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Mason County Memories

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david k petersen

May 18th 1940 History of the Day History Column Dave Petersen Today we are going to take a look back at May 18th 1940 via the Ludington Daily News of the day. At that time we were not yet drawn into the war that had engulfed Europe, we were months away from that day of infamy but the war was on everyone's minds. May 18th The City of Antwerp falls to Nazis and the German Machine is nearing Paris were the headlines of the day best remembered locally as the day that Pere Marquette died on our shores in 1675. Admiral Yarnell is quoted as saying that America should stay out of the war until she is assured that her men and money "will be spent to a far better end than in 1918." The story locally was of notables in town for the Pere Marquette Ceremony. The plans were publicized for the new shrine to be erected at the site of the then current wooden cross marking Pere Marquette's death 265 years earlier on Buttersville peninsula. An end to angle parking came on Ludington Avenue due to a new state law that forbade angle parking on State trunklines, this eliminated about 100 parking spaces in the downtown area. Ludington's population was recorded at 8,886 persons, 32 less then in 1930, and reflected 2,584 children under the age of 14. Almost 60 years later our 2000 census places the population of Ludington at 8, 357 people. Bluebirds in Moonlight was the theme of the LHS prom, 130 teens danced to the music of Arnie J's Orchestra from Manistee amid panels of bluebirds "personalized in amusing costumes" and aqua blue streamers supporting hanging stars. Frank Hamilton sang "Bluebirds in the Moonlight" and Marjorie Fath along with Joan Clausen danced a modern minuet to the music of "Alice Blue Gown" played by the orchestra. The adults had their choice of dancing to the Artie Fields Trio at the Ossawald Crumb Taproom, or going to the Old Hickory Inn, Hamell's lakeshore Inn, Todd-L-Inn, Silver Cave, the Rendevous and of course Rainbow Gardens. Does anyone have any circa 1940 photos of these locations? At the Pentwater theatre Loretta Young and Ray Milland were starring in a movie named "The Doctor takes a wife" The ad states "He was a Doctor without practice, in making love, Til she made him a specialist" sounds a little racy for a 1940 advertisement don't you think? At the Lyric it was Pinocchio, and Blondie on a budget and Pioneers of the West at the 4 Star in Scottville. Speaking of Scottville the Scottville band was showing off their dressy new uniforms, Jimmy Schulte, Drum major Ken Sedgewick, Patricia Reader and Conductor Maurice Styles are shown. Looking for a deal? Check out the classifieds, 5 cords of wood for 11.00, cars 25.00 and up, gasoline and kerosene ranges, a good fresh Guernsey cow, in the Swap Column, (theres an idea) you could swap what have you for a dodge truck, some little pigs or some wild land. Wild land was selling for 5.00 an acre, a city lot for 37.50, there were some bargains to be had. If you were making 50 cents an hour you could buy a city lot on a 2 week paycheck, most people could not do that today. It's not about how much you make, it's about what you can buy. In the obituaries we see that Eli Emerson Grover passed away, he was an early resident of the area having come to Mason County in 1887 as a young man, Herman Paap another Riverton Township resident also passed away. News included tidbits from correspondents all over the county, from the Marble school district we see that Mr and Mrs Ralph Morrell and daughter have moved into a log cabin owned by Mr. Barton, In Fern, Mrs Maurice Stickney observed her daughter Dorothy's birthday anniversary with a party, orange and strawberry jello along with cake was served to the guests. Looking for laugh? The daily comics included Blondie, Popeye and Inspector Wade, and of course" They'll do it every time. There was a dark cloud hanging over the world in the spring of 1940, but in Mason County people were still taking in a movie, going to prom dancing at the Old Hickory Inn, eating Jello at birthday parties and swapping what nots for baby pigs. If you have any stories or photos you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com, mail should be sent in care of the Ludington Daily News PO box 340 Ludington Mi 49431.

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