100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week March 14, through March 20, 1919 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:

“LOS ANGELES, Cal., Mar. 14.—If plans now well advanced are carried to a successful conclusion Southern California will probably be the first section of the United States to enjoy the benefits of a regularly established aerial passenger traffic. Early in the coming summer it is planned to inaugurate such service between this city, San Diego, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Arrangements are already well under way for a suitable aerodrome and the building of hangars and air passenger stations both here and at San Diego.

“Two fires, believed caused from defective chimneys early today destroyed the major part of the homes belonging to Theodore Nielsen, 76 Greenbush street, and J. E. Secor of 464 Fifth street. The estimated loss for each was $1,800, covered by insurance.

“Before 7 o’clock this morning, the fire department was called to the Neilsen home…. The roof and the entire back part of the house fell in and several walls had to be chopped in order to control the blaze. Various pieces of household furniture and other articles were destroyed by water. The origin of the fire is not certain, whether it was from a defective chimney or from wiring.

“…An hour later the fire department was called to J. E. Secor’s residence on Fifth street. A blaze which broke out on the roof was seen by several bystanders and an alarm was turned in.

“Most of the furniture was saved when many school boys came to the rescue and carried it out. Several times the home next door, occupied by J. H. Braithwaite, was threatened.

“Walls and roof alike at different intervals crashed in, and the boys carrying furniture saved themselves by timely jumps. The whole house was flooded with water, being from three to five inches deep in thee basement.

“After extinguishing the flames and getting them well under control upstairs, the firemen were called in the basement to turn the hose upon flames starting there.

“Mrs. Secor was in a bedroom when part of the roof fell and sparks from it settled upon her head. Her son, Bob, came to her rescue, and quickly put the out.

“The boy scouts helped greatly in saving furniture here.

“The appearance of Miss Gail Gardner tonight at the Congregational church in a concert program will mark the fulfillment of a long-cherished desire of Manisteeans to hear this gifted singer who claims Manistee as her birthplace.

“Tonight’s concert undoubtedly will be the musical treat of the season, and Manistee is especially favored to be accorded the privilege of hearing a singer whose talents have won such high recognition.

“County Agent Carl Knopf announces that the Michigan Agricultural college is offering a special preparatory course for returned soldiers and sailors.

“This course has been formed to meet the needs of the heroes who have had at least one year of high school work. By taking this course one can fit himself to enter any of the regular college courses. The time required for the preparatory work will depend on the amount of schooling the student has already had and the interest takes in the course.

“Mr. Knopf states that the work the young men have missed in High school can be fully made up in this way, and he strongly urges those who are interested and wish to better themselves to take advantage of this chance.

“The seniors of the high school were presented with tickets by E.G. Filer for the concert to be given this evening at the Congregational church.

“Adaptation off poison gas from war uses to agricultural attack on farm insects and rodent pests is declared a failure by Washington authorities. Cows won’t wear gas masks.

“Some new light is thrown on the shooting in Detroit of Stephen Friske, son of Peter Friske of this city, by the receipt today of further details of the incident. The following story in a Detroit morning newspaper tells in and interesting way how Friske characterized himself as a Sicilian feud ‘victim.’

“’Steve Friske, 20 years old, came to Detroit from Manistee only a week ago, but Steve has already shown an ability to assimilate local color and to apply it to romance…if he ever turns his hand to fiction writing.

“’Friske, according to the police report on the occurrence, was on his way to work, and a pistol which he carried in his pocket fell out, was discharged, and the bullet inflicted a slight wound on his right leg.

“’Detectives were later called to Friske’s home, where they were told that as Steve was walking along the street, two Sicilians in a black touring car drove up, one leaped from the machine and started shooting at Steve, one bullet entering the toiler’s leg before Steve launched a counterattack and knocked the weapon from the hand of his assailant who fled.

“’The explosion of Steve’s romance occurred, police say, when they tried to get his help in recovering the weapon which he had wrested from the bandit.’

“Police are now making a quiet investigation of the imaginative young man, and have asked the Manistee authorities for a report on him.’

“Given a heart-warming reception by her townspeople after an absence of years, Miss Gail Gardner last night in the church in which she sang as a girl, literally sang her way into their admiring regard and scored a triumph that must be regarded as notable even in a notable career.

“Concluding a visit of several days with her sisters and brother here, Miss Gardner left today for New York where concert engagements await her return. Her visit to her home city will long be remembered with pleasure by all who heard her last night, and her musical career will be followed with increased interest by Manisteeans.

“The annual fire in the Sands swamp near the branches of the Big Manistee river, between Parkdale and Eastlake, broke out again yesterday afternoon, shortly before supper time, when sparks, it is believed, from a Pere Marquette locomotive caught in the dry grass.

“The blaze raged during the entire evening and assumed threatening proportions. No effort was made to extinguish it, the rivers in that part being frozen over, and besides a fire of its size was entirely beyond control. The flames spread over a half-mile area, fanned by the high southwest wind blowing over the scene.

“Eating their way through the dry grass, the flames moved their way across the Pere Marquette railroad tracks. The bridges, the railroad bridge and two foot bridges, were threatened.

“The blaze, which was easily discernible in Manistee, continued until near midnight. It was completely extinguished by the rain which fell in the night.

“This fire marked the fourth one in this vicinity in three days.

“The family of J. E. Secor, whose home on Fifth street was destroyed by fire yesterday, has moved into the house at Fourth and Pine streets, which Mr. Secor owns.

“A blue haze, thick enough to cut with a knife, pervades the interior of the engine house on First street. Theodore Nielsen this morning presented the firemen with a box of rare, Havana perfectos, as an expression of thanks for their hard work yesterday morning during the fire at his home on Greenbush street.

“Spring is due next week. Sounds like balls and bats and marbles.

“Manistee is pretty well saturated.

“Beginning Saturday afternoon, accompanied by a driving wind, the rain came down by the bucketful, giving the city its first real downpour of the year. Sewers and streets got a good flushing, and puddles an inch deep were left everywhere.

“Observing the Sabbath, J. Pluvius took a rest yesterday, but this morning again overturned the rain clouds and the city felt another deluge. This afternoon good sized rain drops were transformed into great white snowflakes, giving the appearance of a real snowstorm for which the foghorn did much blatting.

“As the result of the rain practically all the ice and snow, left from the winter, was washed away, and most of the frost was taken from the ground. The current in Manistee river today is rushing down at an unusual rate. What little ice was left in Manistee lake broke up and came down with the current.

“Sunday was one of the warmest days so far this year. The thermometer at noon registered 65 degrees. The weather throughout the rest the day maintained just a little lower temperature.

“A novel method of automobile transportation that may mean a saving of hundreds of dollars in gasoline, time, and tire wear was adopted by the Martinson auto sales garage in bringing to this city yesterday morning a Maxwell truck and a Maxwell touring car.

“With the pleasure car thoroughly fastened on the truck, Clarence Holmgren, driver, left Detroit Friday, covering the distance of 330 miles to this city in 24 hours. Except for a short circuit in the headlights, the trip was made without a mishap.

“Holmgren drove into Manistee yesterday morning about 11 o’clock, directing the truck with its heavy load all the way up at about 25 miles an hour. In gasoline consumption he averaged 10 miles to the gallon. No chains were necessary.

“It was stated to Holmgren at the Maxwell factory at Detroit that although similar attempts at auto transportation had been made between Chicago and Detroit and other nearby places where the roads are exceptionally good, this was the first effort to convey an automobile on a truck as far north as Manistee.

“It has proved practicable and entirely successful to Mr. Martinson, and in all probability this plan will be used throughout the summer in cases where it is necessary to drive a truck and a car here at once.

“President Woodrow Wilson probably felt perfectly free to catch cold, realizing as he does that the opposition to hiss League of Nations may safely be sneezed at.

“Of course we are for abolishing this might-is-right theory, but you have noticed that more and more people are being converted to the theory that the way to get what you want if to raise a rough-house about it.

“Last Friday evening the Clover club gave a delightful St. Patrick’s party at their club rooms at St. Peter’s school. Clever games, guessing contests and St. Patrick’s puzzles kept the guests laughingly busy, and were followed by an exciting potato race. The awarding of comic prizes caused great amusement. Dainty refreshments were served, covers being laid for nine. Decorations were artistically carried out in green and white. A shower of streamers suspended just above the table, to which were attached Irish verse cards, the centerpiece of Irish flags, candle shades, pipe place cards, nut baskets, napkins, etc., added many original and pretty touches to the table.

“American soldiers in Coblenz have been forbidden to marry. That’s right. They were sent over there to wind up a fight; not to start a fresh one.

“The last of the food regulations have been repealed, but housewives are still beset with the eternal problem, ‘What shall we have for dinner?’

“With the destruction by fire [of unknown origin] last night of the building in Parkdale known as the Northside Park, one of the best-known spots during John Barleycorn’s regime in Manistee county was removed. The place was a complete loss, estimated at $5,000, part of which was covered by insurance. “The fire department from Manistee was called in when other nearby dwellings were threatened. The heat was intense; it scorched several residences, and seriously threatened the home of Andrew P. Anderson, directly across the road.

“The North Side Park at one time, some years ago, was one of the most popular places in the county. Built more than 30 years ago by C. H. Daniels, it offered an ideal spot for picnics and gatherings. After the dry law went in force last May, Frank Jurkowski, who operated the place as a saloon, continued it as a soft drink parlor. Last fall he quit the place altogether, and since then it has stood idle.

“Manistee’s immunity from floods can be thoroughly appreciated today when compared with conditions that have arisen in the past few days in other sections of the state due to the enormous rainfall. Washouts have held up railroad traffic, the delay of last night’s and this noon’s train of several hours being caused by floods.

“Fire of undetermined origin this morning at 2 o’clock destroyed the Manistee & Northeastern railroad station at Buckley, entailing a loss estimated at $3,000.

“The station was a combined passenger and freight house, and was constructed entirely of brick. The loss is covered by insurance.

“The politician’s theory is that the universe consists of three elements: (1) himself; (2) his party; (3) background.

“A Kalamazoo man dropped dead as he was writing a check to pay his hospital bill. It must be a very careless hospital that will try to operate on a man’s purse before he is strong enough.

“In the old days, observes a paragrapher in an exchange, the poets used to be poor. Nowadays it’s the poetry that’s poor.

“By the departure from Manistee in 1874 of Mrs. Wilhelmina Guhse, Manistee lost a woman who today is a centenarian. Mrs. Guhse celebrated her one hundredth birthday anniversary, March 11, at Wausau, Wis. She came to this country from Germany in 1871, and immediately made her home in Manistee. August Guhse, Lincoln street, of this city, is her son.

“With women gracing the occasion as inspectors of election boards in each of the seven city districts, and first-time female voters bidding fair to be nearly as numerous as the men, the imminent spring election promises a novelty, if not a sensation. The Old Timer who recalls the ‘good old days’ of free beer and free fights is liable to be subject to severe shock as he absorbs the air of refinement which is expected to pervade the polling places.

“Absent will be the reek of the campaign cabbage leaf cigar; absent, too, the sawdust filled receptacle into which the odorous snipes and other used tobacco by-products were flung or expectorated. In their stead, it is even possible, may be found such conveniences for the new voters as mirrors and vanity cases, for it is to be presumed that milady will be able to cast her first ballot much more discriminatingly if her nose is properly powdered. And it is a reasonable presumptions that the topics of conversation about the tables will be—er, more polite in any event.

“The first women named to serve on election boards in Manistee county are: Clara Bialik, Katherine Estes, Edith Graves, Bertha Gullander, Mary Anderson, Blanche Siersinski, Esther Jacobsen.

“Council had to run on three cylinders last night, but this was sufficient to the needs of the occasion.

“In a few years we suppose the ‘air flivvers’ will be getting in the way of aerial limousines.

“Having made things nice and safe for Europe, let us now get busy and make America safe from the imported scum of Europe.

“People produce economic conditions up to a certain point and then economic conditions begin to produce people.

“Who remembers the colored glass cake dish and the castor set that used to stand in the center of the dining table?

“Manistee has no set date for officially opening navigation, but with the excellent weather, activities on the river today indicated that the waterway was ready for the summer.

“The community chautauqua meetings with this week will be discontinued permanently, was announced yesterday by Supt. S. W. Baker. The fact that the teachers have worked unceasingly to carry out the programs of the meetings, and that they have more work to take care of this year because of the influenza epidemic, has necessitated the closing of these community gatherings.

“Good sized audiences attended the meetings in all buildings in which they were held, and the people very generously responded to make these gatherings a success. The community showed by its attendance that most of the people were always ready and willing to co-operate in the making of a better democracy.

“The local night school will be continued with more vigor as long as sufficient interest is manifested and the attendance warrants. Supt. Baker is especially anxious to have a large number of men and women to participate in this work as it serves to give a better preparation for citizenship.

“March this year so far has been only March, while usually it is March and two or Three other months.”

 

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