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100 Years Ago: Lost and found

As summer wended its way toward autumn a century ago, the American economy took a short breather from the post-war boom, collecting itself in the depth of a brief recession for a multi-year run to stratospheric heights. Prohibition, still just months old, already had spawned speakeasies and the rise of jazz; and the Democrats fretted the newly enfranchised female voters would help tip the Presidential election to Warren G. Harding, the Republican candidate. (They did, in no small part because the Republicans arrived early to the right-to-vote party while the Democrats straggled in quite late.) But meanwhile, back in The Shire...


The News carried several death reports in September 15 edition, including that of Albert Dell, the ten-year-old son of James and Martha Burton killed on the 10th by a lightning strike; and that of Esther Gilmer Dohoney, the 102-year-old-grandmother of Woodruff J., W.H. Ernest, and Ray Flowers. The paper referred to her as "an ardent member of the Presbyterian Church for about eighty years. . .[and] one of the most remarkable women who ever died in Kentucky."

Columbia was in the dark, had been for some time, and seemed destined to stay that way for the foreseeable future. The power plant had gone out weeks earlier and although Mr. G.B. Smith, in charge of the plant, had immediately ordered replacement parts from Louisville, shipping was delayed indefinitely from the manufacturer in Wisconsin to the supplier in Louisville.

The News groused, not without cause, that "residents of Columbia have been using lamps for several weeks, and there is no telling when the light plant will be ready for service." Hydroelectric power via Russell Creek served as backup, but the water was too low to produce so much as a flicker of light.

The power outage played havoc with the ongoing revival at the Columbia Methodist Church, as it was "progressing under difficulties;" to-wit: "The lights are not sufficient to light the building, and as a matter of course the preacher is embarrassed, and the congregations that meet are not in a mood to listen."

No doubt the Baptists, who had a revival coming up at the end of the month, earnestly prayed for the manufacturer to get the replacement parts shipped. (Power wasn't fully restored until near the end of October.)

The Columbia nine won two games on the local diamond from the Glasgow lads, 5-3 and 8-3 in consecutive games. Good order prevailed at the events, and the Barren County batsmen made several new friends while in town.

Glensfork had a referendum coming up in the November election, the question being whether to allow livestock to continue roaming about on the streets and unenclosed areas. The person who'd lost an "old rose colored silk Kimona, with blue polka dots" in Columbia offered a reward for its return, while Wyatt Conover wished to reunite with the rightful owner a greenback bill he'd found; and Allen Conover and N.R. Christie were ready to practice their tonsorial skills in their shop recently purchased from W.T. Price.

Local advertisers included jeweler L.E. Young, who offered the Prima Donna model "talking machine"; A.F. Scott, of the Casey Creek section, dealer for Garford trucks; Davis Hardware Co., successor to Jeffries Hardware, with a newly added line of automotive supplies; Barger Bros., offering a "complete line of hardware and groceries"; and Albin Murray, who carried everything from slippers to range stoves.

This story was posted on 2020-09-13 09:03:21
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