100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week March 21, through March 27, 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:

“Miss Spring arrived promptly on schedule time, at 11:19 this morning, with the intention of tarrying here for a period of 91 days and some odd hours. After bidding the brisk north wind, which had been frolicking boisterously while awaiting her arrival, to calm down a bit, she expressed her appreciation of the welcome extended here.

“’It certainly does seem as though my annual visit here is appreciated,’ she murmured. ‘And while I’m about it, I’d like also to speak a good word for the departing occupant of the premises. Mr. Winter, I find, has been most considerate and has left the place in a much more tidy condition than it was a year ago, for instance. The cleaning-up process is going to be much simplified as a result and if all goes well it won’t be long before the crocus and the daffodil will be abloom in the front yards and the vegetable gardens will get a start.’

“Yes, spring is officially here, to remain until June 22, when the summer solstice will cause her to fade away. But spring to the Manisteean means more than vernal equinoxes and summer solstices. It means that the trout will soon bite and may be caught legally; that the roads will be clear and will fade under the spinning wheels of motor cars; that the farmers’ fields will take on verdure, and that the thoughts of tourists and summer resorters will be turning Manisteeward.

“So, with our bear [The News-Advocate has adopted a Mickey-Mouse-esque ‘weather bear’ who appears and is often ‘quoted’ in these rather light-hearted weather commentaries, hence, the references to ‘our bear’ in this and similar articles.—T. K.], we all say most heartily, ‘Welcome, Gentle Spring.’ We trust there will be nothing to cause your recall, even for a single day.

“With the receipt yesterday afternoon from the state offices of the record book, County Clerk Gus Papenguth is now ready to assist released and discharged soldiers and sailors to obtain their $60 bonus, authorized by the government.

“In making application for this money, it is necessary that the discharged man’s release papers be sent with the request. Many have been rather reticent about doing this, as they prize their honorable discharge paper more highly than they do the bonus, and should it get lost in the mails they would be deprived of the real evidence that they had been in service, and were legally released from duty.

“However, by following the plan of County Clerk Papenguth, no further fear need be entertained by the men.

“The high school possesses some clever camoufleurs. This was brought to light by the exhibition in the Hanselman window on Maple street of handsome art pieces.

“Tastefully arranged in the window are beautifully painter dinner trays, fruit bowls, vases, and novelty receptacles. To the inexperienced witness, they appear like some rare and valuable collection of Chinese or Oriental pottery. Even the connoisseur will find it a little difficult to say whether or not they’re genuine, perfectly painted flowers, birds and decorations are so true.

“But the secret is—it’s a shame to divulge it—that these specimens of ‘pottery’ are old chopping bowls, empty pickle bottles, old lunch trays, tobacco cans, and it is safe to say one is a former sardine can. Under the adept hands of the students, they were cleaned and laquered, after which the designs were then painted thereon. Soft carmens, blacks, blues and other pretty tints helped in the transformation.

“Manistee was accorded a superlative musical treat last night, when Signor Alberto Salvi, heralded as ‘the world’s premier harp virtuoso,’ gave in the Congregational church a program of 11 numbers to a fine and appreciative audience.

“So completely were the listeners under the spell of the music that a whisper seemed a sacrilege. Not a word was spoken—just a young man of pleasing appearance, faultlessly evening-dressed, upon a platform with a huge gilded harp, who held his audience to almost breathless attention. In the whole program not a note was struck whose tone was not perfect in purity and expression. All who heard him have a feeling of exaltation today.

“Chief Tom Grady is authority for the statement that the time is not far off when a woman won’t be able to tell whether she’s being chased for her looks or her vote.

“Direct boat service to Chicago may yet be secured by Manistee next summer, if plans which are now well advanced come to a successful conclusion.

“Firemen this morning were presented with a box of choice cigars by Ed Secor in recognition of their work during the recent fire at his home.

“The low-heeled oxford is the spring announcement for femininity. Not because it’s more sensible. No, no, Mabel; it’s fashionable.

“Patrick Henry, once upon a time, orated very eloquently against the constitution of the United States, same as some of our present day statesmen are against the League of Nations. And yet the document that he viewed with such alarm worked pretty well.

“The U. S. consul at Paris announces that 4,000 American soldiers have married French girls. Apparently they didn’t heed what Washington said about entangling alliances, either.

“LANSING, Mich., March 24.—The cost of keeping Michigan dry has jumped the expenses of the food and drug department enormously, according to a report submitted by Commissioner Fred L. Woodworth.

“During April of last year—the last wet month in Michigan—the department spent $3,791 while for February of this year expenditures totaled $28,036.

“The total cost of maintaining the department for the eleven months reported totals of $296,732.

“Along with the food and drug department the constabulary acts almost wholly to prevent infraction of the dry law. Taking the average [cost] for the 11 months under consideration the cost of the constabulary is $318,000.

“The soldiers and sailors meeting tomorrow night at 7:30 in the Red Cross headquarters for the discussion of government insurance will be the last one for a month, on account of the lack of interest and meager attendance.

“It is planned to discontinue the discussions until the first of May, when undoubtedly, there will be a greater number of soldiers and sailors in the city. The meetings have proved of immense worth to those who have attended, as the explanations of the government policies were thorough and interesting.

“Mrs. Wente’s crocuses in radiant bloom gave cheery greetings to passers-by yesterday and added their bit to the realization that spring is here.

“A nation-wide campaign for clothes for needy Europeans was launched by the Red Cross today, and the local chapter has taken up the movement. Those who have old clothes and are willing to donate them for this altruistic cause, are requested to bring them to the Red Cross headquarters.

“Sunshiny Sunday brought out most of the automobiles in the city, and country roads roundabout were much traveled.

“PARIS, March 25.—While the peace conference is settling the ‘peace of the world,’ the following wars are under way: Hungary vs. the allies newly declared).. Russian bolsheviki vs. the allies. Poles vs. the Ukrainians. Poles vs. the Germans. Poles vs. the Czecho-Slovaks. “Ukrainians vs. the Russian bolsheviki.

“Brimful off pep and firm in the confidence that Manistee county can be figured on to do its duty, one hundred per cent, as always, in standing back of the government, the vanguard of the county’s delegates to the big Liberty Loan conference …at Chicago…returned last night and began making preparations for the drive that has to be made to raise the county’s quota for the Fifth and Victory loan.

“’Let’s finish the jog,’ is the slogan the delegates carry back with them. ‘The boys have done their job over there; we’ll finish ours here.’ This message has to be carried into every home in the county and the Manistee County Liberty Loan organization stands pledged to do it.

“What is the future for the retail markets?

“Probably no question is more frequently asked, and more diversely answered in Manistee today. Even a survey of the retail shops of the city leaves the inquirer in bewilderment. Of course, all hearts are bent upon the day of the ‘big cut’ in prices. In all probability…that day is far distant. Even within a single line of merchandising one finds a drop of three, five or ten percent on one item and an equivalent increase on another.

“In a nutshell, we will all kick and bellow about prices (retailers as well as consumers), but pay what is demanded, and take what consolation is possible in the thought that our buying is hurrying reconstruction, and in the thought that if the war hadn’t ended we would now be paying a heap more.

“The Woman’s Council for National Defense held a business session last evening over which Miss Ida Brownrigg, chairman, presided.

“The chief business was the discussion of the community council to be composed of men and women from war committees which will absorb the work of the various organized bodies and allow them to automatically go out of existence. The Woman’s Council, having two drives well under way, decided that by the latter part of May all its work could be finished, including a joyful farewell celebration party.

“Local [coal] dealers are rather skeptical of what the prices will be this year, but they believe as the miners’ wages and railroad rates are fixed, the price of coal will either be the same or a trifle higher. Dealers will urge consumers to place their orders during the summer instead of bunching the work in the fall and winter…Many consumers have found that they can use the soft coals to advantage and a larger demand for it is looked for this season on account of the high cost of the anthracite.

“Straw hats will be smaller this summer. A Manistee hatter says the smaller hat is necessary owing to the closer fitting clothing worn by men, necessitating a hat with closer lines to balance. Of course, the prices will be slightly higher, due to overhead expenses and decreased production.

“The close-fitting clothing style has been inspired by the trim and dapper appearance of the glove fitting military uniforms.

“SAGINAW, March 26.—Police Sunday night prevented a meeting called by handbills of ‘German speaking persons’ which was to have been addressed in German, authorities say, by Adolph Dreyfuss of Chicago. The action was taken because of the announced intention of 200 returned soldiers and sailors to march in uniforms to the hall and demand cancellation of the meeting.

“WASHINGTON, March 26.—the government price reduction and stabilization program is now in full swing.

“It’s too bad we can’t outlaw bull along with the booze.

“And now the Bolshevists are going to fight the Allies. They should recall what happened to the other outfit that tried it.

“You have perhaps noticed that none of the opposition to the League of Nations is coming from the boys who went through the Argonne.

“The foreign foe is quelled, but there is a domestic foe still with us, soon to be with us in formidable force, menacing our safety at our own firesides. Needless to say, we refer to ‘Musca Domestica,’ colloquially known as the common—altogether too common—housefly. Swat him, or her—especially her—early and often.

“There are six wars raging while the gentlemen at Paris attend a peace conference. If the dove ever lights they may turn her into a pigeon stew.

“Cottin, who shot Clemenceau, was tried and found guilty in a day. In this country weeks and months would probably have elapsed, with the usual testimony from sentimental persons that when he was four years old he fell out of his high chair and hurt his head.

“ST. LOUIS, Mo., March 27.—The National American Woman Suffrage association became the League of Women Voters today.

“There isn’t a closet in Manistee that can’t produce enough to keep at least one refugee in Europe alive. Yet, unless there is an immediate response, Manistee is going to fall down on this request.

“So far there has been little brought to the Red Cross headquarters. It is apparent that more interest must be manifested in order to fill Manistee’s quota by the end of the campaign, March 31. Manistee’s quota is 5,500 pounds off used clothing. The local chapter must gather this clothing, pack and ship it, and dilatory tactics here only makes the work harder.

“This is not a matter of material sacrifice. It is a question of taking a little time. It is really only a matter of getting started. Start rummaging in the closets, gathering together the shoes and clothes and bedding which will save the lives of the refugees of France and Belgium, of the Balkans and Poland and Palestine. The closets and ragbags are full of things which will be veritable treasures to the people of Europe.

“Take your donations to the Red Cross headquarters on Maple Street. It is a small request. Yet it means life to so many people.

“New Mexico reports four feet of snow, which possibly accounts for the whereabouts of our missing winter.

“After being closed for about five months, Alfred Hansen’s ice-cream manufactury will resume operations next Monday. Mr. Hansen was drafted and in order to be prepared for a call, he closed his business. The interior of his building has been sterilized thoroughly and painted white, and the many ice-cream tubs have been brilliantly colored with green paint. He said today, ‘My place is now spick and span, and ready for work Monday.’

“We don’t seem to be getting peace with or without victory.

“Some of our early robins today were contemplating frosted feet and getting ready to present their claims for wound stripes. Most of the weather bitterness was in the wind, however.”


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