Highlights from the
100 Years Ago
January 3, 1921
THREE ESCAPED PRISONERS CAPTURED— Three men who participated in a jail break from the reformatory at Buena Vista early yesterday morning were apprehended by Sheriff Harry Schraeder late yesterday afternoon and were lodged in jail where they will await the coming of deputies from the institution who are expected to arrive here on No. 15 this morning.
Schraeder was notified of the escape at about 6:30 yesterday morning, but his informant was unable to give descriptions other than that one of the men was very pale complexioned because of a recent illness, and that another of the trio was wearing an army overcoat. At the time of the telephone conversation the clerk who was notifying Schraeder was practically alone in the office, every other available employe of the institution having been drawn in on the search for the prisoners. The man told Schraeder that the break must have occurred during the night, and that the job done by the men was "a good one.”
Schraeder went to Malta soon after the call and obtained information that three men who were riding the rails had left the westbound train No. 3 there. Schraeder found the point where the men had alighted from the train and could easily distinguish the tracks of three men, two pairs of tracks being made by pointed English walking shoes and the other by a round-toed shoe. The tracks left Malta and headed for Leadville. The sheriff says that he followed them until they became lost on the road and then returned to Malta for his car. A careful search about the city yesterday finally resulted in the discovery of the men in a partly furnished house near the Rio Grande depot. A fire was burning merrily in the stove and mattresses spread on the floor indicated to the sheriff that the men were evidently planning on spending the night there in comfort.
After they were taken to the jail the men admitted readily that they were the ones that were being sought by the reformatory officials. One of the trio is said to have served time in the Oklahoma penitentiary and still faces a term at that place on another charge. The men’s names are G. R. Sark, C. M. Spiney and J. M. Snow. It is probable that they will be returned to Buena Vista on No. 2 this morning.
GAMBLING TABLES CONFISCATED—The only addition made to the city jail yesterday was occasioned by the arrival of a roulette table and a crap table, which Sheriff Harry Schraeder confiscated as the result of his raid on Mike’s Place late Sunday night. The tables now repose in the garage just back of the jail, awaiting final disposition. It is recalled that not long ago similar trophies of a much larger raid were burned at the city dumps, in spite of the plea of the manual training instructor of the city schools that the fine wood in the tables could be used to advantage by the pupils in his department. Just what will be done with these latest prizes is not known, but it is hoped by many that these reminders of the “good old days” in Leadville will not suffer the same fate as their predecessors.
City Greets New Year
With Merry Bells
“Nineteen nineteen, the aged and decrepit old year faded away into the past at midnight last night with the wailing of every whistle in the community singing its ‘swan song,’” said the Herald Democrat a year ago today, and following was an account of the “quiet” year that had just passed away to the joy of all Leadvillites who were confidently looking forward to 1920 with the greatest of hopes. Much the same story remains to be told again at this New Year’s Day with the only difference being the degree of relief felt at the close of the year and the anxiety and hope with which 1921 is awaited. Conditions during the past year according to all records were even quieter than in the year preceding, and the necessity for better times is correspondingly greater now than then.
Just a few minutes before twelve whistles and bells about the city began their welcome of the fast approaching ’21 and in the wail of the first few whistles that sounded the notes of a dirge could not be mistaken unless by their very weirdness. Volume was lacking in the welcome sounded the new year to a greater extent than ever before noted in the camp, and all other conditions at the time the two years shook apart were quieter. It could be almost truthfully said that at midnight a cannon ball could have been fired the length of the avenue without finding obstructions in the form of pedestrians or drivers of machines. One surprising feature the advent of 1921 was the comparative order with which it was made. Tho celebrating was carried on as usual with the aid of liquid refreshment, the individuals who partook of the bracers did not make themselves so conspicuous as on other similar occasions, or even as conspicuous as on the last Christmas day.
As the parting of the years was taking place a prize fox trot was staged in Armory hall, where a crowded house of dancers was celebrating the occasion with terpsichorean enjoyment. A great deal of interest was manifested in the event, and a great number of couples entered. Prizes were finally awarded to Melvin Crocombe and Miss Doine Stenman for the most graceful dancing, and to Joseph Amter and Miss Pearl Stringer for the display of the widest variety of steps to fox trot time.
Aside from the dance at Armory hall there were numerous parties and lodge entertainments, while at the Elks’ hall the Yama orchestra played to a small group of dancers.
Today dawns with but little provided in the amusement line. This afternoon the Elks will entertain at their annual open house in their home in the Opera House. Special decorative efforts have been made, and the rooms will present a pretty sight to the guests of the day. Invitations were issued by the order to all who assisted in the conduct of the recent Elks minstrel show.
Tonight there will be an annual New Year’s ball in Armory hall with the Top o’ the World orchestra in the players stand. One of the series of prize waltzes will be staged at the usual time in the evening, and a large crowd is anticipated for the event.
THE NEW YEAR
Most of the troubles in this world are relative, and when a great country talks about “hard times” with granaries choking with wheat, with banks gorged with money, with livestock glutting the markets, with the shelves of the manufacturer and merchant stacked high with commodities of every description, one can readily understand what Mr. Hoover means when he says that “half of the trouble with our business today is psychological.” The people enter the new year in a peculiar frame of mind. The assumption is that conditions are “bad,” but that they will be “better” when spring comes. It seems to be taken for granted that some kind of a mysterious force is to be set to work after certain dates, and that this force will perform some hocus pocus or legerdemain, and that then we will see “times pick up.”
The great trouble with the leaders in business and in finance, who seem to be able to control the mass thinking of the country, is that they seek for “readjustment” from the bottom, without disturbing their own secure position. They have talked persistently about getting back to “normal,” when that was the last state of existence which anyone ever contemplated. No man who accumulated a magnificent fortune out of the war was going back to “normal.” No man who had added to his acres dreamed of giving up that which good fortune had brot him. Ten million dead in the world war and a debt which brot the nations to the brink of bankruptcy produces conditions that are as inexorable as fate, but which people are slow to recognize. If those who profited out of the war can hold their gains, they are quite willing that the rest can “readjust” as best they can, so long as their position is secure.
Our leaders — financial, political and commercial — have not brot us very successfully thru the period known as “readjustment.” The people have been docile enough. Insofar as they have been able they have produced, and then they discover that Big Business has not found an outlet for their surplus. The remedy was “deflation,” which in the end meant the closing down of mills, factories and mines, and while Europe cried aloud for goods, ships lie idle in our harbors.
There is something serious the matter when hard times come in the midst of a land flowing with plenty. It may be that during the past year there has been too much groaning in spirit, too much grumbling, too much of the sowing of the spirit of pessimism. As we contemplate the record-breaking figures of production, of wealth, of everything that pertains to prosperity and well-being, the thot will obtrude itself that possibly the gloom has been over-accentuated, the smoke has been piled on too thick, the evils under which it was our sacred duty as good citizens to groan about painted entirely too black.
Everybody has tormented himself and given vocal expression to the fact that he was overtaxed. If everybody says so, it must be so, and yet a somebody who preferred to substitute statistics for sobs figures that if the United States were taxed on the same per capita basis as England, we would be paying on the basis of ten billion dollars debt instead of less than five.
Too much optimism is as ridiculous as too much pessimism, and during the past year we have had a bitter dose of the latter, which finds its reflection today in a chorus of “De Profundis.” Anybody knows that there is unemployment. There is a “readjustment” of wages. Farmers do not get all they think they really should, and consumers pay far more than they really should.
But, since we heard the same complaints when the country was booming along and everybody “stepping on the gas,” it looks as tho the present condition was a sort of retributive justice. Nobody wanted to heed the danger signals that flew a year ago. Possibly, had our chosen statesmen known how easily the administration could have been defeated, they would not have reduced the popular temperature to the zero point.
The American people have discomforts, not hardships; irritations, not misery. Grown-up healthy men who are today complaining over the present situation should be sentenced to six months in Europe, where the heavy hand of desolation has fallen and where life is a battle for existence itself.
America should realize that this is indeed a Happy New Year.