Friday, August 05, 2011

“Geauga in Print”

c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

When I was a sports editor for a local newspaper in another county, our managing supervisor liked to say that the product we were creating had lasting value. He often observed that what we published today might be read by someone a hundred years into the future.

His wisdom made me take extra care with what I wrote.

Recently, I was reminded of the lasting importance carried by newspaper text, while doing archival research.

Untold millions of words have been written in the long history of American journalism. But a local perspective on this profession appeared as I read stories that spoke about places and people so close to home:

The Portsmouth Times, December 19, 1962

“CHARDON, Ohio – A push-button telephone went into use Tuesday in this Geauga County seat. The Mid-Continent Telephone Corp. said it was the first use of the push-button telephone on a commercial basis in the United States. The new telephone utilizes push buttons to actuate electronic pulses in place of conventional equipment. Use of the new instruments, called ‘Touch Tone’ or ‘Touch Button’ is made possible, the company said, by a significant development in communications – the first solid-state electronic telephone switching equipment tied to a conventional electromechanical central office. The first call to be push-button over Chardon’s new equipment was made by Congressman-Elect Oliver P. Bolton to Gov.-Elect James A. Rhodes in Columbus. Mid-Continent, which has headquarters in Elyria, said the new telephones will become available early next year to subscribers in Kenton.”

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 5, 1959

“CHARDON, Ohio – Farmers may soon be able to tap a maple tree by turning on a spigot. A plastic pipeline for gathering maple sap as been developed. It may make the aluminum buckets and plastic bags now being used as obsolete as the old oaken bucket. Tubes tapped into each tree are tied into a main pipeline which sends the sap pouring into centrally-located gathering tanks. Maple syrup production is a major farm industry in parts of northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Farmers contend their syrup is just as good as that produced in Vermont.”

The Reading Eagle, April 20, 1958

“Chardon, Ohio – When motorists in Geauga County are arrested by Deputy Sheriff Tom Murray they are apt to lose more than fine money and time in court. Deputy Murray is a pencil collector. More often than not he borrows the violator’s pencil to write the ticket and, if the pencil is unusual enough, he will ask if he may keep it. Murray, who started collecting pencils 16 years ago, has more than 5,000 in his collection. Some of the unusual pencils in the collection are a German-made one that telescopes to a one-foot ruler, one that holds aspirin and another that contains a roll of paper. Products advertised on the pencils range from fertilizer to whisky. The pencils come in a variety of shapes, such as umbrellas, bullets, whisky bottles, nails, guns, and bowling pins. Murray also has a pencil in his collection inscribed, ‘Murray for Sheriff.’ He lost the election two years ago by 2,000 votes.”

The St. Petersburg Times, November 30, 1930

“Bitter winter weather abated today from the middlewest to the Atlantic ocean. In its wake, record low temperatures for November gave way to rain, light snow, or cloudiness which promised precipitation by tomorrow or Monday… Farmers rode into Chardon, Ohio, on horseback through six-foot drifts to get food for families snowbound since Thanksgiving Day. Motorists caught in the vicinity in 26 inches of snow sought refuge in farm houses; one such farm home held 32 persons.”

Writers take note – though flesh may be mortal, our words can survive, and endure… for generations to come.

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