When ‘Zerwekh’ meant ‘ice cream’

This is a slightly updated version of a “From the Local History Room” column that first appeared in May 2012 before the launch of this weblog.

When ‘Zerwekh’ meant ‘ice cream’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Residents of Pekin today have several ways to satisfy their ice cream cravings, including at Dairy Queen on Second Street, Double D’s or the Sweet Spot on Eighth, and Steak ’n Shake or Culver’s on Court. But there was a time when all the ice cream in town came from one place: Zerwekh’s in downtown Pekin.

The Zerwekh family no longer lives in Pekin, but they were long a fixture of Pekin social life and business thanks to the Zerwekh Brothers’ bakery and confectionary at 20 S. Fourth St.

“Both Robert Hill and Albert Zerwekh were popular caterers,” says the 1974 Pekin Sesquicentennial. “Zerwekh’s three-story pressed-brick building housed a bakery and confectionary on the ground floor and basement, and the Masonic Hall occupied the second and third floors. The building was considered a major contribution to the beautification of the city, and today has come to be known as the Times Building, for it houses the operations of the local newspaper. Zerwekh’s was famous for its ice cream, delicate ices, and soft drinks.”

The name of Zerwekh appears in the very first Pekin City Directory, which was published in 1861: “Gottlob J. Zerwekh, proprietor of St. Louis Exchange, 87 Court St.” That was Gottlob Jakob Zerwekh, also known as Gottlieb, one of the many German immigrants who settled in Pekin in the mid-1800s. He and his wife Christiana F. Schnaitman were born in Württemberg. The 1860 U.S. Census shows Gottlieb and Christiana living in Peoria with their sons William G., age 3, and Albert, age 1. By the time of the 1870 census, they were living in Pekin, along with a daughter Bertha, age 3.

In that year, the Sellers & Bates City Directory lists “G.J. Zerwekh” as a “manufacturer of soda water” on Henrietta Street between Second and Third streets. Six years later, the city directory shows that he had entered into a partnership with Herman Karstedt. Their business, at the same location as in 1870, was “Zerwekh & Karstedt, manfr soda and mineral waters and ginger ale.” By 1876, Gottlob’s son William was a clerk at Schaub & Smiley’s, while Albert was a cook at Strader & Kennedy’s.

Albert next appears in the 1887 City Directory, listed as a baker and confectioner, with his bakery at 112-114 S. Fourth Street. Albert next shows up in the 1893 City Directory, having moved his bakery to 16-18 S. Fourth. That was about the time he built the Zerwekh Building at 20 S. Fourth.

This photograph of the Zerwekh Building, originally the home of Albert Zerwekh Baker & Confectionary, was printed in 1899 in “Cole’s Souvenir of Pekin,” a booklet of photos produced by Pekin’s pioneer photographer Henry Hobart Cole.

According to the “Zerwekh Family Tree” published at Ancestry.com, Albert was born Sept. 22, 1859, in Tazewell County. On Aug. 30, 1883, he married Ida F. Maus (1864-1940), daughter of Charles T. Maus and Hattie J. Prettyman. Both the Maus and Prettyman families were among Pekin’s earliest settlers and are prominent in our city’s early history. Albert and Ida had two sons, George Ernest Zerwekh (1884-1959) and Edward Schenck Zerwekh (1886-1983).

The family tree states that Albert died of colon cancer on 10 April 1908 after an illness of six months. He is buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Pekin. After his untimely death, his sons carried on the family business at the same location. The Pekin Sesquicentennial says, “Before the Soldwedels opened their new factory [in 1920], grocers had purchased their butter directly from local farmers, and ice cream had been supplied solely by the Zerwekh Brothers at 20 South Fourth (presently the Times Building); ice cream was available year round in their store, and they also supplied the local drugstores in all but the winter months, when the soda fountains were covered with plywood and used for Christmas displays. In the 20’s Zerwekh’s stopped making ice cream, so the new Soldwedel operation assumed the responsibility on a much larger scale.”

This photograph showing the interior of Albert Zerwekh Baker & Confectionary was printed in 1899 in “Cole’s Souvenir of Pekin.”

Later, the second floor of the Zerwekh Building was a popular venue for young people in town, because it served as a dance hall where bands provided live music. In 1941, however, the Zerwekh Building was purchased by F.F. McNaughton, owner and publisher of the Pekin Daily Times, which had moved next door to Zerwekh’s in 1905-1906. The Zerwekh brothers moved to California, where they died.

As for the aged Zerwekh Building, as we recalled last week, its long and varied history drew to its end in early Oct. 2013. The Daily Times moved out in late Aug. 2012, and the Zerwekh Building’s new owner, Tazewell County, demolished it the following year to make a parking lot.

#albert-zerwekh, #albert-zerwekh-baker-confectionary, #charles-t-maus, #christiana-f-schnaitman, #f-f-mcnaughton, #gottlob-jakob-zerwekh, #hattie-j-prettyman, #herman-karstedt, #ida-f-maus, #pekin-daily-times, #times-building, #william-zerwekh, #zerwekh-brothers, #zerwekh-building, #zerwekh-family-tree

Changing Times: a look back at the Old Times building

This is an updated version of a “From the Local History Room” column that first appeared in August 2012 before the launch of this weblog.

Changing Times: a look back at the Old Times building

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

This week we’ll take a look back at the history of the Pekin Daily Times newspaper and of the buildings where the Daily Times has been located since 1906.

The Times Building was longtime a landmark in downtown Pekin, while the new home of the Daily Times is a much newer structure built in 1989 by Rick Woith, recently retired owner of Rick’s TV and Appliances.

In the May 5, 2012 “From the History Room” column, we recalled how the Zerwerkh family came from Württemberg (now in Germany) and settled in Pekin around 1861. Albert Zerwekh (1859-1908) established himself as a successful baker, and in the early 1890s he built the Zerwekh Building to house his bakery and confectionary at 20 S. Fourth Street.

At the time the Zerwekh Building was erected, the Pekin Daily Times was just one of five newspapers that were based in Pekin. All five of Pekin’s papers were located on Court Street, and the home of the Daily Times was at 405 Court Street (which more recently was the address of Timothies Interiors). In 1905-1906, however, the Daily Times relocated to a newly-built structure adjacent and attached to the Zerwekh Building.

A lost landmark of downtown Pekin, the Old Times Building — originally the Zerwekh Building — was the home of the Pekin Daily Times from 1906 to 2012. The building was demolished six years ago, in Oct. 2013.

After Albert Zerwekh’s death, his two sons carried on the business for another two or three decades. Other businesses and organizations also occupied the Zerwekh Building during this time, such as the Masonic Lodge and Noel Funeral Home (antecedent of Henderson Funeral Home), as well as attorneys and insurance agents.

For a while a vaudeville theater operated in the space that later would become the office of Times owner and publisher F.F. McNaughton. In the early 1920s, when the Daily Times was owned by Ku Klux Klan Grand Titan Oscar W. Friedrich, the hall on the second floor (which is now the Times newsroom) reportedly was used by the KKK for recruiting socials. In the 1930s, it was a popular venue for young people in town, serving as a dance hall where bands provided live music.

After the Zerwekh brothers closed their business and left Pekin, in 1941 F.F. McNaughton, who had come to the Times in 1927, bought the Zerwekh Building. The Times operations thus spread into the first floor area where the bakery and confectionary had been. At the same time, McNaughton installed a rotary printing press in the basement. That press served the paper until the summer of 1971, when a new offset printing press was installed in the Times press room – a part of the building that had been added in 1905-1906.

Under the McNaughton family, the Daily Times was established as a pillar and bulwark of the community and Pekin’s civic life. McNaughton died Dec. 29, 1981. The family sold the Times that year to Howard Publications of California. In 2000 the newspaper was sold to Liberty Group, now known as GateHouse Media Inc. and soon to become Gannet Co.

With the advance of years have come technological advances that have transformed how newspapers are printed and published. The rise of the Internet also has had a severe impact on newspaper circulation numbers. Together, these trends have led to staff reductions and consolidation of operations across the industry. That is why, although it was still produced in Pekin, the Times has been printed on the GateHouse press in the Peoria Journal Star building for several years. The last run of the 1971 offset press was in Sept. 2007, and the press was sold and parted out earlier in 2012.

The next major change for the Pekin Daily Times came the weekend of Aug. 25-26, 2012, when the newspaper returned to Court Street, specifically 306 Court St., a few blocks west of its pre-1906 location. In the seven years following that move, the Pekin Daily Times operated from the former Rick’s TV and Appliance building, built by Rick Woith in 1989. In September, the Times newsroom and production of the newspaper were relocated to the Journal Star Building in Peoria.

Looking ahead to the fate of the Old Times Building, in January 2012 the Daily Times reported:

“GateHouse Media Inc., which owns the Daily Times, sold the current Daily Times building to Tazewell County for $255,000 in September 2011, after the paper had been trying for years to unload the historic yet deteriorating and drafty old building. With staff reductions over the years, the building became too big for the paper’s space needs. The county intends to raze the building, along with the building next door, to create a county parking lot.”

The Old Times Building succumbed to the wrecking ball on Oct. 7, 2013.

#albert-zerwekh, #f-f-mcnaughton, #gannet-co, #gatehouse-media-inc, #howard-publications-of-california, #kkk, #ku-klux-klan, #liberty-group, #noel-funeral-home, #oscar-w-friedrich, #pekin-daily-times, #pekin-masonic-lodge, #peoria-journal-star, #rick-woith, #ricks-tv-and-appliance, #times-building, #timothies-interiors, #zerwekh-building

A relic of Pekin’s railroad past

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Now that we’ve completed our series reprinting F. F. McNaughton’s daily dispatches relating the Pekin Kiwanis Club’s weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., in June 1932, it’s an ideal occasion to turn our attention to the mode of transportation by which the Kiwanians got from Pekin to Washington.

The Kiwanis Club members and their families back then were carried to and from the nation’s capital by passenger train. McNaughton mentioned in his editorial columns that they took “the Alton” to Chicago, and then “the B & O” to Washington. “The Alton” was the Chicago & Alton Railroad, while “the B & O” – a name that Monopoly-players will recognize – was the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. In the days before the construction of the interstate highway system, rail was Americans’ preferred method of long-distance cross country travel.

Shown here is an old train schedule for the Chicago & Alton Railroad for Dec. 2, 1923.  The Alton depot in Pekin was located near the intersection of Broadway and 14th streets. A few years ago the depot -- no longer in use after since the rails were pulled up -- was relocated about a quarter-mile further east on Broadway. IMAGE COURTESY OF BOB CARROLL

Shown here is an old train schedule for the Chicago & Alton Railroad for Dec. 2, 1923. The Alton depot in Pekin was located near the intersection of Broadway and 14th streets. A few years ago the depot — no longer in use after since the rails were pulled up — was relocated about a quarter-mile further east on Broadway. IMAGE COURTESY OF BOB CARROLL

Shown here are the old routes of the Chicago & Alton Railroad in December 1923.  IMAGE COURTESY OF BOB CARROLL

Shown here are the old routes of the Chicago & Alton Railroad in December 1923. IMAGE COURTESY OF BOB CARROLL

The Alton Depot in Pekin was often known in town simply as “the Pekin Depot.” It was located near the intersection of Broadway and 14th. Even years after passenger rail travel ended in Pekin and the old tracks were pulled up, the Alton Depot still stood in its place as a reminder of days gone by. When the historic structure was threatened by the construction of a new Walgreens, the depot was preserved for future generations by being relocated about a quarter-mile east on Broadway.

Shown here is the old Pekin depot of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. Photo donated Jan. 2017 by Bob Carroll.

Shown here is the old Pekin depot of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. Photo donated Jan. 2017 by Bob Carroll

The old Alton Depot is historic not only because it served so many travelers leaving from or coming to Pekin over the years (such as the Pekin Kiwanians who toured Washington, D.C., in 1932), but in particular because it was the scene of Pekin’s first presidential campaign whistle stop on Nov. 4, 1932. On that date, President Herbert Hoover, racing at a feverish pace across the country in a valiant but ultimately vain attempt to secure reelection, made a disappointingly quick stop at the Alton Depot. His train was running late that day, so he barely had time to say, “Ladies and gentlemen,” before the train pulled away, making it necessary for several Pekinites to race down the track in order to try to give bouquets of flowers to the First Lady.

for the last few weeks, President Hoover’s whistle stop has been featured in a display in the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room, along with articles and mementos on President Abraham Lincoln’s Pekin connections and the Pekin visits of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and Vice President George H. W. Bush. The display will be exhibited through the end of this month.

President Herbert Hoover's campaign whistle stop at the Alton depot in Pekin in 1932 has been featured in a exhibit on Pekin's "presidential" connections that has been on display in the Pekin Public Library's Local History Room this month.

President Herbert Hoover’s campaign whistle stop at the Alton depot in Pekin in 1932 has been featured in a exhibit on Pekin’s “presidential” connections that has been on display in the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room this month.

#alton-depot, #b-o-railroad, #chicago-alton-railroad, #f-f-mcnaughton, #herbert-hoover, #kiwanis-trip-to-washington, #pekin-kiwanis-club

Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘Here we are, home again’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The sixth and last of his daily log entries, written in Pekin after their return, was printed on the front page of the June 18 issue.

McNaughton’s trip log entries which we’ve reviewed over the past few weeks can help bring to life what life was like in America during the 1930s, when passenger travel by train was common. In the case of McNaughton’s final log, however, a couple passages in which he makes racially-charged if not racist remarks about African-Americans living in Washington, D.C., also help to remind us of the great changes and progress in attitudes regarding race since those days.

This final log entry here follows:

*****

YOO-HOO!

Well, here we are, home again. Two autoloads of friends met the boys and me at Bloomington, the grandparents from Texas having arrived while we were away. They had the best linen out at home and a three-course dinner waiting so the comedown from those dining car meals would not be too great, but at that we missed the finger bowls! However, we didn’t miss a swim in the greatest little pool this side of that one at the Naval Academy at Annapolis.

And did we need that swim, after two days and a night on a train, taking the dust and cinders as they came. I could lean over and shake my head and hear the cinders fall.

If you insist on the truth, I slept better on those improvised beds Thursday night than I did last night at home in my own bed. Why? Because of that gale. Wasn’t that some blow at 12:20 last night?

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Speaking of blows, we had one plan blow up. Our special was making such a good time westward bound that at Garrett, Ind., we got the consent of the dispatcher to roll right into the Grand Central station at Chicago 15 minutes early. We were to leave Chicago at 3 o’clock from the Union Depot, hooked onto the rear of the Lincoln Limited.

So we decided to parade up State street in Chicago during the 1 ¾ hours we had to wait. We found a piece of carboard (sic), and with a red lipstick and some blue ink we made a red, white, and blue banner. Art Kriegsman had furnished us a clan call the first night out – a loud, long drawn out “Yoo-Hoo,” pronounced, “You-Who.” Wherever a Tazewellite saw another in Washington, even if it was clean across the Capitol grounds, he would shout “Yoo-Hoo,” and the “Yoo-Hoos” that came from the hotel windows at 2 a. m. made the nights merry. So for the Chicago parade, we arranged that if anybody got lost, he was to start shouting “Yoo-Hoo” at the top of his lungs, which was to be the signal for all the rest of the Yoo-Hoos to rush to his rescue.

The minute we reached Chicago, we swung from the coaches to start our parade, when trainmen ran to halt us, telling us that instead of trailing us home on the Lincoln Limited, they were sending us along in a few minutes as a special. So Chicago missed a bigger parade than they had all during the G. O. P. convention – not to mention the “Yoo-Hoos” they missed.

Speaking of Art Kriegsman, there were 184 on the train besides Art and they are all for Art. He made the beds for the ladies, he carried drinks to the aged, he Yoo-Hooed for the weak lunged, and he made fun for everybody.

The most hilarious moment of the trip came at 3 o’clock yesterday morning. Art, sitting two seats away, saw Mrs. Arends rousing from a troubled sleep. Quickly Art put on some ugly spectacles and slipped into his mouth some hideous protruding teeth. Mrs. Arends, half awake, saw Art and thought she was having a nightmare. Shaking herself, she looked again and thought it was somebody whose false teeth were falling out; or maybe a fiend had gotten onto the train. At this moment, Art drew a cup of water and started toward Mrs. Arends with it.

“I don’t want anything. I don’t want ANYTHING! I DON’T WANT ANYTHING!” Mrs. Arends screamed till everybody in the car were sitting up, sharing her terror. Whereupon Art took his teeth out, emitted a loud “Yoo-Hoo” and moved on to the next car. There he found the crowd was trying to locate a dying calf which was bawling piteously. It turned out to be a hidden device that Bill Janssen had found in an oddity shop in Washington. You must hear that calf bawl; and if you’ll drop a penny in the tin cup, Art will Yoo-Hoo for you.

The crowd insisted on signing a Round Robin to be presented to the Kiwanis club, thanking them for the trip and expressing their amazement that so much could be given for $36. Really, everybody seemed to feel that they got their money’s worth.

At the end of this column, is a vote that I took on the homeward train of the things that folks liked best on the trip. Frances Towle followed me up with a vote on what folks were most disappointed in.

You will notice that the White House was an easy winner in the disappointment vote. This was, I think, because the President did not shake hands with us. They have had to tighten down on many things in Washington the last week because of the thousands of bonus marchers in the city. They were everywhere – hundreds upon hundreds of them. We even had to get a special permit thru Mr. Hull’s office to get into the bureau of engraving. So Mr. Hoover is not shaking hands just now. In fact, he and Mrs. Hoover were listening over the radio to his renomination at Chicago while we were wandering thru the famous east room, green, blue and red rooms, etc.

From the number of things that somebody gave first place, you will realize how different are human interests. Evidently the boys and I missed the second most interesting thing on the trip – the Annapolis Naval Academy. I wanted, too, to see the Cathedral where Wilson is buried. Of one thing I am glad – that is that Attorney Prettyman decided to extend the trip the extra day. The crowd wants the Kiwanis club to get up another such trip.

Here’s the vote on what the folk liked best:

Mt. Vernon … 43
Naval Academy … 36
Lincoln Memorial … 19
Capitol building … 12
Congress in action … 10
New museum … 6
Washington’s monument … 5
Bureau of engraving … 1
Old museum … 3
Pan-American building … 2
Congressional library … 2
White House … 2
Robert E. Lee’s home … 3
Arlington cemetery … 4
Flag parade … 1
Art gallery … 2
Allegheny mountains … 1
Eats … 1
Cathedral … 1
Zoo … 1
Monastery … 1
Ford theater … 1
Associations on train … 1

Quite a few could not make up their minds, and some of them (women) wanted to change their minds after they had first voted. They would!

Now here is Miss Towle’s list of disappointments:

White House … 42
Hotel … 15
Not seeing President … 6
Beds on train … 6
Pan-American building … 5
Ford theater … 5
Congressional library … 4
Bureau of engraving … 3
Harper’s Ferry … 3
Ladies’ clothes (museum) … 1
Pittsburgh … 1
Lighting on train … 1
Shopping district … 1
Too many Negroes … 1
Foreign legations … 1
Location of hotel … 1
G. A. R. building … 1
Red Cross building … 1
Not seeing cherry trees … 1
Train sickness … 1
Poor Annapolis guide … 1
Narrow streets … 1
Mountains … 1
Switching at Chicago … 1
Mt. Vernon … 1
Not seeing Old Ironsides … 1
Monument … 1
Free afternoon … 1
Not seeing mint … 1

It might be explained that there is no mint in Washington; and that Ironsides could be seen from the top of the Washington monument. Concerning the Negroes, I really wonder if they are going to take Washington over. It is a shame they ever started Washington so far to one edge of the nation. It ought to be out closer to the common run of folk. But it looks like it is there to stay. They are building constantly – are building now. There is vastly more to see now than there was 10 years ago. There will be more 10 years later; and if the Kiwanis club decides to put on another tour to Washington 10 years from now, I believe every person who was on this trip will advise you to take it in. Certainly I do.

#art-kriegsman, #f-f-mcnaughton, #frances-towle, #herbert-hoover, #kiwanis-trip-to-washington, #mrs-arends, #pekin-kiwanis-club, #racism

Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘Full of interesting scenery’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The fifth of his daily log entries, a letter written from Washington, D.C., was printed on the front page of the June 17 issue. This log entry follows below:

*****

Washington, D.C.
Wednesday night

Say, we’re so full of interesting scenery we’re dizzy tonight.

In five big busses in a caravan today we’ve been doing the countryside.

Couldn’t get in the house this a. m. – such a crowd of bonus men here.

But we went over to the senate with the bonus army overflow and heard a red hot catch-as-catch can debate between the eloquent young Hoosier, Senator Robinson, and unruffled Senator Reed of Pennsylvania on a veterans’ bill.

One of my boys whispered to ask me if they ever got into a fist fight.

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

At the museum we saw a locomotive over 10 years old and the very first autos, built 30 years ago; also stage coaches, early rail boats, and the like.

Oh, I must not forget the main thing in the old museum – Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. The boys looked long at that.

Then to the new museum to see Roosevelt’s animals. But we didn’t stay long there, because it does not compare with Field’s museum in Chicago.

This entire afternoon we’ve been traveling. Stopped at General Robert E. Lee’s home; Arlington cemetery; the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Alexandria, the gorgeous Lincoln Memorial and Mt. Vernon.

I’ve just asked the boys what they enjoyed the most today. Two of them pick Washington’s home. The other picks the debate in the senate.

Tomorrow we’ll climb the Washington monument. That’s where our binocs will come in best.

A busy forenoon tomorrow ends with a visit at the White House.

We know President Hoover is home because his flag was flying when we came by a bit ago.

Speaking of flying flags, we certainly saw them last night. Two hours of them as that flag day parade marched by with floats, Indians, drum corps, cowboys, crack bands, stage coaches, pretty girls as statues, Negro bands that sure made music, and hundreds of bonus marchers.

I wish we had time to run out to the ocean for a swim tomorrow, but I don’t see how we can figure it in.

P.S. – Tell Harry Herbig to save us a good swim in the pool. We’ll need it when we get home. Also tell Ceil if she’s not too busy to drift over to Bloomington to meet us at 5:40 Friday night.

#f-f-mcnaughton, #harry-herbig, #herbert-hoover, #kiwanis-trip-to-washington, #pekin-kiwanis-club

Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘She saw her husband die.’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The fourth of his daily log entries, a letter written from Washington, D.C., was printed on the front page of the June 16 issue. This log entry, which tells of how the Kiwanis tourists came to witness the shocking death of a Congressman on the floor of the House of Representatives, follows below:

*****

Tuesday night
Washington, D.C.

What a thrill the youngsters particularly are having tonight.

Under a brilliant moon we are in the resplendent city of Washington, called “the fair flower of the republic.”

One must see this city to appreciate it, and he must see it again if he has not seen it recently.

As I write this we are looking a quarter mile across the Union Depot plaza to the capitol – there the lights just then were turned on to flood the dome.

In the streets beneath are thousands of autos, threading these diagonally platted streets.

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

We got separated from the gang for a half day this p. m. My youngest lad, Dean, is a poor auto rider. That mountain climb not only got him upset, but the other two boys also. Joe couldn’t eat his breakfast. John ate his but he had to leave the dinner after each course and throw it up.

So I decided not to risk them on the long ride across Maryland to [microfilm damaged] to the hotel, jumped into tubs to clean up and hotfooted it across the plaza to the house to listen to the debate on the bonus. You’ve probably read in tonight’s Times what happened. Rep. Eslick of Tennessee dropped dead while making a speech for the bonus.

The house immediately was adjourned. Mrs. Eslick was in the gallery. She saw her husband die.

So we went over to the senate and saw Vice-President Curtis and some of the best known senators in action, then they too adjourned out of respect for Rep. Eslick.

We then dropped in at Congressman Hull’s office and were received with every courtesy. I think I’ll be dropping back in there to write my letter to you tomorrow. It takes me too long to write by long hand.

There, the boys say I must be going.

There’s a huge parade on tonight. Washington’s great annual flag day parade. We can hear the bands coming up Pennsylvanian avenue now.

After that we’re going to the Fox theater then call it a day – and what a day!

P.S. It is plenty cool here tonight.

Pekin Kiwanis Club tourists witnessed the death of Congressman Edward E. Eslick of Tennessee, who was felled by a massive heart attack on June 15, 1932, on the floor of the House of Representatives while he was delivering an impassioned speech in favor of a bill that would allow World War I veterans who were suffering due to the Great Depression to cash in their service bonus certificates early. Eslick's death was reported on page 4, column 2, of the June 15 Pekin Daily Times, and also was commented on by Times publisher F. F. McNaughton in a letter he wrote from Washington, D.C., that was published June 16.

Pekin Kiwanis Club tourists witnessed the death of Congressman Edward E. Eslick of Tennessee, who was felled by a massive heart attack on June 15, 1932, on the floor of the House of Representatives while he was delivering an impassioned speech in favor of a bill that would allow World War I veterans who were suffering due to the Great Depression to cash in their service bonus certificates early. Eslick’s death was reported on page 4, column 2, of the June 15 Pekin Daily Times, and also was commented on by Times publisher F. F. McNaughton in a letter he wrote from Washington, D.C., that was published June 16.

#dean-mcnaughton, #eslicks-sudden-death, #f-f-mcnaughton, #john-t-mcnaughton, #kiwanis-trip-to-washington, #pekin-kiwanis-club, #vice-president-charles-curtis

Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘Letter from Pittsburgh’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The third of his daily log entries, a letter written from the train in Pittsburgh, Pa., arrived too late to appear in the June 15, 1932 Pekin Daily Times, so it was printed on page 4 of the June 16 issue. This log entry, which concludes with a 1930s version of snapping a picture of one’s meal and sharing it on social media, follows below:

*****

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pittsburgh, Pa.,
June 14, 1932

This letter is being written from Pittsburgh. Don’t get it confused with the messages which are wired.

It is the morning after the first night on the train.

Some of them, I think, didn’t sleep so well.

You see, at Chicago they hooked on two more coaches – one loaded with Peoria teachers and the other empty. We had that empty spotted and got first choice of the center seats in it.

Across from John T. and me slept Karl King and Paul Hannig. And across from Joe and Dean slept Maurice Moss and Milton Taylor. Maurice is the lad who won his trip by getting the most new subscribers to the Times. I think he deserves a prize as the best sleeper, too. He slept eight hours, with only a five-minute interruption at Akron.

By fixing the seats as I had described, we had good beds in which we could sleep full length. Our gang got the first pillows that the porter came thru with, so we were fixed.

I should have explained that the Pekin cars are on the tail end of this train. Then TWO diners. Then our coach and the Peoria teachers ahead. Some of the more alert of the teachers, as they came thru to dinner, discovered “our gang” with a coach to itself, so they promptly moved in.

They had a different technique. They hadn’t brought all their glamorous new pajamas just for girls to see. They promptly donned their new silk sleeping duds, asked us to show them how to fix their beds, and they added much color to our car – so much, in fact that when news of our harem got back “beyond the diners” we had quite a few callers. I won’t mention [microfilm damaged] Paul Schermer’s wife wouldn’t let him come up.

Being discoverers and homesteaders of our coach we sort of assumed authority. At 8:30 we set our watches ahead to 9:30. I got unanimous consent for lights out, and after a couple girls in the front end had had a smoke we bedded down for the night.

Most of us wakened at Youngstown, and before we were far into Pennsylvania, the entire car was arousing. Ablutions begin at 3:30 Pekin time. It doesn’t take boys long to wash the front of their faces, but it takes a woman forever, so we loaned them our wash room too.

Knowing the mob would be up early, the dining car crew prepared at daybreak. The first call for breakfast came at 4:30 Pekin time. The tables were immediately filled by Tazewell county folk from B. D. (back of the diners). That makes me think maybe they didn’t sleep so well back there.

But I don’t blame them for crowding toward the diner. Read what we had for dinner last night:

Fruit cocktail, celery, assorted olives, soup, puree of green peas, rye croutons, consommé, hot or jellied, broiled fresh fish, parsley sauce, roast whole boned squab, chicken Parisienne, browned potatoes, string beans, Dixie salad dressing (lettuce, tomatoes, golden bantam corn, green peppers), rolls, muffins, berry roll, wine sauce, fruit meringue with whipped cream, cheese and crackers, coffee, hot or iced, Kaffee Hag, Instant Postum, Tea, hot or iced, milk, buttermilk.

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