Excerpts from 1913 Vancouver Columbian

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



Related story

Vancouver's 1913 news echoes today's

Wednesday, Dec. 24. 1913:

• Mail to be delivered tomorrow: "Regular city and rural deliveries will be made by mail carriers tomorrow, according to an announcement made this morning by Postmaster Dan Crowley. The general delivery, parcel post and registry windows will be open from 10:30 to 12:30 tomorrow morning. Money order and postal savings windows will remain closed all day."

• Deaf children to have tree this evening at school: "Ninety-two deaf children will enjoy the Christmas tree at the State School for the Deaf this evening at 7:30 o'clock and will welcome St. Nicholas with all the ecstasy of children possessing all of their faculties. Gifts for the children which have been arriving since the 15th of December have been held by the school authorities for the big tree and each child will receive all its Christmas gifts at that time. Should there be any child without a box from home the school authorities will see to it that he is remembered as much as any child there. Candy and oranges and nuts will be distributed to all the youngsters by Santa Claus."

• Good season of business is closed: "A successful business season from the standpoint of Vancouver merchants will close at 9 o'clock this evening. While business in most cases has not been as good as that of last year, local merchants have been rushed and on the whole assert that they have nothing of which to complain. Candy is evidently being given in greater quantities than ever before for Christmas presents, as the sale of candy in the city has been unprecedented, according to local dealers. Most of the shops have had extra help employed for the past two weeks, and even then every clerk was kept busy. 'I notice this year that more people shopped early,' observed one merchant. 'perhaps that is the reason why the final Christmas week has seemed less rushed than usual. More people purchased earlier in the season, and did not leave their buying until the last moment as is so frequently the case.'"

• Buried under mass of lumber, unhurt: "Ben Heston of Heisson has reason to believe that he was born under a lucky star, or that like the proverbial cat he has not yet come to his ninth life, for he escaped unscathed when a high pile of heavy lumber tumbled over on him in the yards of the Ryan & Allen mill at Heisson last week. Heston was working in the yard beside the pile when it fell and was buried beneath the timbers. He fainted before he could be extricated from the pile, but was found to have no scratch and returned to work after a few moments."

• Colored people find they are not married: "To be married and yet not married is the predicament which Geo Lander and Laurette Adams, colored people of Portland, have found themselves in by their evident desire to evade Oregon law. The two came to Vancouver and secured a marriage license, but instead of having the ceremony performed here, returned to Portland where they were married by Rev. J. Logal Craw of the African Methodist church. The law provides that a marriage to be legal must be performed in the same state in which the license is issued. Mr. and Mrs. Lander have been informed by the county clerk that they will have to return to Vancouver and be remarried."

• Butter and eggs cheaper this year: "Poultry for the Christmas dinner will cost the Vancouver consumer this year about the same as he last year paid for it. Turkeys are bringing 30 cents a pound, geese 25 cents a pound, chickens and ducks 20 cents. A prime rib roast of beef is bringing 22 cents for a pound, while pork roasts range in price from 16 to 20 cents. Steaks will command anywhere from 18 to 25 cents a pound. Cranberries for the Christmas dinner are selling at 15 cents a pound, the same price as last year. Butter and eggs are both down, best creamery butter bringing 80 cents a roll, rather than 90 cents, and eggs 45 cents rather than 50 cents, the price which the housewife paid for them last year."

Thursday, Dec. 25. 1913:

• The Daily Columbian wishes you a Merry Christmas: "On the eve of the dawning of the glad Christmas day, The Columbian sends greetings to its many readers, coupled with the sincere wish that the New Year, now just without our gates, may bear to each of you the inestimable blessings of health, happiness, prosperity and domestic peace. To you who till the soil for its fruitage, may you reap bountiful harvests to reward your industry. To you who devote your energies to the busy channels of trade, and to you in the honored professions, may success crown your efforts to the fullness of your desires. To the artisans and laborers who toil with muscle might, in shop or in the open, may your reward be so bountiful that no word of complaint may ever fall from your lips. To one and all, in every field of enterprise and labor that contributes to the advancement of prosperity in our city and county, and to the women whose love, encouragement and wise counsel are incentives to yet greater achievements in the battle of life on the part of their protectors, The Columbian wishes a Merry Christmas and a Glad New Year."

• White plague claims one more victim: "Elizabeth McGown, age 36 years, died at the family home at 2105 East B street, early last evening. Mrs. McGown had been a patient sufferer of tuberculosis for the past four years. She was born at Fort Douglas, Utah. She came to Vancouver with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sullivan, about 30 years ago and was married to Samuel McGown about 18 years ago. Mrs. McGown is survived by a husband and three children, Samuel, age 15, Joseph, 11, and Katherine, 8; two brothers, D.C. Sullivan of Tacoma and Frank Sullivan of San Francisco, and two sisters, Mrs. H.E. Aldrich and Mrs. Mary A. Hamilton of Portland. The body is being held at the family home. Funeral arrangements will be announced later."

• Prisoners to have turkey dinner today: "The twelve prisoners in the county jail will be treated to a big turkey dinner by Mrs. Ira Cresap, wife of the sheriff, today in honor of Christmas. Mrs. Cresap has prepared a splendid Christmas dinner with turkey and all the 'fixins' for the men who must unhappily spend their Christmas in jail and will do all in her power to make it a happy one for them."

• Many get licenses to wed here: "Cupid did a rushing business in Clarke County yesterday with the result that Santa Claus brought gifts of wedding rings to fifteen happy brides. The auditor and his deputies were kept busy issuing licenses all day on the 24th, and a last sixteenth couple was turned away just before the office closed because they had failed to provide themselves with a witness."

Friday, Dec. 26, 1913:

• Paulhamus will talk to farmers: "W. H. Paulhamus of Puyallup, known throughout the West as a successful fruit grower and a pioneer in the cooperative cannery movement, is scheduled to talk to the farmers of Clarke County on the afternoon of the big market and cannery rally day to be held by the farmers on January 6th in this city. Mr. Paulhamus will talk on the question of caring for the fruit crop of the county in best manner possible both from the standpoint of canning and marketing."

• State and city to fight typhoid: "Olympia, Wash. -- That conditions in Centralia relative to the typhoid epidemic are improving and that the height of the trouble is reached and passed are the opinions of Governor Ernest Linter, who spent Tuesday there conferring with the authorities in regard to the matter. There are approximately 250 cases stated the governor upon his return, of which nine have died. All the regular hospitals are filled to their capacities, with a special hospital prepared in the armory of the National Guard and caring for 35 patients."

• Sleepers are given breakfast by the city: "Sixteen 'sleepers' were given a good breakfast by the city officials yesterday morning, in honor of the day, before they were told to go on. About the usual number had been picked up in the railroad yard and about the streets after hours and had been taken to the police stations for the night. Instead of making them move on as soon as they awoke in the morning, however, they were asked to the restaurant and given a 'square' as a slight reminder that all Vancouver was filled with the joy of giving and spirit of the day."

• Christmas giving more practical: "Dolls, doll house outfits, furs and bracelets for sister, engines, gocycles and trains for brother, chafing dishes, casseroles, percolators and silverware for mother, cigars, gloves, handkerchiefs, ties and smoking jackets for father -- there was scarcely a home in Vancouver which did not receive a consignment of these gifts from his majesty of the north. No family was there in the city which did not in some way celebrate Christmas yesterday. Trees and stockings at home, with a big dinner there or at the home of some relative or close friend were the order of the day, and Friday morning found everyone with the morning after a holiday sleepiness and dullness of spirit. ... Electric gifts are gaining in popularity every year while local merchants report the sale of an astonishing number of carving sets, chafing dishes and dinner service appointments. Gloves and handkerchiefs received their usual attention from Santa. Probably more candy than ever before was given to the girls of the city at this holiday season and confectionery merchants and the candy factory have been rushed to the limits since Christmas season began."

Saturday, Dec. 27, 1913:

• Selection of engineer postponed until Monday: "The selection of an engineer for the interstate bridge to be constructed at this city as part of the great Pacific Highway has been again postponed until Monday at 10 o'clock at Portland. The meeting was to have been held today at 11, but Governor West notified the commission that he would not be able to attend the meeting Saturday and asked that it be postponed until Monday. … The engineer who is to be chosen Monday, if the meeting is not again postponed, will have complete charge of the plans and construction of the new bridge and its approaches, which will total $1,750,000, bonds for which have been voted by Multnomah and Clarke counties."

• Cow is given to governor: "Olympia, Wash. -- Governor Lister's biggest Christmas present, a thoroughbred Jersey cow with a pedigree almost as long as herself and a record for butterfat production, arrived at the executive mansion last night. The cow was the gift of State Senator Troy, of Chimacum. John, the governor's chubby son, will learn to milk next week. Agricultural Commissioner Perkins, himself a breeder of thoroughbred dairy cattle, has promised to give the boy lessons."

• Twenty two is total of licenses Christmas Eve: "After the auditor's office had closed on Christmas Eve the couples who would secure licenses to marry on Christmas day continued to come, until the total number issued on Christmas Eve had swelled to twenty two. Yesterday there were but four permits of cupid issued."

• Great army of unemployed is fed by railroad co.: "Eighteen hundred twenty-nine unemployed men were fed by the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co. on board the steamer Hassalo Christmas day. Dinner was served to the hungry men from 9:30 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, and none was turned away without his hunger being satisfied. A ton of meat, more than a pound for each man, was used, 1 1/2 tons of potatoes, 1000 pounds of cabbage, 200 gallons of beans, 70 gallons of milk, 30 gallons of cream, 1000 loaves of bread and other vegetables in proportion with plum pudding, pie and all the coffee every man wanted. It required 30 waiters, 10 cooks and 15 dishwashers to care for the crowd of men who were there."

Sunday, Dec. 28, 1913:

• No paper

Monday, Dec. 29, 1913:

• Historic old building goes up in flames: "The historic old auditorium at Third and Washington streets, one of the finest buildings in the city at the time of its erection, scene of public gatherings for many years and lately degenerated into a condemned old structure which has been the habitation of rats and tramps and has sheltered countless frogs in the stagnant water under the floor, burned to the ground this morning from a fire, the source of which is unknown. Down town Vancouver was stirred by the fire alarm at 9:25 this morning. Before the nearest people could get to the place the old building was enveloped in smoke, and the fire was shooting out of the broken windows. A blown out fuse in the new fire tractor caused some delay in getting to the fire, but within 15 minutes after the alarm had been turned in four streams were playing on the walls and surrounding buildings, even the old steamer having been called into service. … The fire is believed to have originated from tramps who have infested the building since winter began. The owner has been warned repeatedly by police to lock it up, but since it was bringing him no income, he said that he did not care to go to any more expense. … The auditorium constructed in 1896 with O.M. Hidden as architect and superintendant of construction."

• Bridge engineers selected today: "Waddell & Harrington have been selected as the engineers and will possibly be the constructors of the new interstate Pacific Highway bridge across the Columbia at this point. The decision was made this morning in Portland at a meeting of the joint commission and the two counties. As to the draw to be used the matter was left open. The engineers are to submit plans for three types of draw, the bascule, the lift and the swing. Which one of these to be used will be decided later by the commission. Waddell & Harrington are engineers and bridge builders of national and international fame. They constructed the Hawthorne and O.W.E. & N. bridges in Portland and the big bridge across the Fraser river at Westminster, B.C."

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 1913:

• Fair is given a new name: "The Columbia River Interstate Fair was the new name chosen for the Clarke County Fair by the directors of the fair association at a meeting yesterday following a deliberation of several weeks on the matter. The corporation will continue to be known as the Clarke County Fair Association. … It is believed by the directors that the new name will be more significant of what the fair is really to stand for in the future. From now on, the policy of the fair as outlined at yesterday's meeting will be to accept exhibits from any place in the country, and many are expected to come from Multnomah county and other northwestern points."

• Tornow reward is held up: "Aberdeen, Wash. -- The matter of the county paying Giles Quimby a reward for killing John Tornow the outlaw will have to be fought over in court. Judge Stocks made a decision this morning on the demurrer presented by Attorney Campbell to the complaint filed by W.H. Abel. Quimby was a deputy sheriff in the search for Tornow and was receiving pay at $4 a day. After the shooting of Tornow it was expected that he would receive the $1,000 reward offered by the state and the $3,000 offered by the county. Soon thereafter the attorney general decided the state's money could not be paid under the circumstances because Quimby was a deputy sheriff. Quimby put in a claim for $3,000. The commissioners allowed the bill, but the warrant was not paid before attorney W. H. Abel nbrought an action to prevent its payment. He was overruled on the first complaint and then brought the second. The ruling of the demurrer in effect says that Mr. Abel has a cause for action and the matter will now be fought out on merits."

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 1913:

• Many marriages in the past three days: "Twenty-seven marriage licences have been issued in the past three days at the court house, quite sustaining the holiday record which has been made this past week. Twenty-three licenses were issued on the day before Christmas, more than were given out from the Multnomah county court house, and altogether the week has been one of unprecedented prosperity in cupid's business."

• Students seek holiday Friday: "Every student in the Vancouver high school signed the petition circulated yesterday asking for a holiday on the Friday following New Year's. Everyone signed it at least once and many signed it more than once, judging from the fact that something over seven hundred names were attached to the slip while there are between three and four hundred students in the high school. The petition was taken to the board of directors of the city schools, who left the matter in the hands of the students. The students were notified this morning that they would be allowed to go Friday if they desired to make up the lost day of school on some Saturday, and action will be taken by the students before school closes this afternoon."

• Boy may have met death in fire: "That Tom Crane, a Portland boy of about 13 years of age, was burned to death in the fire which destroyed the old auditorium Monday morning is the fear expressed by local people today, since his failure to show up when it is known that he was to have slept in the old shack. Crane left a ticket with friends living in the lower part of town and said that he would call for it the next morning. He was to have stayed for the night with these friends but they had no room and he said that he would sleep in the auditorium. In the excitement the next morning he was forgotten, but since he has not called for his ticket, and it was known that he had no money, it is feared that he was destroyed in the fire."

Thursday, Jan. 1, 1914

• New Year dawns promises of greatest prosperity for city: "Despite the cry of quiet times, and close times, a general resume of Vancouver business made last night just before the old year passed into history showed that this past year has not been one of business depression in Vancouver, and gave much of hope for an unprecedented year of prosperity in 1914. Many factors have contributed to what might have been a bad financial year this past year, but in spite of the fact the average business man in Vancouver is able to show business figures which stack up well in comparison with those of former years. The uncertainty over the tariff and currency bills, the local uncertainty until the bridge became assured and the general feeling abroad that hard times were at hand, all might have been contributing factors to bad years. In spite of this Vancouver has been prosperous. Her merchants have had good sales, her people have lived well, dressed well and enjoyed life in every way possible. The outlook for 1914 is the best that could be desired. A great interstate bridge which will rank among the greatest in the world is to be constructed across the Columbia River, connecting Vancouver and Portland. Large numbers of workmen who will be employed on the construction of the great bridge will make their homes in Vancouver, while preparatory to the opening of the bridge and provision of an easy means of communication between this city and the Oregon metropolis, hundreds of Portland people will come to this city to make their home."

• Receipts $196,000 for year: "The city's total receipts for the past year as estimated last evening by City Clerk Hanson amount to $196,993.71, also one hundred thousand dollars less than the receipts for last year when the figure reached $280,000. Fewer miles of improved streets account for the decrease in city receipts this past year. This year Thirteenth street has been paved from Main to Lincoln at a cost of almost $29,000. Thirty-ninth street has been graded and graveled. Thirtieth and Thirty second streets improved. Rowley's Tenth addition streets graded and graveled and sidewalked, and Columbia opened from Twelfth to Thirteenth streets among other city improvements. A new fire tractor was purchased by the city fire department in the way of providing additional protection and the city offices have been moved from the old city hall on Washington street to new quarters in the United States Bank Building."

• Cooking in camp held not to be dangerous work: "Olympia, Wash. -- that a woman cook in a shingle mill camp or logging camp is not engaged in the hazardous occupation and that when she sustains a broken arm by a fall from an auto while in town ordering meat for the camp use is not entitled to recover under the provisions of the industrial insurance commission law, is the ruling of the Pacific County superior court. John W. Wilson, assistant attorney general, tried the case for the state and his theory of the law has been sustained, the commission being upheld in rejecting the application in the case of Nellie H. Davis against the industrial insurance commission."