Back in the Day: A Fortnight in History

Category:  Community
Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 11:46 PM
Back in the Day: A Fortnight in History by Dan Kubacki
R.C. Maxwell Company

A Fortnight in History
August 10, 1912 – Two men escaped from the Crawford County jail after digging their way out through the dirt floor in the basement where they were being held. The escape was risky enough as the jail and the courthouse were housed in the same building, and the location the prisoners made their escape was located right under the sheriff’s office. The men were found missing on Saturday morning and presumed to have escaped sometime around 2 a.m.

No disrespect to these two escapees, but I’ve seen better prison escapes before. I mean, what can compare with the escape in “The Shawshank Redemption”?

August 12, 1932 – City officials in Pittsburgh decree the reduction of the deficit of the city treasury by sacrificing pay of all city employees for one month. Pittsburgh Mayor Charles Kline even applies the same motion to himself and sacrifices his income for one month.

Erie also faces a similar budget deficit, and while ordering a pay cut to all city employees, Erie Mayor James Rossiter refuses to apply the changes to his salary, deeming it “inappropriate and unnecessary.”

Aides to Rossiter later admitted that the mayor often suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome after pinching so many pennies.

August 13, 1962 – An Erie man named David Giddings was fined $200 and sentenced to 90 days in jail after taking a friend’s car. Giddings met Donald Pennington and together they drove to a local tavern. When they arrived at the bar, Giddings declined a drink and opted to wait with the car.

While Pennington was enjoying a drink, Giddings made off with the vehicle, and it showed up three days later in Waterford with damages totaling $132.

In court Pennington maintained that he and Giddings were no longer friends.

August 14, 1982 – Three Erie area hospitals – Warren State, Hamot, and Saint Vincent – plan to form a joint residency program in psychiatry. This program is intended to boost the nationwide shortage of psychiatrists and also maximize the experience of resident psychiatrists over three hospitals.

Sounds like a good plan. I’d prefer it if all of my psychiatrists were on the same page.

August 16, 1972 – The state law that permits marriage age without parental consent is lowered from 21 to 18 years of age. At least four young couples lined up on the first day the law was in effect to procure their once unattainable marriage licenses. 

Tragically, this law took several young beautiful women off the market before they even got to college. The wedding ring is a definite deal-breaker.

August 17, 1952 – Erie resident Elizabeth Gerbracht found herself locked out of her house and called the fire department for help. Some confusion with the call led to an entire truck and crew being dispatched to her West Eighth Street home. Naturally, a large crowd of neighbors flocked to the scene to find out what was going on.
I’ll keep this story in mind the next time I lock my keys in the car. I wouldn’t want the SWAT team to show up. 

August 22, 1942 – Erie veterinarian Tracy Coulter was accidentally shot when he was knocked down by his dog near Edinboro. Coulter was probing a bush with the butt of his .22-caliber rifle when his dog suddenly jumped on him, discharging a bullet into his chest. Coulter then walked 3/4 mile to a nearby home for help.
This must have been the sequel to ‘Old Yeller.’

Information Gathered From: The Erie Daily Times and the Erie Dispatch-Herald microfilm records at the Raymond M. Blasco, M.D. Memorial Library.  

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 17
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