New Castle News

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May 2, 2012

‘Old news’ outlines local life in 1914

NEW CASTLE — In addition to World War I headlines, the nearly-98-year-old newspaper gave a look at life here in 1914.

Found in the cornerstone of the former Elks building, the Sept. 7, 1914, issue of the New Castle News told of a man who had dropped three chickens in his efforts to escape police. The story said the man was arrested later — with two ducks.

It also carried a front page story headlined: “Elks to lay cornerstone”

The previous issue, printed Saturday, Sept. 5, 1914, gave more history of the organization and the ceremony, set for 3 p.m. on Labor Day.

The lodge meeting was opened by Exalted Ruler Lee Horner, but the ceremony was conducted by a past exalted ruler, attorney B.A. Winternitz.

The paper predicted the ceremony “would be suitable for the occasion of laying the cornerstone for the Elks Temple on North Mill Street.”

It also provided a history of the lodge, organized Aug. 31, 1887. The first exalted ruler was Frank G. Blackford. The organization met in Clendinin Hall at the corner of Washington and Mercer streets.

But by 1895, it said, membership had dwindled and on March 20, 1895, members had decided “to wind up affairs and return its charter to the Grand Lodge. The lodge closed and meetings were suspended for several years, but no one ever returned the charter.

On Oct. 5, 1898, the lodge was reorganized by Winternitz, who became the new exalted ruler.

By 1907, members outgrew their meeting hall and agreed to purchase property from Jessie A. Jameson at Mill and Falls streets for $20,000.

The Elks’ new home, the paper said, “will be the handsomest of any in the country.” It was called “commodious, convenient and well-equipped in every way.”

The story of the cornerstone dedication noted the Grand Lodge had determined that in the years of inactivity, New Castle Lodge 69 “had only been asleep, not dead or defunct. Having reawakened, it was allowed to retain its old charter, name and number.”

The story noted the re-organized Elks continued charities that included relief for distressed widows and orphans and Christmas distributions of toys, groceries and clothing to needy residents. The lodge, the paper pointed out, included many of the most prominent men of New Castle.

Other news of the day found in the paper:

•French statisticians estimated the cost of the seven powers of England, France, Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Serbia-Montenegro, Belgium going to war would be $54 million per day

•70 percent of the registered voters in New Castle were Republican

•Coffee sold for 33 cents a pound

•Butter was 32 cents a pound but “butterine” was $1 for a five-pound kit or 50 cents for a three-pound kit.

•Bread, usually 10 cents a loaf, was on special for 6 cents

•Milk was five cents a quart, but cream was 10 cents for a small bottle and buttermilk was 10 cents for a gallon.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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