1923 Missourian stories deliver differences, similarities

By Linda Emley

Due to the wonderful response from my grocery store article, I’m collecting stories for a follow-up article coming in the near future. Please keep the stories coming.
Yesterday I was reading a January 1923 Richmond Missourian newspaper and found this ad for the East End Grocery Store. “We Take Orders Carefully! Our Stock – the finest possible at the lowest prices – enables us to fill your grocery order most satisfactory, whether it be an ounce of tea or a sack of flour. It’s a service, we believe,  you’ll like. Prices, too, make this a most inviting place to trade. EAST END GROCERY. Phone 69. East Main St.”
Things sure have changed since 1923. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your groceries delivered right to your front door?
I found some other interesting things in the 1923 newspaper. As always, some of the articles could have been written in 2013, but others truly belonged in the newspaper 90 years ago.
“Great Picture Coming. Manager F.G. Weary of the Farris Theatre announced the first of the week that he had booked the picture, ‘Omar, the Tentmaker,’ a motion picture adaptation of the famous play by the same name, by Guy Bates. The picture will run in Richmond on Feb. 22 and 23.
“New Bakery Opened. ‘Betty Anne’ Bread Is Specially Baked By Messrs, Wade and Bell. The Wade & Bell Bakery, located in one of the new buildings erected last fall on East Main Street, was opened for business Saturday when the first baking of bread was put out. The firm will specialize in baking ‘Betty Anne’ light bread, which has been put on sale at practically all of the grocery stores in the city. In addition to their bread baking, they will have a full line of pastries. Both of the members of the firm are well-known people of Richmond, with the reputation of being fine bakers, so their success in their business venture is assumed. The equipment that they installed is of the latest type obtainable, and is such as is used by the large baking plants in Kansas City.”
“Ford Records Smashing. Prosperity continues in Ray County, judging from the recent sales record made by the Sam F. Baker Ford Agency of this city, with a branch in Hardin. In the eight and a half months that Mr. Baker has been in business in Richmond, he has sold 352 Ford cars. His biggest month’s business so far was that of December –usually a quiet month in motordom – when 61 new and 38 used cars were sold. The late summer months are usually considered the best for motor sales, but August with 55 cars sold, fell short of the month just ending. The sales record made by Mr. Baker and his force breaks all past records for motor car sales in Ray County, and this record in turn will probably be broken in the near future.”
There was an ad next to this article that gave the price of used cars. A 1922 Ford, 1-ton truck with cab and body was only $300. If you wanted a closed car, you could buy a 1921 Ford Coupe in excellent shape for $325.
So how many cars were in Ray County? Per the Richmond Missourian, there were 2,977 autos in 1922. That would be one car for every 6 people. That figure was up from 1921 where there were 2,584 cars in Ray County.
Another fun article was about the local golf club. “Golf Club Improves. Extensive improvements in the Richmond Golf Club are being planned, according to Jess Dugger. New greens are being made, as well as other changes that will materially improve the course.”
I don’t play golf, but I do enjoy our Richmond golf course every Friday when I have lunch with the Richmond Rotary at the clubhouse. It is so peaceful to look out over our modern-day golf course. I am sure the guys of 1923 Richmond would marvel at our course if they could see it now.
“New Fire Truck Here. The fire truck, purchased several months ago from the city of Lexington, was received in Richmond Friday, and during the day was tested out. The truck, which is more powerful than the former Ford truck used by the fire department, is better adapted to use in Richmond, as more hose can be carried than on the old truck. The truck purchased by Richmond was replaced in Lexington by a $10,000 truck, due to the low water pressure in the Lexington system.”
And now I’ve saved the best for last. Our current Richmond News has given us regular updates on the “Keeney Creek” project that has been going on near Orrick. Well it looks like the citizens of Ray County got to hear all about it in 1923, too.
“Begin Ditching. Work on Keeney Creek Drainage Ditch Was Started Monday Morning. The work of digging the drainage ditch for the Keeney Creek Drainage District, near Orrick, was started Monday, according to information received at the Missourian office the first of the week. The task of digging the big ditch, which will improve several thousand acres of tillable land, will require several months. The big ditch will be dug by means of a power shovel, while the lateral ditches will be made by teams and scrapers.”
A few days later, there was another update. “BEGIN DITCHING. Work on Keeney Creek Drainage District Project Started, Jan. 15. The big ditching machine, which is being used to cut out the ditch for the Keeney Creek Drainage District, has been unloaded at Orrick is now moving the dirt for the ditch, the Orrick Times reports.
“The machine is a gasoline power shovel and moves a yard of dirt a time when filled. Little difficulty is experienced in excavating the soil in the Orrick bottom, so that the work is progressing very rapidly. The contractors have started the ditching on the south end of the district, and are working north. The ditch at the south end is to be 20 feet wide at the bottom, 40 feet wide at the top, with 100 from levee to levee. C.E. Clark & Co. of Mound City, Kan., the contractors, expect to have the work completed by April 1.”
After reading this, I had to see if the Keeney Creek project of 1923 got finished on time. I went to the April Missourian and didn’t see anything but I did find some other cool stories.
“Legion Carnival Soon. The week of April 30 has been set for the street carnival to be given in Richmond under the auspices of Griffith Post of the American Legion. The Gold Medal Shows, which showed here last year, are coming to Richmond again this year, The carnival will be held on the streets around the square.”
“Richmond Takes New Start. The Missourian calls attention to the new start, the fresh start that Richmond as a business town is taking in reviving anew the local Chamber of Commerce, by electing Captain Cecil M. Farris as full-time secretary. Richmond merits maintaining a permanent community organization.”
Finally, in the May 17 Richmond Missourian I found the answer: “Keeney Ditch Completed. The work of digging the ditch for the Keeney Creek district was completed several days ago, the Orrick Times stated in its recent issue. The big ditching machine is now deepening and widening the channel of Keeney creek through the Sam Vance farm. When the work is completed, the creek will be open from the north of the Isom Turner farm, north of Albany, to the north line of West Creason’s farm, south of Orrick.”
There is my new favorite Ray County word – “Albany.” And so another story ends because it is time for me to get back to my day job of working on our Civil War re-enactment of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Albany in Ray County.
I am working on a story for the newspaper in the other Albany, Mo. I am going to invite everyone to come to our Battle of Albany. I’ve heard they have been getting some calls about when the battle is, so I want to make sure they know where the other Albany was. I’m planning a trip to visit them in the next few weeks and see some of the sites around Albany. I’m going to hang up a few fliers telling them all about us because it is never too early to advertise.

Have a story for Linda? Email her at - east end grocer

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