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90 years ago: Entertainment, education, and the marvelous Maytag

During the first week of April, 1930, President Hoover began his 14th month in office; the economic depression, worsening by the day, entered its 21st week; the 15th federal census started; and America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, a few days short of her 38th birthday and in the twilight of stardom, went home a winner (Best Female Actress) from the first radio-broadcasted Academy Awards. But meanwhile, back in The Shire...


The Junior Class play, "Patty Makes Things Hum," packed the high school auditorium and the appreciative audience much enjoyed the fun. The cast included Marie White in the lead role, along with Stonewall Dohoney, Jr., Ethel Tarter. Louise Montgomery, Lola Hill, Mary Neat, future Columbia mayor Bunny Shively, Davis Jones, Cecil Henson, and Russell Wilson. Mrs. Ray (Ruth) Montgomery directed, with assistance from Mrs. W.J. (Berenice) Flowers, and the Blue Bird Orchestra provided the music under the direction of Mrs. Ores (Lula) Barger.

Those seeking other entertainment had several options over the next few days: a hot debate between Lindsey Wilson's two literary societies on April 10th; the Columbia - Jamestown baseball game at the Lindsey Wilson diamond, April 12th (general admission 25c, students 15c); and the CHS senior class play,"Am I Intruding?," a mystery comedy, May 2nd. And, even closer on the near event horizon, the 1928 movie "The Three Passions" would play the evening of April 8th at the Rialto: "Come and see the way of God, Gold and Woman." (A review written nearly eighty years later named the "passions" as ambition, greed, and lust for power.)

The Strong Hill family of Gradyville had just purchased a house in suburban Columbia and planned to move there post-haste. (A family member opened the door and welcomed the census taker into their new home when she came calling out Jamestown Road on April 24th.)

In the south corner of the Square, Mrs. Robbie Cheatham left employment at The News to take a position in Lerman's ladies' department; Mrs. Lawrence (Vara) Pickett, a former News employee, re-entered the fold to fill the vacancy left by Mrs. Cheatham's departure; and Mr. Rich Paull returned home to Columbia following a lengthy stay in St. Joseph's Infirmary, Louisville. Said the paper, "His condition is reported to be much better."

A committee of four citizens of Knifley met with the County Board of Education to ask for help in putting up a much needed new high school building in Knifley. Despite the committee's pledge that the community would provide all the framing necessary for the structure, the Board kicked the decision down the road, saying it found itself "not in a position to commit" and cited a shortage of funds as the reason.

The impending implementation of a new city ordinance likely generated buzz around town. Effective April 9th, the ordinance set the upper limit of vehicular speed within the metes and bounds of Columbia to 12 miles per hour. C.C. Jones, the City Marshal, warned in advance of stern enforcement and fines for scofflaws who ignored the decree.

Easter fell somewhat late that year (April 20th) but early in the month, Lerman's ran a full page ad, touting "Our Greatest pre-Easter Sale ever," and Crawford-Gatlin Inc. also offered hot deals on a wide range of clothing items. The Royal Cafe, purveyors of Whitman's candies, urged shoppers to "Say it with Chocolate this Easter," promising young swains that those delectable delicacies would give their best girl "more lasting pleasure than a few posies."

Columbia Motor Co. advised new car shoppers "It's wise to choose a six," (referring to the number of engine cylinders), and offered the Chevrolet Roadster and Phaeton models at $495 each (f.o.b. Flint, Mich.), while Bennett Motor Co. offered the Hudson Great 8 (again, a reference to the number of cylinders) in prices ranging from $1,025 for the coach model up to $1,335 for the Essex Sun Sedan model (f.o.b. Detroit, Mich.)

Whitney & Tupman advertised Armour's Big Crop brand fertilizer "for quality tobacco;" C.R. Hutchison & Sons carried the Farmall equipment line; and Parson & Wilkinson invited all to visit their recently opened blacksmith shop "on Jamestown Road, near Neat's store."

Those seeking modern conveniences could obtain the GE all-steel refrigerator -- "Not a dollar for repairs, not a dollar for service" -- through Kentucky Central (Columbia's power provider) or the marvelous new Maytag aluminum washer-wringer (imaged below) at Davis Hardware Co. (telephone # 171). For the washer, customers could choose either an electric or a gasoline powered model.

And last, but far from least, Browning & Marshall, proprietors of the "sanitary barber shop" in the Hotel Miller, promised courteous service and expert use of sharp tools for the tonsorial needs of their gentlemen callers.

This story was posted on 2020-04-05 08:00:08
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The 1930 Maytag aluminum washer-wringer

2020-04-05 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy JIM.
From the ad: "Call for a trial home washing... Divided payments you'll never miss." One source stated it sold new for $33.50, about $520 today. Customers could choose either an electric or a gasoline powered model.

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