|The following items were written to be included in the
book but had to omitted due to lack of space.
Sports History p. 154
Sports History ??
(Editor's Note: Gloucester's sports history is extensive enough to
warrant at least a full chapter in any book. However, the facts are very
difficult to obtain. More than three months of research hardly scratched
the surface because the true history of the city's sports and athletes
is in the hands of the many individuals who participated in them over
the years. Two articles in the Gloucester City News requesting the
assistance of residents brought absolutely no response. A complete
history of sports must still be written--it too important and too
interesting to ignore. Any individual or group that has records, news
clippings, photographs, programs or any other
The gaiety of the 1890's was interrupted by a brief but important war that put the United States into the category of being a major world power. A number of Gloucester men answered the call to "liberate" Cuba from Spanish cruelty and to help the nation assume its role of protector of the brown brothers of the Philippines. Those who volunteered to serve during the Spanish American War were:
(The flagship of Admiral Dewey, the Olympia, is berthed just across
the river in Philadelphia and is open to the public.)
IN THE NEWS
Assistant chief of the Gloucester City Fire Department James Gilmore;
Arthur William Kees, manager of the Apollo Theatre; Clarence Kaplan,
Ninety-five congressmen were in this city last Saturday and few
residents or politicians knew it, and maybe it was better for the
congressmen, in view of the Democratic success nationally.
This city did not escape the fury of the 90 mile-per-hour tornado,
accompanied by a severe electric and rain storm of cloud burst
proportions on Monday afternoon, which did considerable damage
throughout the city.
Anyone who talked about Gloucester can crawl into a corner because
Gloucester is to be honored...yep, in a most unusual way, for Gloucester
LIFE IN THE THIRTIES
The Great Depression, which hit with full force in early 1930, was the most difficult period economically to be faced by Gloucester and its citizens. The nearly 14,000 residents of the town were basically blue collar workers who lost their jobs as factories cut back or closed. This in turn affected the small businessmen and the professionals. But Gloucesterites are hardy people who pull together in difficult times.
While many cities had soup lines and apple sellers on every corner, this did not occur in Gloucester. Since there were no unemployment benefits, social security, or state and federal welfare programs, some aid was provided by the city. This usually was coal for winter heat, some staples such as lard and flour, and shoes for children who turned in an outgrown or out-worn pair.
Typical of the many generous people of the town who found various ways to help those less fortunate were three women. Mary Ethel and Margaret Costello, former principals of the elementary schools, started a breakfast program for those children who were most needy. Apparently the Costello sisters were using their own money for the breakfast food. Another unsung heroine Mrs. Charles Brennan, Sr. Families hit by illness were often surprised by an unexpected delivery of coal and a basket of groceries. It is doubtful that many, if any, of the recipients knew the name of the donor.
Some of the underemployed and unemployed found ways to earn money to help their families survive. Many became door-to-door peddlers, selling seeds, nuts, shoe laces, dish cloths, clothes props, and many other small items. Women made things to be sold. Those who knew something about fruits and vegetables would load pushcarts, wagons, and other vehicles and became hucksters. Others raised plants and flowers and sold them on street corners or to wholesalers. One man sold his services as a neighborhood watchman. It may be that the people of the area did not need a watchman, but they were so impressed by his initiative that he obtained a number of clients. The people were quite satisfied with the service provided as the man very conscientiously patrolled the neighborhood every night.
Frustration with the situation led many people to join various demonstrations and marches. Although none of these occurred locally, several veterans joined the ill-fated bonus march to Washington. Workers at New York Shipyard, attempting to organize a union to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions, staged an important and sometimes bitter strike in 1935. Women and children also joined the picket lines to bring attention to the situation. Local businessmen were seriously affected by the strike which made them realize how important the shipyard was to Gloucester's economy.
City and school employees faced a different kind of problem. Because money to pay their salaries was obtained through property taxes and many people were unable to pay these taxes, the city paid them, at least in part, in scrip. The scrip, a form of I.O.U., could be used to pay taxes. Some local businessmen would take the scrip for groceries, coal, or other items and use it to pay their taxes. A few local people who owned several properties would exchange the scrip for cash.
One high school senior class had a unique memory of the Depression. Because of the financial situation, they could not afford a printed yearbook but did not want to eliminate the Blue and Gold completely. Consequently a mimeographed yearbook was published. Each senior brought enough copies of a photograph to school to give one to every other senior. Packets of photos were made up and then each senior pasted the photos in the spaces provided.
On the other hand, Gloucester did benefit from the Depression. A
number of streets, especially in Gloucester Heights, were paved, sewer
lines were laid, city Hall was built, and a large gymnasium was added to
the high school through the assistance of various government programs.
Many Gloucesterites got jobs with the W.P.A., went to one of the CCC
camps, or benefited from one of the many other programs. Times were
tough, but there was no time to sit around complaining or to demonstrate
for free medical care, food stamps, or increases in welfare payments.
Those things did not exist. But more importantly, the individualistic
people of Gloucester were too busy trying to survive and to remain
THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME
When the summer heat causes people to wilt and to feel constantly thirsty, many young people beg their moms to let them sell ice cold drinks, water ice or snow balls. The Little League Ladies Auxiliary does a booming business in snow balls when they open the stands at games. But how many of today's sellers and buyers of ice for these summer refreshers know who started the first ice company in Gloucester?
Resigning his job as a clerk at the Washington Mills, George Wilson became the first "ice man" when he built an ice house along Newton Creek, east of Broadway. During the winter George cut the ice in the meadow along the creek. With the arrival of warm weather, George could be seen going through the town delivering his ice to butcher shops, taverns, and homes where residents had ice boxes.
At the time snow balls made their appearance in Gloucester, ice was
selling at five cents for 100 pounds. The young people who could
convince parents to invest in an assortment of flavors to operate a
business sold the snowballs for one cent. Even using a very liberal
amount of flavorings and allowing for a certain amount of loss by
melting, the young seller could make a handsome profit on a hot summer
day as he pulled a wagon through the streets and yelled, "SNOW
BALLS ONE CENT!"
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