Columbus Indiana: A Day In The Life

 

This is a series of very short "articles" that appeared in the Columbus Republican and Evening Republican newspaper (now known as the Republic) from the late 1800's. Some are informative, and some are just down right comical. But, with that said, the purpose here is to show what living day by day was like in a time period that not many of us can envision today. If we walk along the downtown sidewalks, and stop at intersections, waiting for the lights to change, it's hard to imagine Columbus downtown streets dusty dirt in the summer and mud in the winter. It's hard to imagine that, instead of cars, horses and cows once roamed along Washington Street. It's hard for us to imagine that city streetlights were gas-lit, when installed, and someone had to walk the streets night after night and light them, only to return and put them out at daybreak. I don't imagine I'll ever be able to enjoy the thrill of seeing a horse-drawn water wagon accompanied with thundering hoofbeats down one of the local streets, hell-bent on getting to the scene of a fire as fast as possible. I will never be witness to women in long dresses and come-alongs lifting their skirts to cross a muddy street and the look of disgust that must have been scored on their faces.

 

It was, indeed, a very different time... 

 

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I. Hodgson, architect of the new Court House, paid his weekly visit to this place on Monday, to watch the progress of the building...Columbus Republican, Thursday, July 18, 1872

Numerous complaints have been made by ladies against the sprinkling of street crossings and sidewalks because long dresses can not be worn on the streets without being bedraggled. Bachelors who prefer comfort to fashion suggest tucks...Columbus Republican, Thursday, July 18, 1872

The J. M. & I. Railroad will carry passengers at excursion rates on the day of Barnum's Great Show at Columbus, from Retreat on the south and Amity on the north, to Columbus...Columbus Republican, Thursday, July 18, 1872

Clean out your alleys and back yards. Steps were taken by the Council on Thursday night which, it is to be hoped, will diminish the odors and add to the healthfulness of the city...Columbus Republican, Thursday, July 18, 1872

Messrs. George Pence and E. E. Matthews, being young and festive and something of politicians, concluded they would celebrate the result of the Gubernatorial election by a wheel-barrow ride to be enjoyed by the one whose candidate was successful and furnished by the other. It came off Monday evening and George rode. The line of hauling was from the residence of Mrs. Pence along Washington street to the Greeley pole...Columbus Republican, Saturday, October 26, 1872

We learn that the contractors of the Cincinnati and Terre Haute Railroad intend putting a force of men on the line between Columbus and Greensburg in a few days, and that it is expected the road will be in active operation between these two points by the 1st of January...Columbus Republican, Saturday, October 26, 1872

A number of new hats, gloves, overcoats, and other articles of clothing are worn on the street. They are mostly Republicans who wear them...Columbus Republican, Saturday, October 26, 1872

It is thought the walls of the new Court House will be very nearly, if not quite completed to the top of the second story, by the end of the week, and the main part of the building will be ready for roofing by that time...Columbus Republican, Saturday, October 26, 1872

The people of Columbus have missed securing another very important addition to their industries in the Madison Starch Factory, which we learn is to be located at Indianapolis...Columbus Republican, Thursday, October 31, 1872

Of you don't beleefe me, yust kom und see me. I can get you up an oyster stew for 40 cents--W. H. Doll...Columbus Republican, Thursday, October 31, 1872

There was shown us the other evening one of the finest ears of corn we have ever seen. It came from the farm of Mr. Archie McEwen near Columbus, and it is said there are many others of the same size in the field...Columbus Republican, Thursday, November 7, 1872

One of Joe Wooley's horses stepped on his foot Saturday, inflicting a painful wound...Daily Evening Republican, Monday, May 2, 1881

Clarence W. Adams and Co. have removed their drug and prescription store to No. 322 Washington street, next door to the Trade Palace, and invite all their old customers and all others who want anything in the drug line to call at their new quarters...Daily Evening Republican, Monday, May 2, 1881

The Clippers and the Columbus Nine are the names of two base-ball clubs in Columbus, composed of young ladies. For audacity the Columbus girls take the cake...Daily Evening Republican, Monday, May 2, 1881

The attention of contractors and builders is called to the advertisement of Isaac T. Brown, in another column, calling for sealed proposals for the erection of a three-story brick building on Washington Street...Daily Evening Republican, Tuesday, May 3, 1881

The showers of yesterday and day before have made the sidewalks and street crossings fearfully sloppy. With the enterprise and taste manifested by the citizens of Columbus in matters of public improvement, it is remarkably strange that they do not awaken to the fact that they have the worst sidewalks of any town of the size in the state...Daily Evening Republican, Tuesday, May 3, 1881

Simeon Boaz, the newly elected president of the Bartholomew County Agriculture Society, in his speech before that body yesterday, took decided grounds against allowing gambling or dancing tents upon the fair grounds, and emphasized his remarks by saying that he would resign rather than permit the continuance of these practices...Daily Evening Republican, Tuesday, May 3, 1881

Martin Rothrock, who lives in the neighborhood of Clifford, became intoxicated last night and attempted to make a bed on the floor of the waiting room at the Seventh street depot, when he was arrested by Policeman Vanosdol and lodged in jail. He was brought before Mayor Stader this morning and fined $12, including costs. Not being provided with that sum, he went to jail...The Evening Republican, Friday, July 5, 1889

At the Gospel temperance meeting held yesterday, expressions of thanks were tendered the mayor and city council for raising the saloon license fee to the highest limit...The Evening Republican, Monday, July 8, 1889

Frank Pancake has rented of John Crump the west room in the Arcade opera house building, in which he will open out a fine saloon about the first week in September. The room will be handsomely furnished and a complete and good stock of liquors kept on hand. The Bissell hotel saloon, which he is now running, has been disposed of to Len Hackney...The Evening Republican, Thursday, August 1, 1889

The programmes for Crump's theater opening will be perfumed with "Marvel of Peru" perfumery by Theo E. Otto, the druggist...The Evening Republican, Tuesday, October 29, 1889

More of our citizens are taking down their fences and making their lawns open, adding greatly to the appearance of their property. It would be a difficult matter to find anyone who now favored letting cows run at large...The Evening Republican, Monday, November 11, 1889

A large steer being driven up Washington Street last Saturday evening deliberately walked into the drug store of Fred Brown, in the old post office building (where Cummins Bookstore is today). Some men on the sidewalk opened the door, and without any trouble, the animal turned around and walked out, doing no damage...The Evening Republican, Monday, January 6, 1890

The heavy rains caused a light attendance at the churches last night...The Evening Republican, Monday, January 6, 1890

The greatest loss sustained by Columbus for some time is that of the pulley works. Although at present, they only work a small force of hands and have no building of their own, the outlook for this factory is very bright. It is destined to become one of the great industries in the state. Machinists say that wood pulleys are to take the place of iron, and that the Reeves split pulley is far superior to any other in the market. Had we secured this plant, it would, in a short time, have been the largest of our industries. Why did we let this prize get away? The reason is plain enough. Our citizens who have the means and who would have been the most benefited did not give the company the proper encouragement. The people of Kokomo showed by their actions that they wanted the works, and Columbus people, by their lack of interest, that they did not care. This loss should at least teach us a lesson. If we can not secure the pulley works, we should secure something else. Our suggestion is that the capitalists of this city organize a company and create an industry, or, indeed, more than one. One trouble with our city is that many of our capitalists have too little confidence in their own business ability. They have more confidence in the ability of their mortgagee to handle their money than they have in their own ability to make investments...The Evening Republican, Tuesday, April 1, 1890

The flag is out locating the cases of scarlet fever on Eighth Street between Pearl and Mechanic at the residence of Mr. Smith Abbett. The greatest care should be taken, and every citizen should aid in preventing the spread of this disease...The Evening Republican, Tuesday, April 1, 1890

The management of Crump's Theater, at a small expense, could hire a policeman large enough to throw a few hoodlums who occupy seats in the balcony out of the window. This ought to be. Men who have not respect enough to act decently should not be permitted to visit public entertainments...The Evening Republican, Thursday, April 3, 1890

The New City Hospital The large brick residence at No. 720 Franklin street, recently purchased by Dr. A. J. Banker to be used as a city hospital, has been remodeled and placed in a first-class condition, and is today open to the doctor's patients. The first floor of the building will be occupied by Mrs. Julia Morledge as a residence, who will act as matron and have general management of the building. There are now seven rooms and a large hall on the second floor of this building. All the windows have been supplied with the latest improvements for ventilating purposes, with inside and outside blinds. In addition to the rooms mentioned, there is an operating room, a bath room and a wash room, in all of which there is both hot and cold water, which can be used at will. The hospital recently in use by Dr. Banker in the rear of his office on Washington street will be abandoned. When completed, this building will be an ornament to that part of the city, and not easily distinguished from a residence in that locality, as one of the chief objects has been to have the institution appear pleasant, home-like, and attractive...The Evening Republican, July 8, 1890

There were 365 persons applied for teacher's licenses in this county from June 1, 1889, to June 1, 1890. Of this number, seventy-five passed and 290 failed. Of the number that passed, about eighty per cent received six and twelve month license...The Evening Republican, Tuesday, July 8, 1890

The street railroad will be graded today as far as Washington and Eleventh streets. The ties are being placed in the excavation as rapidly as it is made. The rails will be placed in the track by the middle of next week, then the line will be ready for the cars...The Evening Republican, Friday, July 25, 1890

If there has ever been any doubt in the mind of anyone as to the ability of Scott & Lyle to push a contract of railroad building, that doubt can be expelled at once. In the putting down of the street railway in this city, they are proving themselves to be hustlers...The Evening Republican, Wednesday, August 6, 1890

The county commissioners and the street and alley committee of this city council will visit the Harris stone quarries near Greensburg next Wednesday...The Evening Republican, Monday, August 11, 1890

For several days, two families who wander about the country have been in camp on the river bank at the west end of Fourth street. It appears that they all got drunk on Saturday night and continued in that condition all of yesterday and finally wound up their spree this morning with an all-around fight. A rumor reached Washington street early this morning that one of the number, a woman, had been killed. The injured woman, however, was seen at 7 a.m. at the mayor's office, where she had come to file an affidavit against another woman of the camp for assault and battery. She had a broken nose and her face was badly scratched up. The entire party was notified to leave the city at once...The Evening Republican, Monday, August 11, 1890

Columbus Fuel and Ice Co. sell coal as low as the lowest, 429 Fourth street...The Evening Republican, Monday, September 15, 1890

Much More To Come!