Looking Back to 100 years ago, what changes have happened? American Troops were returning from Europe after World War I and the Legion was chartered by Congress as a patriotic veterans organization. It focuses was on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities. We drove Model T’s and watched silent movies. Can you believe the changes that have happened?!
Model T’s — Touring Cars for five passengers were $1,385, a Roadster for three passengers was $1,385 and could be purchased at Fox and Gibbin, located on Main Street. You could also go to A.C. Fisher who sold Ford Cars and Fordson Tractors, located on Mechanic Street. Detroit promoted an all eclectic car that tour the Cascade mountains from Seattle to Mt. Rainer!
Toys have always been around in some form and 100 years ago, a stuffed bear named after President Theodore Roosevelt — a Teddy bear — was popular, along with tinker toys, dolls, children’s sleds, wagons and rocking horses, all found at Weismantle Brothers store. Or maybe you would want a Victor or Edison phonograph, which there were several models at Bement and Brooks on Main Street.
Ansco Cameras, the amateur camera of professional quality priced at $2, could be found at J.M.C. Bargar, and H.D. Smith Store carried all plus, lace handkerchiefs, stationery, camisoles, nightgowns, muffs, sweaters, gloves, aprons, wool blankets, neckwear and books, all popular 100 years ago.
In 1920, the Pittsburg Panthers football team was undefeated, but of course the coach had a lot to do with that. You might have heard of him — Glenn Warner, affectionately called “Pop” Warner. That year Jim Thorpe, recognized by Pop Warner for his athletic skill, and seven other men met and organized a professional football league. He became the first president. Later it was renamed National Football League.
Babe Ruth was the Player of the Century. He played for the Boston Red Sox, and during that time he set a record for the most scoreless innings in the World Series.
In Florida, the Everglades were drained creating new dry land and a land boom was started — a perfect place with perfect weather!
When listening to music on your radio or phonograph, you could hear great jazz music by King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Eddie Lang, Jack Teagarden and Bix Beiderbecke belting out tunes like “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Dark was the Night,” “Downhearted Blues,” “In the Jailhouse Now,” “Making Whoopee,” “My Man,” “Swanee” and “West End Blues.
You could see flapper girls dance the Charleston or Jitterbug. Tango and Waltzes were popular, and we cannot forget the swing at various building including Woodside dance hall and Cascade Park here in Springville.
When you went to the movie theaters, you might see stars like Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks in silent movies. Movies titled Sandy, Field of Honor, City of Comrades and The Bravest Way were only 15 to 25 cents each.
The Nineteenth Amendment was passed giving women the right to vote. Our town celebrated along with the women. A new-fangled invention created in 1917 called Separable Fastener took off. It is now found on everything. Do you wonder what it is? Well, we know it as the zipper!
And in the kitchen, you would have a Hoosier cabinet, a free-standing cabinet that would hold your spices, flour sifters, meat grinders and your cookbook. It also gave you a work area to create awesome cakes, cookies or meals.
Refrigerators and washing machines were being seen in homes, and the best, of course, was the electric toaster! The first thermostatically controlled electric iron was now seen in the homes.
President Woodrow Wilson officially opened the Panama Canal on July 12, 1920. Other events that were important include the United States census reporting for the first time that more Americans live in urban areas than in rural areas. However, “urban” is defined as any town with more than 2,500 people. The Great Steel Strike ended, cotton prices in New Orleans peaked at 42 cents per pound, prompting Southern farmers to plant the largest crop in history, Warren G. Harding was elected president by a landslide, the League of Nations was established and the Constitution was twice amended.
I hope you enjoyed this 100 years ago article. I had fun researching it and was amazed at how much has changed in such a little time. As the new year approaches, stop by the Lucy Bensley Center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the second and fourth Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and see what history you can find in our archives and on our shelves.
We want to thank all the folks that have stopped by and shared their family history and family photos with us. I want to thank all of you for reading my articles and for giving me ideas for others to write in the future. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (716) 592-0094. Happy New Year from the Concord Historical Society and me!