, and the streets alive with homecomers, Manistee is set for the advent of the city’s red-letter day, the Fourth. Preparations which began nearly a month ago have developed successfully and tomorrow’s celebration is certain to fulfill every prediction. Only fair weather is necessary to make it one of the most eventful days in the city’s history.

“Manistee people are not 100 percent patriotic while they do not show the customary respects to the national emblem and anthem. The city has learned during the past year to stand while the Star Spangled Banner is being played and does so with reasonable promptitude at any public meeting. A further step in the forms of patriotism is still to be acquired; that of saluting the flag of the United States when it passes on parade. Manistee men do not appear to understand that they should lift their hats to the colors in exactly the same way as to any feminine acquaintance.

“The opportunity for inaugurating the custom is at hand with tomorrow’s patriotic procession. Proper form required that every man lift his hat to every large flag heading a division in the parade. When citizens show the flag the same respect which soldiers show it they may expect to acquire the soldier’s reverence and feeling for his country’s emblem. [Signed] DR. F. L. HAYNES.

“In a beautiful expression of sentiment evincing her deep affection for her old town, Mrs. J. J. Staley, now of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, widow of the formerrr much-loved pastor of the Congregational church here, asks the news-Advocate to transmit her regrets over being unable to attend the homecoming here…

“Dear Friends: I have just received an invitation to the Homecoming back in dear old Manistee July Fourth. It goes without saying that I would love to go, but since that pleasure is denied me I’m just going to write a note to the News-Advocate and tell everybody how I long to be there, for no other place will ever be home to me.

“There is a Michigan club in Spokane, and I have met some very pleasant people there, but no one I ever saw before. They are mostly Detroit people.

“You see Spokane is our only big city out here. Idaho has no large city. Boise the capital city is the largest.

“The climate here is very conducive to good health. I have not felt so well in years as since coming to Idaho. The scenery is superb, the sunsets glorious. The view from our home which stands on a hillside, and is named Wildwood, is grand any way you look. Lake Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful body of water, about twenty-five miles long. Small steamers run from here to various points every day. So far as all these things go, we are greatly blessed; but in spite of all it is only pretty to look at to me, and can never be home. Home is where the heart is. I am happy in the love and companionship of my children here, but my eyes are looking toward the east, and my heart yearns for that other companionship which now I do not have. I have met several people who say they have been in Manistee and immediately they become to me as some precious thing to be reverenced and adored. [POEM FOLLOWS]

“‘When the years have taken toll,

Of the body, heart and soul,

And the twilight, grey and leaden settles down.

When the old home ties are broken

The last farewells are spoken

And you know you’ve got to leave the dear old town.

Then in spite of all you’ve said

About the old town being dead

And you know it way behind the times and all,

Somehow things seem to change,

Somehow you feel so strange,

And the tears begin to come and almost fall,

Then when mountains loom between

And you know that you have seen

The last of that dead spot you’ll ever see.

Well I’m telling you my secret,

But I do not care who knows it,

There’s no spot on earth to equal Manistee.

[Signed] MRS. J. J. STALEY, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.’”

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