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Meanwhile, back in the Shire: July, 1934

Eighty-five years ago, as July 1934 began nudging toward August, a blistering heat wave continued its stifling, suffocating grip on the nation, as it had done for the better part of four weeks; the Depression, nearing the end of a fifth miserable year, showed no signs of relenting; and federal agents, acting on tip, took out John Dillinger, "one of the most dangerous desperadoes of the day," in a hail of bullets as he exited a movie house in Chicago.


But meanwhile, back in the Shire...

The News reported that on Monday, July 23, 1934, the mercury in Columbia and neighboring Greensburg soared to 107 degrees, with many older Adair Countians claiming this was "the most intense heat on record over a long period." The paper further stated many homes were so hot at night, even ones generally comfortable in the summer months, residents had to move outside to sleep. And too, it noted, "Every available swimming hole within a radius of thirty miles has been crowded with bathers for several days." (This was but one of an incredible string of heat waves across America in the 1930s.)

At the order of the City Council, many of Columbia's streets had been much improved in recent days. All the major side streets, including the ones leading to Lindsey Wilson and the Columbia Graded and High School, had been graded and given a macadam surface.

Between that and the work done by the state on the four principal streets and Square, the news commented with justifiable pride that "Columbia can boast of very excellent thoroughfares."

No deaths attributable to the heat had occurred in Adair County, but Martha Louise Grant, a young woman of the Mt. Carmel region who just five weeks past 16, met instant death when two tires blew out on the car in which she, her sister, and two young men were riding. The tragedy occurred in front of William Reynold's residence near Ozark. Miss Grant had turned 16 just weeks earlier. The other occupants of vehicle suffered minor injuries

A dentist, Dr. H.C. Randall, had just moved to town and taken up the professional quarters recently vacated by Dr. J.N. Murrell in the Jeffries building; and Mr. G.R. Reed, long time insurance man of Adair County, had been recognized by the New York based National Business Monthly magazine for his twenty-plus years of excellence in the field.

In neighboring Russell County, excitement already buzzed over the upcoming fair, which would commence on August 9th, and another recent gathering had drawn a huge crowd. The McFarland Reunion, held Sunday, July 22 at the Creelsboro Methodist Church by the descendants Benjamin and Ruth McFarland, early settlers of that area, drew over three hundred people. Columbia resident W.T. McFarland, a great-grandson of the pioneer couple, "gave a very interesting talk on the older generations of the McFarlands and their relations." Among those who came from afar was former Columbia resident Mrs. M.L. Norris, nee Jennye Audra McFarland, W.T.'s daughter, who traveled nearly 1,200 miles from Clovis, New Mexico to attend the fete.

Over in Greensburg, the City Council announced a new license and permit fee schedule: retail dispensing of liquor, $200 per annum; license for all pin and ball games, $2.00 per month; retail fireworks permit, $25; and permit for conducting a dance, hall, $10 per diem, a sharp increase from the former $2.50 per diem.

This story was posted on 2019-07-21 12:34:46
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