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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Times Gone By

Monday, July 28, 2008

100 years ago

Sam Betts is beginning to believe that the goblins will get him if he doesn't watch out. Monday morning as recounted in the Times his house was destroyed by fire. That afternoon he moved into the Dr. R. L Cleaves tenement located a few rods west of his former residence and that night lightning struck this building tearing down the chimney, tearing the plastering from the wall, a screen door torn off, and doing other damage but the family were uninjured though somewhat dazed and shocked. Sam thinks Monday's experience was a little more than he had coming to him and is wondering what's next.

Dr. Cleaves had insurance on the building and the company will fully indemnify him for his loss.

The doctor thinks the lightning is getting a little too familiar with his property as last week a valuable steer of his was found dead in the old clay pit. It is thought this was grazing near the top of the pit and was struck by lightning and rolled over the brink.

It may be as well to correct the statement that the Cherokee Chautauqua ran behind $300 this year which has gained currency. We had concluded to await the official statement to correct this but in some instances ill natured comments makes it expedient to correct the statement now and await the official statement for confirmation.

The receipts this year were several hundred dollars larger than last year. The expenses for talent was much greater, then the two ball games on the fourth cost the association $400 and no extra charges was made for these, yet there will be a nice balance on the right side of the ledger.

A large sum was used for permanent improvements and this may reduce the surplus but cannot be checked against the receipts this year. The constitution provides that any surplus can only be used in making improvements or bettering the program for the next session.

As stated above the receipts this year far exceeded those of last year, not withstanding that many farmers on account of the backward season could not attend this year and the management feel pretty good over the excellent showing this year and will give even better service next year.

The criticism has been made that Cherokee should not hold Chautauqua on the fourth but give other towns a chance to celebrate. That the Chautauqua here does not militate against the success of celebrations in neighboring towns is but evidenced by the very successful celebrations held in these towns this year. Chautauqua dates are fixed in circuits and the Cherokee dates are the last week in June and the first week in July and will probably so remain.

75 years ago

Posses hunting three fugitive members of the Barrow gang broke up this afternoon after a day and night of searching.

United States Marshal Fred Hird remained in the Sutherland territory with a few men but belief was expressed that the fugitives had made good their escape.

Sheriff A. N. Tilton, and D. E. Danielson, deputy, went to Sutherland Tuesday morning to assist other peace officers to attempting to arrest the trio thought to be hiding in that vicinity.

Officers spread out from Sutherland eastward through three counties to Luverne today on a renewed search for three members of the Barrow gang who escaped during a gun battle near Dexter, Monday.

A posse of federal, state and county officers, raided a reported hang out of the gang in a ravine near here this morning, but found no evidence of recent occupation.

Several small posses, each with machine guns, sped toward Luverne. The gang escaped into Minnesota or South Dakota.

The officials are seeking Clyde Barrow, Texas desperado, a woman companion and man known as Jack Sherman of Dallas, Texas.

In the fray yesterday Marvin Barrow was wounded and his wife taken prisoner.

Barrow, who is in a Perry hospital, was reported slightly improved today but doctors expected meningitis to develop from an old wound in his forehead. They held little hope for his recovery.

Heavily armed, the peace enforcement officers gathered here last night after reports the fugitives had been seen in a stolen automobile headed for Sutherland known to be in the vicinity of the gang's hideouts.

Shortly after 9 p.m. the officials charged the hideout in the ravine seven miles east of here but found no traces of occupation. Returning to town they received orders from Park A. Findley, chief of the bureau of investigation to remain here overnight to await further instructions.

Both Barrows are wanted for murder. Jack Sherman is suspected of being Bob Brady, Oklahoma convict, who escaped form McAlester prison, was captured in Des Moines, sentenced to the Kansas State prison and later escaped with nine others after killing a guard.

Cherokee Bowl - The Cherokee Bowl, with its 10 lanes, was located on the east side of Main St., near the Little Sioux River.
50 years ago

Cherokee starts its two-day hosting of the Chicago White sox Baseball Tryout Camp at Wescott Park diamond today--and some 60 young athletes from four states were due for morning roll call.

The Tryout Camp, one of the few in the section of Iowa this summer, is managed by Bill Kimball, Sioux City scout for the White Sox.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. today at Wescott was roll call for the aspiring baseballers.

Then morning workouts were to follow until the noon hour. Drills were to continue this afternoon lunch.


On the Tryout agenda for Saturday is another morning workout and a concluding regulation nine-inning game starting at 2:15 in the afternoon. The contest will involve personnel taking part in the camp.

The Sox Camp here is sponsored locally by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber officials and others from the city were due to be on hand this morning to greet the youths and camp leaders in charge.

Free soft drinks are being furnished personnel taking part in the Tryout Camp by the Chamber of Commerce. Also scheduled to be on hand for the greeting today was this city's own "Cherokee Charley."

Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa are all represented in the camp starting today and ending tomorrow. This is the second year the C of C here has sponsored the Tryout feature.

Thieves who perhaps looked at the warm weather forecast for this weekend broke open a freight car seal here early Friday morning and made off with six cases of beer.

The freight car was on the Illinois Central Railroad line spur behind the B & B property.

All six cases later were found in the weeds not far from the tracks. Seven cans of beer were missing, according to authorities.

Investigating the theft were Cherokee city police and the Cherokee County sheriff's office.

25 years ago

A 1959 booklet, "How to Start a Theater," gives the following advice: "To start a theater three things are needed: a group of people who want to act to help produce plays; a group of people who enjoy seeing a story performed by actors; a place where these two groups can meet comfortably for the above purposes.

"The creative group must have leadership. One determined and persuasive person can supply it. She will need two or three dedicated assistant. Or it may be a committee of two or three working together will supply the leadership. They must work together selflessly for one end--to get a rewarding performance of a lay before an audience. They will need help from many other people; but the live theater creates an excitement that attracts volunteers."

In the Cherokee Community Theater, Janet Koser is the determined and persuasive person who for the 25 years of the group's existence has supplied the leadership.

Koser, along with the late Edith Meloy, founded the theater, which is celebrating its silver anniversary with its 73rd production, "Babes In Arms," Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

And after 25 years, Koser continues to be the theater's strongest "pusher."

Why start a community theater in Cherokee?

Koser pushed and prodded for the Cherokee Community Theater because she loves theater and believed there was an interest and a need demonstrated in Cherokee.

"I love theater and making believe you're someone else," she said.

It's not an idle love. While talking with Koser, you'll meet a dozen different faces within that determined frame.

First, meet the lightning-fast mind that flits form one subject to another with the speed of light. "The absolute highlight of the theater for me has been Sir Tyrone Guthrie's visit" she said recalling the dedication of the Cherokee Community Center by the founder of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. "You meet the most fantastic people through the theater. Oh, the Guthries are delightful people," Koser said.

A rapid-fire change comes. "I've been with the Cherokee Community Theater for 25 years. I've always loved the theater," she said.

"When I was young, my grandmother read poetry tome. My special was Little Orphan Annie. My voice carries like a foghorn, so I was never bothered by getting on stage. I guess fools don't mind making fools of themselves!" With a click of her tongue and a look out the window, Koser whips into another topic.

"I read in the Register that if you wanted to start a theater, you should go to a meeting in Des Moines in December 1958." She and Meloy went. They then put a notice in the Cherokee newspaper of an open meeting for anyone interested in starting a theater, and the idea was off and running.

After six years of willing casts and audiences the fledgling theater pushed for a home of its own in Cherokee. In 1965, the theater moved into the new Cherokee Community Center, dedicated by Guthrie.

"We've only had one really nasty letter in all the time we've had the theater," says Koser, again changing the subject. "One woman wrote in that "The Man Who Came to Dinner" was definitely crude and horrible," she said with a toss of her white head. "It made me so damn mad!"

Many of the originals in the theater clan are now dead or moved on to other towns.

But between a "Gee, I talk crazy." And "I can't keep my mind on just one thing." Koser praised some of the numerous people who have made the Cherokee Theater what it is.

"Margaret Midland has done gorgeous artwork," she said. "We've had wonderful cooperation from the town from the start. Businesspeople lend furniture Bill and Melba Grawburg have done a lot. Sherry Held's been in a lot of plays." The list goes on and on.

In the theater game, Koser has connections throughout the state and country. It's her joy and excitement. "Albert King, president of the state theater association, attended "Babes In Arms" last week. It was quite an honor," she said with a laugh and hands over her head. "You meet such interesting people from all walks of life."

Now she heads back somewhere toward the main track. The community theater is loads of hard work. "We've had a beck of a time getting enough people to read plays and report on them," says Koser. "But it's fun to read plays aloud. You don't have to have a stage of an audience or anything.

"But it does take quite a few minds to read plays and discover which one is the best one for us."

Each year the Cherokee Community Theater produces a comedy, a mystery and a summer musical. Three productions place a major strain on the volume of talent available in the area. "Directors are one of the things we need. There has been interest shown by several area residents, but it takes a lot of time," Koser said.

Money is also a major concern for the theater. "All expenses have gone up. Twenty-five years ago, play books were a buck. Now they're $3.50 or $4," she said with a hand under her chin. "Royalties have gone way up. It'll cost $1,000 for Babes In Arms."

But despite any problems involved with the theater, Koser remains persistent in her devotion. "Life would be colorless without the theater and music. When I croak, I want a music or acting memorial," says the woman who lays claim to being "the only repeater in my adult ed sewing class" and whose favorite apron says "Cooking is a bitch."

"I was in all the high school plays. One of my fondest memories is when my English teacher took me into Kansas City to see a GOOD play. But when I got to the university, the theater was considered wicked or dumb."

With little or no training, where did Koser find the gumption and courage to suggest a theater in Cherokee?

"I saw a lack here and an interest," she explained. "I'd always choose live theater over canned. For one thing, the live theater doesn't have canned applause.

"A group on stage without an audience feels lost. There's a rapport between the audience and cast that you can feel when you've sitting there. It's exciting.

In the future, Koser hopes the CCT will have a "green room" for small plays that appeal to a smaller group of people. She also is hunting for more storage space.

Theater veteran Bill Grawburg said of the group's grand dame, "Without Janet, we wouldn't have the theater. She just keeps prodding, prodding, prodding people.

"There may be an awful lot of people who don't like her because of the prodding, but she's kept the theater going."

Following that thought, Koser repeated one of her favorite sayings: "If you don't want to be criticized, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."

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