Times Gone By

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Piety Hill - This 1894 photo show the circus heading up Piety Hill on West Main St. The hill got it unusual nickname because of all of the church that at one time resided upon the hill. You had the Presbyterian Church, Catholic Church, Methodist Church and Swedish Church all on West Main St.

100 years ago

When L. Hortman started the fire this morning he picked up a pitcher which they usually kept kerosene in and poured it on the kindling in the range. But it was not kerosene it was gasoline which Mrs. Hortman had been using for cleaning purposes and when the match lit the gasoline an explosion followed.

Mr. Hortman being right over the stove got the force of the explosion in his face, principally in his eyes and it is thought they are quite badly burned. The eye balls are scorched but just how badly is not known. His face was somewhat burned but not seriously it is thought. Mr. and Mrs. Hortman had chartered a car and expected to leave in the morning but this accident will delay their departure indefinitely.

Caswell Brothers have built a machine that bids fair to revolutionize the hay baling business. They have constructed and have in their factory a machine that will likely be to the hay baler what the self binder has been to the harvester.

Their machine takes the baling wire from a spool, threads it through the baling chamber, the needle passing through the end of the plunger, passes the wire around the bale and ties and cuts the wire in a similar way a self binder does the twine around a bundle.

The knot used by the machine is the same as has always been tied by hand in baling presses. The wires are looped together and the ends twisted back. This knot is just as strong as the wire itself. The machine is very simple and inexpensive to make, takes almost no power to drive it and is positive in its operation.

Manufacturers of hay presses have been spending no small amount of time and money endeavoring to get such a device not only because it would cut the labor of from one to three men in operating each baler but because it would greatly increase the capacity of their balers.

Decoration Day - Residents of Cherokee gathered on the north side of West Main St. to celebrate Decoration Day in 1918. Also pictured in this photograph is a wonderful view of the Empress Theater.

Wallace and Henry Caswell expect to go to Washington D. C. next Wednesday with a working model of that machine and will perfect their patent there while away. The boys have been working on their idea for the last four years whenever they had spare time. Last winter they spent nearly their entire time in perfecting the machine and at the present time have brought it to such a state of perfection that they feel confident they have a machine that will be of great value to haybalers in general and themselves in particular.

75 years ago

Condemning waste in government operation and citing figures to show the condition of Iowa farms, Ed Dunn, Mason City, one time democratic candidate for governor addressed more than a thousand persons who attended the annual Maryhill picnic Tuesday. Dunn's address, however, was permeated with a note of optimism and in closing he urged that citizens apply the principles of Christianity to their business to the mutual benefit of all.

More than 700 persons were served by the committee in charge of the food stand, it was reported late Tuesday evening. Many hundred more came later in the evening to hear the program and to be entertained by the numerous concessions that dotted the church grounds.

Sports Program

A sports program was held in the afternoon and dinner was served, starting at 5:30 o'clock. Following the dinner hour, Elwyn Thomas with his Amherst orchestra gave a half hour program. This was followed by Dunn's address. A novelty orchestra and a side show furnished entertainment following the address.

P.P. Kohn was master of ceremonies, introducing each event from the stage constructed especially for the picnic. An amplifying system was used to make the speaker's voice heard in all parts of the grounds.

"We must get away from the idea that this economic condition is short lived, because it is not. It is fundamental and was not brought on by a land boom ten years ago," Dunn declared.

"It is history repeating itself. Men and women who till the soil always have been slaves on the land on which they were born."

Dunn traced the history of the settlement of Iowa. "Under the homestead laws, the little, individual American home came into being, ranging from 160 to 260 acres in size. It was a new experiment then." Dunn said, "but now, the question that is squarely before the farmer is whether or not he will have that farm home 25 years from now."

"In early days," the speaker declared, "settlers could obtain 33,000,000 acres of the richest land in the world at $1.25 per acre. Tonight that same land is mortgaged for four and a half billion dollars, or an average of $105 on every acre of land in the Hawkeye state."

The speaker described the growth of bureaus in the government.

Dunn said that at the present time there were 176 boards and bureaus in Washington that were not there in 1913. The bill the president signed recently for expenses carries an appropriation of $516,000,000 for these 176 bureaus.

Total cost of government, Dunn said, has increased from less than three billion in 1913 to fourteen billion in 1931.

Dunn told of the expansion that has been made in the Department of Commerce at Washington. "Twelve years ago they had only four rooms and less than 70 employees. Now they occupy a $17,000,000 building, having 52 acres of floor space and the employees run into the thousands.

The speaker concluded with the statement that the key to that marble palace could be turned tomorrow and farmers in Iowa would never know the difference.

The numerous useless commissions authorized by the government were criticized and mention was made of extravagance in upkeep of the Charlestown navy yard, where Dunn said, "a ship had not entered since April, 1916."

In a kittenball game between a Cherokee pickup team and the teams from Cleghorn, Cherokee won 1-0 in 15 innings. Kracke and Woltman were the Cleghorn battery and Schwenn and Greg for Cherokee.

In the fifteenth inning Baumgardner tripled and scored when Adamson singled down the first base line.

50 years ago

Judging of clothing entries by 14 Cherokee County 4-H Girls has been completed at the Iowa State Fair, according to information received Monday by the Extension officer here.

Nine of the 14 entrants received blue ribbons and the remaining five were awarded red ribbons.

The clothing exhibits are to remain on display in the 4-H department of the Educational Building through September 1.

Following are the ratings on exhibits from this county: Cotton skirt, Alice Carlson, blue ribbon; Corduroy skirt, Kathy Cosgrove, red ribbon; cotton blouse without set in sleeves and collar, Jennifer Ellsworth, blue.

Cotton blouse with collar, Diane Vine, blue ribbon; pajamas, Sybil Tigges, blue; house coats, Phyllis Smith, blue; jumper, Wanda Nothwehr, red; slacks, Sybil Tigges, blue; shorts, Mary Ann Miller, red.

School dress, Wanda Smith and Sybil Tigges, blue ribbons; dress for best wear, Kathy Cosgrove, red; 4-H uniform, Janet Albert, red; party dress, Ann Simonsen, blue.

Marcus Fair officials are hopeful of a large crowd at Monday's Fair opening.

This year's 21st annual classic is again under the guidance of the Rev. C. W. Samuelson, manager of the Fair for many years. The Fair will run three days through Wednesday.

Samuelson reports that more exhibits than usual will be entered in the women's division of the Fair.

One reason for the large number of exhibits is that anyone who brigs in an entry Monday will receive a free ticket for Monday's activities.

Entries in all departments will be made on Monday from 1 to 9 p.m. Divisions include: Corn grains and forage crops, vegetable and fruits, canned goods, baked goods, flowers, fancy work, sewing, antiques.

An organ concert will be given at 1 p.m. Monday followed by an entertainment program and 4-H demonstrations.

Monday evening activities include a 7:30 p.m. organ concert youth parade at 7:45 and entertainment by Gordon Smith Attractions at 8:45.

Highlighted during Tuesday's program will be the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of Marcus.

A parade featuring old cars, machinery, wagons and horses occurs at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.

In the evening, a pageant presenting the "Town of Marcus" will be enacted by 75 to 100 residents of the Marcus area.

Marcus gentlemen have been cultivating their beards for the Diamond Anniversary Jubilee.

Kangaroo Court sessions a week ago and one scheduled for Saturday evening fine unfortunate unbearded men by requiring them to purchase a derby hat. Seated in the jury box are Marcus women in old time dresses.

25 years ago

About 200 persons gathered Monday at Martin's Access near Larrabee for the public dedication of the John M. Gilchrist Memorial Arboretum.

Gilchrist, who died in 1981, served on the Cherokee County Conservation Board from 1960-65 and was well-known in the area as a conservationist and outdoorman.

The arboretum, which includes about 200 trees including two redwood species, was conceived and funded by Harry A. Merlo of Portland, Ore., a longtime friend of Gilchrist and his wife, Ruby.

In an interview prior to the dedication ceremony, Merlo, who is chairman and president of Louisiana-Pacific Corp., said he first met the Gilchrist couple when he moved to Cherokee after World War II to start a leather business.

"I ran into John and Ruby because I liked fishing. When I first came here I wondered how I was going to fish in these streams because they are unlike the streams I had in northern California. So I met John and Ruby and we did a lot of fishing and competitive casting together."

Merlo only lived in Cherokee for one year. "I couldn't get the volume to develop an organization. So I ultimately said goodbye to Cherokee and took my business home to California and set it up in the basement of my house while I went to college."

Merlo may have left Cherokee, but he didn't forget his friends John and Ruby Gilchrist. "They have always been a very important part of my life," he said. "I learned an awful lot from John. He taught me how to be a sportsman in these areas because these areas were unfamiliar to me…I learned how to appreciate them and how to fish them because of John Gilchrist. And I learned the sportsmanship that John always exemplified. He shared with the farmer what he caught, whether it was pheasant or whether it was fish. He was always respectful of the farmers' property."

In many ways the arboretum symbolized the special relationship that existed between Gilchrist the conservationist and Merlo the president of one of the nation's largest forest products firm. "I knew John was very conservation-oriented and I knew he was involved with the park service," Merlo said. "And I thought it would be appropriate to do something in his honor and have his friends in the community come and see an arboretum."

After a catered lunch paid for by Merlo, those attending for the first time witnessed the unveiling of a memorial plaque on a large rock located near the tree plantings.

Prior to the unveiling, Cherokee County Conservation Board Executive Officer Ron Dudley officially welcomed the group saying, "We're here to pay our respects to a fine man. A man whose love of the outdoors and his stewardship of the outdoors is reflected in this park and our other parks in the county and in the attitude of the people toward the land here."

Merlo also spoke to the group, saying, "Certain people in your life touch you very much. John Gilchrist was one of those people. He was dedicated to conservation, not the preservation that you hear so much about. John Gilchrist was not one to want to lock everything up.

"We wanted to create an atmosphere and environment where man and animals could all co-habitate. John Gilchrist touched me very deeply. And when he passed, I thought it would be appropriate to create something living, for surely he was something living. He was creating an atmosphere where everything could live more happily together…

"We're honoring a man who cared so much to create the beautiful environment between man and the outdoors. These trees will grow strong and tall just like John Gilchrist was strong and tall. These trees will grow beautiful. They'll grow beautiful just like John Gilchrist was beautiful in the natural environment that he loved so much."

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