Archive for March 20th, 2011


Town Topics

   Posted by: admin    in Seasons, Spring, Town Topics

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 20, 1907

Town Topics

Today is in every way an ideal Spring day. The opening of Spring to a country boy means many things. It means that he will soon be fishing under the banks of the Des Moines for suckers. It means that he will sprout potatoes on the barn floor, or get the little onions ready for planting on the back lot.

The prospect of a productive season is a change even from the slush and ice of a long and dreary winter. The farmer goes out to see whether the bees are getting ready to swarm; the town man prepares to plant some flower seeds on the front lawn. The housewife, the whole land over, looks up the mops and brooms and gets in readiness for the Spring housecleaning.

Everything takes a new start, as it were, in life; we begin anew and feel brighter and better natured and feel glad that we are living.

And now that Spring seems to have run up the curtain in readiness to open the show there are many things which while we enjoy nature and its changing forms, the town dweller should attend to. Nature will do her part to beautify Fort Dodge, but it will not remove the accumulations of ashes and refuse in the cellars of our citizens. It will not repair bad pavements, muddy street, stopped up gutters or sinking crossing stones.

Nature will cause flowers to grow in the country wood, but not on the citizens lawn unless seed be planted. Nature will make the shade trees burst into leaf but it will not remove unsightly wires, broken limbs or dead trees from the streets.

The sun will shine brightly on pretty dwellings and business places, but it will not apply the paint or the whitewash brush to the back fence or the front shutters where the wintry storms have caused a former application to wear off.

Nature will make the parks look green and beautiful, but the corner lots will still have an unsightly appearance unless man assists in “clearing up.”

Nature will asist (sic) in Spring housecleaning, but as this has been a very strenuous winter, there is much for the average citizen to do to make Fort Dodge look more beautiful than ever before.



Told in Knierim

   Posted by: admin    in Animals, Knierim

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 20, 1907

Told in Knierim.

Something That Explains The Scarcity of Ducks This Spring.

“Yessir. Killed a thousand ducks. Why they wuz so plentiful that year that my brother and another feller killed a thousand in one day.” The oldest inhabitant took a long draw at his pipe as he looked out of the corner of his eye to see how the story was received.

“Aw, that’s nothin’,” was the quick reply from a young man who had perched himself on the counter. “Why, ducks was so thick one spring that Paw killed them with a pitchfork when they flew past the wagon over his head.”

As an explanation of the scarcity of birds this spring and their shy manner, the above stories were told in a store at Knierim a couple of days ago.


Annual Argument on Hats Arrives

   Posted by: admin    in Fashion

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 20, 1905

Annual Argument on Hats Arrives

Spring Season opens and Spring Hats Must Soon Be Bought.

The Cost is Evenly Divided

Styles in Women’s Hats are Rapidly Conforming with Those Practiced by Men’s Hatters and the Tailored Hat is the Proper Thing.

A season of the year is soon to delight the feminine part of Fort Dodge although it may counteract its effects by the reception it receives among the opposite sex, and the coming season is that of the spring openings in the numerous millinery stores of the city.

Then it is that the annual joke maker will begin to please one sex with the annual jokes about big hats and if he runs out of jokes about the big hats, he will make some up about enormous prices on small ones, so that it is easily to be seen he is hard to satisfy.

In reality if everyone will be honest, they will admit that all the fuss about high priced hats is concocted just for the convenience of the joke man and that although a woman does sometimes spend a good price for a hat she either wears it several seasons or does not have any other during that season.

Times are fast changing and styles in hats are advancing as rapidly as they are in other lines. The tailored hat a few years ago was unknown in the realm of bonnetdom, and no woman now is properly dressed for the street or for church unless she wears one, and any other style in the above named places would be as incongruous as a man wearing an opera hat to his business.

In the average walks of life a man pays nothing less than five dollars for his every day hat and if statistics were obtained it would be found that the women who pay more than that for their street hats are balanced on the other side by the man who pays more than five for his.

Then a man generally buys a straw hat of greater or less price for summer wear, and that corresponds to the dress hat that a woman buys for the garden party, and the evening party or reception and even should the masculine readers of this article contend that the woman’s hat costs more, he must remember that she can take off the plumes and other trimmings and put them away to help out with next year’s hat, and that a man’s hat, once discarded, leaves no trimmings for next years.

When you advance into the more prosperous and wealthy circles prices and numbers of hats, in both masculine and feminine wardrobes, or perhaps it should be wardhats, will increase proportionately.

As we said in the beginning, the spring season is soon to open, the usual creations will be shown and the usual woman will go home with the usual bonnet which she has decided upon after looking longingly at the more expensive one which fit her taste but not her purse, and in the usual way she will try to convince herself that the one she got is much more becoming and appropriate after all.

And just because she can monage (sic) to get a few more pretty trimmings on her hat than the man can on his, pray do not let him get the idea that is it more expensive.

■ ■ ■

With the closing of this story, it is to a certainty, decided that there can never be any more spring jokes about spring hats, and of course everyone is convinced that the writer is surely a man, and therefore would be fair and honest to give the opposite sex such a gallant service in this much abused argument.

(Editor’s note: One thing I miss about articles in this time period is that there are no bylines. We have no idea who wrote what, and even no record of who the reporters were at this time. I’m inclined to this that this piece was written by a woman, or at least a man with a very close connection (wife, sisters or mother) to the feminine side. The argument for comparing prices and features of hats, with the notion that a woman’s hat has decorations that can be used again, leads me to think that a woman thought it up. I could be wrong, and there is no way to check.)


Etiquette for “Hello” Girls

   Posted by: admin    in Business, Telephone

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 20, 1903

Etiquette for “Hello” Girls

A Book on “Polite Language” Causes Sensation in Fort Dodge Telephone Circles

Has Been Issued in Chicago

American Telephone Company Unloads Itself of Idea Which is Not Relished Here


“I think it’s all a pipe dream,” remarked Charley Demorest, manager of the Iowa Telephone company’s office in this city, as he buttoned up his overcoat, preparatory to braving pneumonia in the chill March breezes. Mr. Demorest was discussing the rumored “Polite Language” book, which has just been issued by the American Telephone company for the use of its toll operators.

“It may be all right,” continued Mr. Demorest, “but it seems to me that a busy man won’t feel any better after he has had all that string of courtesy, that could be condensed into three words, fired at him thru the telephone. For my part, I think that the operators can be polite, without learning a set of declamations.”

The news that a book of stereotyped phrases for the use of telephone operators has been issued, has been receibved with considerable interest here.

The book has been issued in Chicago by the American Telephone company, and will be in use in every city where the long distance telephone is used. The new and polite form of language is being used in the entire east, and the idea has been brought west by S.A. Crawford, the new manager for the company in Chicago, who insists that the new forms of speech must be strictly adhered to by long distance operators.

Here is a sample of what may be expected to transpire in any telephone booth after the arrival of the book of decorum, when a patron asks for connection with Waterloo, for instance:

Patron – Hello! Is this long distance?

Operator -You’re talking to the operator of hte long distance telephone line.

Patron – I want to talk with Main, 4873, Waterloo, Iowa, and hurry up about it.

One minute passes, and the patron becomes impatient. He works the receiver hook vigorously until he gets a responce, and another season of talk begins.

Patrons (sic) – Say, what’s the matter I don’t get that number?

Operator – I will endeavor to ascertain, what is the trouble.

Another delay, and the patron gets really impatient, with the result that he gives the receiver hook another juggling, and begins another appeal to the operator.

Patron – What in the dickens is the matter than I don’t get that number?

Operator – I’m endeavoring to ascertain why you do not secure your connections, and after I have ascertained I will call you. Please hang up the receiver.

If the patron gets frantic and asks the same question of the operator a dozen times he will receive exactly the same answer each time.

The state of mind of the Fort Dodge man who is trying to talk to Waterloo and is compelled to listen to this rigamarole, can best be imagined. It is bad enough to have to talk to Waterloo.

Judging from the general sentiment in the offices here, however, it will be a long time before stereotyped phrases come to Fort Dodge offices.

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