100 Years Ago Today: August 6, 1917

100 Years Ago Today: August 6, 1917


News from the Bloomington Evening World Monday, August 6, 1917

The United States had entered World War I in April of 1917, so war news and draft news dominated the front page of the Bloomington Newspaper: A U-Boat sighting closed New York Harbor for several hours. Only one of the first 16 Bloomington men called up for the draft did not ask for an exemption, while the volunteers of Battery F were given an enthusiastic and emotional sendoff by thousands of Bloomingtonians who lined the streets to see the local soldiers leave the Monon station. The lead local non-war-related story was the death of a stone cutter, James Robinson, who lost his life to a 16,000 pound block of limestone and a broken “lifting dog”  , a story which was told with a surprising amount of gruesome detail.

Advertising could not long be kept at bay however (despite the shocking news that the county fair would be postponed until October) and an ad from Graham Motor Sales Company (phone number 156) announcing that Ford was not planning on raising prices for the 1918 models took up a full quarter of the front page (no doubt providing a significant amount of revenue). Directly bordering the ad to the left are two articles that show how embedded the automobile already was in Bloomington life in 1917 (perhaps placed by a copyeditor in a puckish mood) – the first an announcement of a “motoring” outing by a local family and their out of town guest to a nearby tourist attraction, the Fort Ritner Crazy House (a house disorientingly  perched on a steep hill, this landmark was actually an artifact of the devastating flood of 1913. The second story of automobile interests proclaims in it’s headline “Autos In Smashup” and details a fender bender between a Cole Six and an Overland . Both Cole and Overland were Indiana based automobile companies. The Graham people must have been glad that no Fords were involved.

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