The Times A-Changin? York County and America also recovering from recession 100 years ago

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These were the men at the top of things in the first decade of the 20th century. Other posts with Gordon Freireich’s columns: Washington Township, Jefferson Borough, Madison Avenue. How about an Obama Street in York County? and Vermont windmill: ‘That turbine was built at the S. Morgan Smith company, right here in York’ and York’s Reservoir Hill: ‘My ‘reward’ was to sit in the gazebo at the top of the hill’.

York Sunday News columnist Gordon Freireich provided an interesting glimpse of York County in 1909.
He tied this 100-year retrospective to what would have been his father’s 100th birthday.
He found information via York Gazette microfilm at the York County Heritage Trust. Each Jan. 1, the newspaper recapped events from the previous year.
He found an article appropriate for today: York – and the nation – was still recovering from the recession of 1907:

“It was a year of scant rain, and there was considerable suffering on that account. Big manufacturing plants were forced to close for want of power when the streams became low or went dry. Hundreds of farmers and others in various parts of York county had to haul water for miles for their stock and for home consumption. Yet there were abundant crops, and fruit and vegetables seldom were more plentiful and seldom of better quality.
“Prosperity began to resume her sway and most people were working, and as the year closed, Yorkers seemed to be on a fair way toward the prosperity and happiness of the days before the 1907 panic.”

Here are some particular events he uncovered:

Jan. 1, 1909, the First Mummers’ parade was held in York to celebrate the new year.
Feb. 9, a “Trolley car on Hanover line crashed into a team at Graybill’s crossing” and killed two people.
Feb. 14, “MayorJacob E. Weaver issued an appeal to the people to support the sewer loan bill.”
Feb. 16, “The sewer loan was lost at the election; the Democrats gained control of city councils and lost the city assessor.”
Feb. 23, “Nevin Hench was re-elected president of the York School board.”
Feb. 17, “The Gazette’s new press began running and the ‘New Gazette’ was under way.”
March 4, “The worst snow storm in many years swept the country and paralyzed business, spoiling President Taft’s inauguration.”
March 7, “William Jennings Bryan visited York and was given a remarkable ovation when he spoke at the High School auditorium and First Presbyterian church.” (The then high school would 20 years later become Hannah Penn Junior High.)
March 9, “Chairman J. H. Bennett of the city sanitary committee, declared that 6 cases of typhoid fever were caused by bathing in the Codorus Creek.”
May 2, “The police department began a crusade on cocaine dealers.” (Yep, 100 years ago!)
May 13, Two men were seriously injured “when walls fell on site of new Federal building, George and Princess streets” (the downtown Post Office building).
June 1, “Barnum and Bailey show exhibited in York.”
June 9, “Wheat reached $1.50 per bushel.”
July 3, “Mayor Weaver, of York, arrested and placed in a patrol wagon while attending a banquet at Harrisburg by Mayor Meals.”
Aug. 3, “Fire wipes out theatre building at Highland park; loss $12,000.”
Aug. 8, “Hottest summer weather yesterday; thermometers proclaimed it, people declared it, nature admitted it. Thermometer, 96 to 102 in the shade.”
Aug. 20, “Incendiaries fire Y.A.C. boat house at Y.M.C.A. ground, Richland avenue and Codorus creek.”
Aug. 26, “A.B. Farquhar addresses Alaska-Yukon Exposition on ‘Conservation.’”
Aug. 30, Street paving contracts are awarded.
Sept. 3, Apparently Mayor Weaver survived his embarrassment in Harrisburg. On this date he was elected president of the Pennsylvania League of third class cities.
Oct. 4, “The York County fair opened.”
Oct. 7, “75,000 people attended the York County fair.”
Oct. 15, “York Merchants’ association changed its name to that of the York Chamber of Commerce and reorganized, widening the scope of usefulness.”
Oct. 17, “7,331 voters registered in York for election.”
Nov. 2, “The Democrats elected their entire county ticket by large pluralities.”
Nov. 5, “Lewis Simmel signed his contract as manager of the Tri-State Baseball association.”
Nov. 10, “A social event of the fall — the marriage of Miss Susan S. Myers and Frank A. Eyster.”
Nov. 11, “The city school board decided to complete the Ridge avenue school building.”
Nov. 19, “Republican councilmen kill health board bill. Councils discuss municipal light plant.”
Nov. 26, “Mayor Jacob Weaver established a new traffic ruling for in the square.”
Nov. 29, “The York Ministerial association appealed to the city authorities to suppress gambling.”
Dec. 12, an apparent newsworthy event, “A baby with four well-formed teeth was born to Mr. and Mrs. Comroe Strock.”
Dec. 21, “Turkeys reached 25 cents a pound, live weight, in York.”
Dec. 31, “Mayor Jacob E. Weaver’s order forbidding use of blank cartridges and dangerous fireworks in celebrations and salutes went into effect.”

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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