A Fortnight in History
Ever wonder what the headlines read back in the day? Dan Kubacki gives you the scoop.
1909 – An illegal cock-fighting convention on the East Side is broken up by Humane Society Capt. John Sullivan after the officer infiltrated the event and prevented the fights from occurring. Warnings were given to those who appeared, and Sullivan also issued a warning to the owner of the property and promised arrest if such an event was held again.
1883 – After flood waters severely damaged his home, Joseph Tanner files a suit against the city of Erie for not compensating his losses. Tanner withdrew his suit after learning the city was already a million dollars in debt and he did not feel comfortable adding to the city's financial woes.
2009 – Cathedral Preparatory School and Villa Maria Academy join forces to become the Erie Catholic Preparatory School. Each school will keep its own name but partner in enrollment and operate on similar schedules.
Prep previously followed an eight-period day and Villa a block model. The new schedule will be a hybrid of both. Although they will be following the same curriculum, male and female students will still learn separately.
1932 – A man posing as a dry cleaner made off with three suits from patrons at the Arcade Hotel on Peach Street. The stolen suits are valued at $100, but it was not discovered the man faked his identity until he was long gone. It would probably be a bad time to remind the patron victims that hindsight is 20/20 – and apparently better dressed, too.
1977 – Two Canadian youths set out to row a 14-foot skiff across Lake Erie after casting out from the East Avenue boat ramp around 9 pm. The pair chose to cast off in the evening towards their Long Point, Canada destination because of the preferential calm waters on the lake. A week previously the two Canadians tried to row from Canada to Erie but had to turn around because of rough weather on the water.
1952 – Amid the celebrations of the national holiday, City Health Director Dr. Felix Shubert warns Erie residents to be cautious of the dangers of polio while picnicking. According to Shubert, "Unprotected picnic food, wading in streams, crowds, and unusual exertion go hand-in-hand with picnics and with polio." I confess that even though I have been properly vaccinated against polio, I've never once gone on a picnic – it must be a lost recreation.
1964 – A pair of Cleveland nurses had their first visit to Presque Isle interrupted when they were the subject to a two-hour search. In the days leading up to their trip, both women had attended to a patient thought to have contracted spinal meningitis. After police finally discovered the pair at Beach 6, the nurses were given the precautionary medication and sent on their way. However, most of the day was already lost and one nurse said her first visit to the peninsula would be one she would "never forget."
1883 – The Erie City Water Commission decides to install between 40 and 50 fire hydrants in the city. The plan is to have one at every intersection in the dense parts of the city and the rest at "convenient" places in less-dense areas.
1961 – An Erie woman had the sum of $6 stolen from her purse while she dozed in her parked car at Fourth and Peach streets. Oleta Greenliff awoke in time to see the thief slowly and delicately replacing her purse. The man then fled the scene towards Perry Square. I'm not sure which is more stupid: the thief stealing $6, or the fact that he tried to replace the purse like a master jewel thief.
1920 – Officials of the Board of Commerce investigate the cause of five beached ships in the Erie Harbor channel within the last week.Park Director W. D. Kinney calls for the channel to be cleared as soon as possible through the use of the channel's dredging facilities, so that ships are not diverted from docking in Erie. Kinney also said investigators believed inexperience on the part of ship captains played no role in the accidents. Right. So that sandbar just jumped right in front of the ship?
1989 – Workers at the Please Touch Museum in downtown Philadelphia discovered that the iconic costume worn by Adam West in the '60s TV show "Batman" had been stolen. Police received an anonymous tip about a man who had been bragging about his newly acquired party costume, and the thief was soon arrested. It turns out that although some criminals don't have a conscience, their oversized pride lands them behind bars anyhow.
1977 – A load of policy changes are announced within the Erie Police Department, intended to streamline efficiency and hold specialized units more accountable. Some of the changes include: the narcotics division will be moved under the detective division; police officers can no longer carry large sums of money or act as escorts in the transfer of a business's money; and police officers will have to leave their vehicles at work, including deputy police chiefs and motorcycle officers.
1948 – The Kistler Radar Sandwich Operator is introduced to Erie and machines are placed throughout the city. Sandwiches wrapped in cellophane are dropped into the machine and within two and a half minutes are heated to crisp deliciousness. The idea for the invention came from the Air Corps division of the U.S. Army during WWII, when the army wanted to get sandwiches to fliers that could be heated up easily while in flight. A precursor to the in-flight meal on commercial jets, perhaps? Oh wait, now all I get is a bag of peanuts I have to shell out an extra buck for.
2001 – Hamot Medical Center unveils its plans to build a two-story addition to its emergency department, increasing the size of its trauma center with four new operating rooms and about 17 trauma bays. Construction will be planned around the emergency department so the ER will still be fully operational during construction. Not to mention that should something happen to a construction worker on the job, he or she is already in the ER.
Information Gathered From: The Erie Times-News, The Erie Dispatch-Herald, The Erie Morning Dispatch and the Erie Daily Times. All newspapers were accessed through microfilm slides at the Raymond M. Blasco, M.D. Memorial Library.