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This week in history

This week in history

120 years ago, 1899

A runaway horse caused a serious accident but miraculously no one was hurt. Mrs. Frank Kohn and her 14-month-old child escaped death when the horse darted toward them. She was about to cross the street with her child in a baby buggy when the horse crashed into the buggy. The child was knocked out of the pram and rolled about 12 feet. Mrs. Kohn rushed to her child and found the baby surprisingly uninjured. Several onlookers offered all possible aid while the mother was in dire distress over the incident. Mrs. Kohn’s husband, Frank, was soon at the scene where he took his wife and child home.

Those who witnessed the accident could not explain how the child was able to escape without injury as they all expected the little one would be crushed by the horse. In the days following the accident, the child remained in great condition but the mother was still recovering from the shock. The city’s excitement caused by runaway horses was not yet complete for that week as car dispatcher Milan, of the Mahoning Valley Electric Lines, stopped another potential accident the following day.

110 years ago, 1909

The village of Struthers was stirred up over the disappearance of dynamite. Twenty pounds of blasting dynamite, owned by the village, was stolen from its hiding place in Yellow Creek Park. Following the theft, a team of plainclothes men set out with Winchester guns to control the neighborhood of Superintendent C. T. Gibson of the American Sheet & Tin Plate Co, and Arthur M. Lyon, the company’s real estate agent. It was feared that the explosives would be used in another plot against those two men following a previous serious incident. Gibson’s home had been dynamited and a fusillade of bullets aimed at Lyon’s home earlier that year. Many believed that a group of striking steel workers was behind the attacks and that those men were set to commit a similar act with the stolen explosives.

No arrests had been made, but many thought that those arrests and convictions would come swiftly. The striking workers denied any involvement in the incidents, pointing instead to sympathizers of their movement as the culprits. A $5,000 reward was offered for the arrest of any involved with the attacks. The reward had yet to be claimed, which led to the private security force of those armed men guarding the homes of Gibson and Lyon.

75 years ago, 1944

12,000 people attended a startling City Series football game. The team from South High combined both an air and ground offensive resulting in five touchdowns. Their dynamic win exploded the myth of East’s invincibility and crushed the Blue and Gold’s unbeaten streak. South High’s coach, Al Beach, said that his team had all of the ingredients for success — fight, speed, spirit, inspiration and deception. The game turned into one of the most brilliant shows of offensive lightning ever displayed at the South field.

East went into the game with several key players nursing injuries and South’s staunch defense couldn’t be stopped. Mixed with a powerful offense, the team rolled over East, which only had one threatening drive. That drive resulted in a fumble and it seemed as though everything was on South’s side. East gambled throughout the second half to try to get luck back on its side. A series of penalties pushed South back, stopping one touchdown after a clipping call and another for being off-sides. But nothing could stop them completely as late in the game Goodall, South’s quarterback, threw a perfect pass to receiver Grien for a touchdown. South’s kicker, Rowan, made the final tally 35-0 in South’s favor.

East’s defeat scrambled the entire City Series, completing its local engagements. East was certain to at least tie for the title with a 4-1 record. Three teams had an outside chance of upsetting East in the overall standings: Chaney with its 3-1 record, South’s 2-1 record, and Rayen’s record of 1-1. Woodrow Wilson and Ursuline were out of contention.

60 years ago, 1959

A Disney classic was shown at the Palace Theatre as part of a special program for children. Walt Disney’s “Bambi” was shown along with a puppet version of the beloved children’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” “Bambi” was reissued in its original Technicolor featuring the cartoon treatment of Felix Salten’s story about the life of a young deer, his friends, and family. Those friends include the beloved Thumper the Rabbit, Flower the Skunk, the Friendly Owl and the beautiful young fawn, Faline. The emotional story is embedded into the hearts and minds of viewers young and old.

“Hansel and Gretel” was aired in its original 1954 Technicolor format using state of the art electronically animated puppets. The puppets were capable of innumerable facial expressions and positions as they told the story of children meeting an evil witch in the forest. The cannibalistic witch lured children to her house made of treats, candy, and gingerbread. She promised the lost Hansel and Gretel warm beds, hot baths and a delicious dinner. Unbeknownst to them, the witch was planning to cook and eat them. Using trickery and wit, the young siblings are able to escape with the witch’s treasure of jewels and stones. The children’s films aired only two nights before the Palace made a hard switch to “Inside the Mafia” and “Cry Time.”

• Compiled from the Youngstown Vindicator

archives by Traci Manning, MVHS curator of education

This week in history

Coroner blames train, street-car crews for collision

120 Years Ago, 1899

Readers might remember the article about the tragic train accident in Niles that killed one man instantly and injured several others. News of the devastation continued to make headlines for weeks. The investigation into the accident was underway immediately with reports trickling into local news outlets. Dr. A. M. Beach, the Trumbull County coroner, publicized his findings and noted that serious negligence and insufficient care on the part of the crews of the train and street car were responsible for the horrific crash.

Beach stated that he reached out to the conductor and motorman of the electric car and the crew of the Pennsylvania and Western train as they were important witnesses, but no one came forward to speak with him. Beach was forced to use the testimony of other eyewitnesses and his report was short and very to the point. He noted that O. Burt Sword was instantly killed by being crushed. He continued: “In regard to the cause, I find that there was no regular flagman or gates at the crossing; that the passenger train when approaching was running at a high and dangerous rate of speed; that the motorman and conductor of the electric car could have seen the train in sufficient time, so they need not have attempted to cross before the passenger train. It is, therefore, my decision that the cause of the collision was negligence and insufficient care on the part of the men in charge of both the Pittsburgh and Western train and the Trumbull electric car.” The finding was filed with the Court of Common Pleas in Warren and likely resulted in several arrests.

110 Years Ago, 1909

Youngstown was home to the most modern telephone exchange in the world. Equipped with the latest inventions in the telephone business, Youngstown subscribers had the highest possible grade of service. The most noticeable improvement was the introduction of automatic ringing for local service by which phones rang two seconds, followed by four seconds of silence, and another two seconds of ringing in a loop for as long as the connection is maintained or someone answers the phone. Prior to this, an operator made the connection. The local exchange’s automatic ringing switchboard was the only one in the world at that time.

The exchange’s operating room featured a high-end toll board with all exchange subscribers assigned their own individual call numbers without any letters. The operator’s room also boasted a restroom, kitchen, locker room and quarters. The building’s basement housed large storage batteries, which supplied the necessary power for the exchange, along with an emergency power plant consisting of a gas engine and generator. The building was constructed with the latest type of fireproofing and designed to meet the exact requirements of such a modern telephone exchange. The opening of the exchange caught the attention of telephone men from across the country and world. A large number of Bell Telephone officials visited to see the inner workings of the new equipment.

50 Years Ago, 1969

The new radio voice of Youngstown State University, WYSU-FM, was heard for the first time. John J. Coffelt, YSU vice president of administrative affairs, confirmed that the Federal Communications Commission approved the station to begin program tests. The initial tests included classical music selections with regular programming stated to begin a few weeks later in November. Coffelt spearheaded the university’s efforts to launch the community’s first noncommercial radio station.

The station’s regular programming started with a $10,000 library of more than 4,000 stereo albums and tapes. Stephen J. Grcevich, YSU’s radio broadcasting director, stated: “We have a collection of over 200 operas alone and we’re adding 200 albums each month by subscription.” Staff also worked to begin a library of music reference texts.

ä Compiled from the Youngstown Vindicator archives by Traci Manning, MVHS curator of education.