LIMA — Last year, an anonymous reader dropped off a bundle of old newspapers at this office. The bundle contained Lima Republican-Gazette editions from 1918 to 1925. A look through the old news proved entertaining. Below are a few items of interest.
Remember, we’re always looking for photos or items shared from readers for these history pages. If you have an old item of note, please be in touch. Items will be returned.
• Ice gorge dynamited
A front-page story published Feb. 14, 1918, tells of a dangerous situation on the Ottawa.
“Dynamiting of a five-foot ice gorge in the Ottawa River last night saved the D.T. and I. main line bridge, the Pennsylvania bridge and several city structures when the efforts of a dozen men to break the gorge yesterday failed. The explosions startled the entire city.”
The issue came to a head when ice and snow melt raised the level of the river, and ice floating on top broke up and gathered. The city’s water supply was bolstered, but the railroad bridges were in danger of being destroyed. Such a thing had just happened to a rail bridge over the Miami in Dayton, the story reported, as ice swept away about 150 feet of bridge.
“Scores of persons watched the rise of the Ottawa River from Market Street and other bridges. It was level with the banks.”
• Germans rounded up
In that same Feb. 14, 1918, edition, a small notice updated the war effort. Three more German aliens had registered themselves at the police department, bringing the total to 20 in the city who had done so. Any unnaturalized Germans who had not registered were threatened with internment for the period of the war.
• War on drugs
A headline in the May 20, 1920, edition sums it up best: “Milady nicotine safe, says expert.” The story, a wire story out of Washington, D.C. continued: “Members of the Tobacco Merchants’ Association of the United States in convention here, were assured today by President Charles J. Eisenlohr, Philadelphia, that tobacco and liquor would not be buried in the same grave. He said there was not the slightest basis for fear that use of tobacco would be prohibited. ‘Tobacco does not excite or intoxicate but it soothes and pacifies,’ Mr. Eisenlohr said. ‘It promotes sober deliberation and normal contentment. It does not lure men from the fireside but cements family ties.’”
• Prowlers about
A special group of patrolmen were assigned to the west side, a story in the May 20, 1920, edition reported. “Thieves entered the home of H.O. Bentley, No. 307 W. North St., Monday night, it became known yesterday. Mr. and Mrs. Bentley returned from downtown in time to frighten the prowler away. Nothing was missing. On account of the frequent burglar alarms in the west end recently, a special squad of patrolmen was detailed last night to watch the district.”
An item just below that one on the page reported a graduation ceremony for nurses from the city hospital was held at the First Congregational Church — and H.O. Bentley was a featured speaker. He was at this event while the thief was eyeing his house.
• Time revolt
That same paper reported St. Marys decided to skip daylight saving time. “A motion to disregard the daylight saving ordinance in effect here for a week was adopted by the municipal council. A writ of mandamus requiring the immediate turning back of the town clock to conform to central standard time was issued by Common Pleas Judge F.C. Layton and directed to the board of education on application of John L. Sullivan, local editor.”
• ONU trivia
“Honoring Dr. H.S. Lehr, president emeritus and founder of Ohio Northern University, parents of 79 babies have named their children Lehr,” a May 20, 1920, item reported.
A Leader Store ad published May 20, 1920, detailed its graduation day items. Graduation dresses in all white or white with colored trim started at $17.95 in fancier fabrics. Special purses, bead necklaces and silk umbrellas were also advertised. Trunks, for those graduates preparing to travel, started at $9.
The April 4, 1921, paper carried many ads promoting Easter clothing such as gloves and hats. A J.C. Penney Co. ad goes to lengths to explain its new pricing policies.
“Early in January, without restraint or regard for former cost, we struck rock bottom in our first revision of prices. Our sales for January this year almost doubled our sales for January last year. This gratifying result is conclusive proof that our policy is right, our patrons appreciative, further proof that our merchandise and lower prices are most attractive. Patrons of our stores are saving thousands of dollars on their purchases of Dry Goods, Shoes, Clothing and Ready-to-Wear Apparel.”
A men’s outfit then cost $37.50, versus the $65.14 cost of six months prior. A men’s complete outfit at the time included a suit, shoes, dress shirt, hat, union suit, silk socks, hose supporters, necktie, collar, armbands, handkerchief, cufflinks, collar buttons and belt or suspenders.
An R.T. Gregg and Co. ad from April 7, 1922, promoted its corset department.
“Purchase the corset before the frocks,’ is the motto of any woman who is keenly aware of the important role her ‘lines’ play in the achievement of costume success. And here our Corset Service in charge of adept management will co-operate with you in the selection of a corset perfectly fitted to your type.”
Also spotted were ads for some businesses and products familiar today — Crawford’s shoe store, Grape Nuts cereal, even washing machines.
The Maytag Gyrafoam washer was a ringer washer advertised as being modern, and inclusive.
“For homes without electricity, the Maytag Gyrafoam is available with Gasoline Multi-Motor attachment.”
• Sports news
The sports pages carried news on May 20, 1920, of the upcoming fights at Memorial Hall later that month.
“In addition to the big bill already arranged for the American Legion’s fight carnival at Memorial Hall May 31, Adjutant Billy Gallant announced yesterday that he will stage a four-round contest between Young Billy White of Cleveland and Kid Sweeney, of Akron, both flyweights.”
The Independents baseball club were set to face the Springfield All Stars — almost. Manager Bernie Halloran had but one hole to fill for the match-up at the Murphy Street lot.
“With a fast team to face, Halloran declared that he is anxious to secure a snappy second baseman to strengthen the one weak spot on the local nine, as he believes the Independents will have to play much stronger ball than in previous games to add a third victory to their credit.”
• Want ads
Times have changed a lot since May 20, 1920. First, the classifieds were divided between seeking male help and female help. Farm horses had their own category.
“Girls, aged 16, for cash girls. Pleasing employment that offers opportunity for business training. Feldman Co.,. 221 N. Main St.”
Another: “Wanted: 20 men to shovel dirt. Inquire in rear of Elks club at 7 a.m. 50 cents per hour. W.A. Cary.”
• April Fool’s
Published in 1921:
“Today is day to watch your step: Watch your step. It’s April Fool’s Day. If you are told your best friend is in jail, don’t rush to police station. There’ll be a laugh at your dicomfiture if you do. If you see an empty purse, don’t pick it up. There may be a string to it. Somebody started the annual hoax yesterday. A bottle, tightly corked and bearing the name of a famous distiller, was placed in front of the post office. Many stopped to stare at it. A few fingered it. One hardy person pulled the cork and smelled. The bottle contained vinegar. ‘April Fool’ shouted a newsboy, as he scampered away.”
• Downtown traffic
An April 6, 1922, story detailed the struggle to deal with automobiles in the Public Square. The city and police chief solicited suggestions from the public on helping traffic flow in the square. They also announced special traffic lights and a traffic squad of four men to direct traffic. There would be two types of traffic lights that sound nothing like what is used today. Also, the city was considering banning red cars because the traffic squad could mistake them for fire trucks.