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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
July 13, 1961     Times
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July 13, 1961

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qlL.TENNIAL EDITION, (Tims-News, Mr. Pulaski, ILL) THURSDAY, JULY 15, 1961 Scroggin Opera House Setting For Many Events Some of the Best Talent In Country Appeared Here. (May 30, 1935) They have boarded up the en- trance and put a door with a strong lock in front of the broad steep stair s that have spelled happiness to so very many peo- ple down thru the years. How many of us remember climbing that stairs to the old Opera House, to see some long anticipated show? Who recalls the "nigger heaven" and the little wire racks under the seats, used for hats? The curtain with the advertisements: Beidler's Drug Store, W. H. Clear, Farm & Stock Auctioneer, J. P. Fowler Dry Goods Store, Snyder & Beid- ler Millinery, Smoke Graner & Stuckel's Plantation 5 Cent Ci- gars; E. A. Danner & Son Cloth- ing Store; Myers Brothers, Fall Opening of Suits; W. J. Mann, Leading Meat Market; Scrog- gin & Sons, Bankers; Union Coal Co; Bekemeyer & Clear; P. D. & E. Railway; Dr. Swain, Veterinar- ian; J. D. Gordon, City Drayman; R. S. Hershey, Furniture and Undertaking; Kerns Bros; Tallow & Meat & Sweetmeats. Alltaste- fully arranged in graceful ads around the edge of the curtain with a lovely "scene" in the cen- ter. Spittoon Hazards Those enormous brass spittoons placed at strategic points along the aisle. They were a terrible thing to stumble over in the dark as you blindly followed mother and father to your seat. No trim little usherette with a flashlight in those days. The spn of my memory" is short, a mere 30 years. But the tales I've heard from my mother and grandmother, just start reminiscing a little. The high spots for me, of course, were the Tom Thumb Weddings. I was the preacher's wife. The old hotel at the rear is connected with the Opera House with many curious little passages and odd rooms. Stairs start in at such unexpect- ed places to lead one away off to some strange and remote part. Doors, leading everywhere to most anything. The dancing classes I've attended -- two-step, Schottishe, waltz and bow and thank you. They had electricity, of course, even 30 years ago, which I can remember. But try to picture the scene as it appeared in the tim- es of our grandmother's youth when the Opera House was the new pride of our city. Imagine the actors of a bygone day as they went thru their parts while the footlights were illuminated by a dozen kerosene lamps set little places along the front edge of the stage with reflectors to throw the light on the actors and keep it from shining in the eyes of the audience. Around the walls of the big room at intervals were more lamps in brackets. I can imagine how grandma felt as she carefully gathered her full skirts in her hand and daint- ily picked her way to her seat where a dexterous twist and wiggle placed her comfortably seated with her bustle eased to one side where it wouldn't be crushed too much. She greeted her friends seated around her and saw the seating of the chil- dren and father and then sort of divided her attention between the entertainment and the hanging lamp that was nearly directly above and kept one eye on the path she'd take if a fire should happen. And the children then as now, had peanuts and pop corn and some of the boys had gum. (Gathered from peach and cherry trees and wax tops from jam jars.) Who remembers the time when the cement sidewalk on the south side of the building was a board walk? when a barber the ment? With stairs down to it? Mr. Shrader has a few shaving mugs on display in his shop on the south side of the square that may have poss- ibly at one time been in the shop under the bank. The two rooms over the bank, that were at one time occupied by the Mt. Pulaski Public Library were once sumptuously furnish- ed as a lounge and gentlemen's smoking room. Across the stair head landing was another room, where people could leave their lanterns and sohave a good light to find the buggy (if you happen to be a young gentleman escort- ing a young lady) or the wagon, if you happened to have a wife and eight children and a moth- er and a few uncles and aunts and cousins to 'taxi' home. But you couldn't run your 'taxi' into the garage. You had to unharness him and give him a drink at the trough and lead him into the stall, then throw a blanket over him and throw down a fork-full of hay for him. Then, put away the harness and buggy or wagon and after a good drink of wat- er from the pump, finally retire upon a big fat featherbed with a pile of quilts, all home-made, and sometimes homewoven, to hold you down. Home.Talent Plays Home-talent plays were much in vogue then. All sorts of enter- tainments. Lyceum courses and debates. It is possible and very probable that Abraham Lincoln may have attended shows or par- ticipated in them in our Opera House. Our town was an up and com- ing town in the days when our old decrepit Opera House was new. There were about 15 saloons around our square, and our chur- ches were so active that their various notices filled over a column in the Weekly News. We had two depots and were con- sidered quite a railroad center. Train service was good then and when an attraction was adver- tised people came from Lincoln, Latham, Chestnut, Kenney, Lake Fork and Cornland and even from farther towns to attend the gala performances in Mt. Pulas- ki's Opera House. Today, the entrance is closed and the big room is an empty dusty shell. Pigeons nest and coo among the eaves and the young sapling that sprung up from a stump just south of the Farmers Bank, is a tall tree and not a vestige of the stump remains. The Hotel that once housed such an active community of busy traveling salesmen, barbers printers, preachers and lawyers, is moulding away into the dust from whence it sprang. 1895 Graduation Held In Scrocjcjin Opera House In looking back 66 years it is interesting to see how school ac- tivities were conducted at that time. The 8th annual commence- ment exercises of the old Mt. Pu- laski high school, in the east part of the city were held in the Scrog- gin Opera House, on Wednesday evening, May 8, 1895. In those days of long long ago, each mem- ber of the graduating class had to write an essay and deliver same at the commencement ex- ercises. Quite a contrast from the present day method when the graduates wear caps and gowns, and listen to an address by a special speaker. The Times-News was given the 1895 program, and it will bring: back memories to a number of persons who knew all the gradu- ates, most of whom have passed away. Following is the informa- tion on the commencement invi- tation, giving first the Class Motto, "Our Boats Are Launch- ed: Where Is The Shore?" Program Invocation, Rev. J. H. Hartwick Song, "The Holiday," by Veazie "Thrift," Warren J. Lincoln. "Straws Float on the Surface, But Pearls Lie on the Bottom," Anna B. Kelling. "Voices of the Past and Pres- ent," Anna M. Bergold. "The Hopes of Tomorrow Have A Foundation In What We Are Doing Today," Oubri A. Poppele. Music: "Mandolin Serenade Waltz," Mandolin Club. "The Aim of Life," Dora Z. Lueas. "What Is Fate," Hallie B. Rowe "We Build The Ladder By Which We Climb," Emma M. Zah. Song, "Come To The Wild- wood," by Taylor. "The Flight of Time," Minnie S. Weidenbacher. "Chaige," Cora E. Bostic. "On, Forever On!" Jennie T.I Hassett. "Aspiration," Fred A. Allspach. Music, "Ariel Galop," Mandolin Club. "What Next?" Blanche L. Ran- kin. "Every Man Is Architect Of His Own Fortune," Cora M. Clark. "Stepping Stones," Alma M. Connolley. "Curiosity," Grace E. Fryer. Presentation of Diplomas. "Class Parting Sing," Class. Benediction, Elder L. M. Robin- son. HOME TALENT 1890 Perform00Ji FEATURED 55 Of Local r'n the 1890's, ln_ . YEARS AGO closUrltthe turn.of the eell,in - a program was g:v that Scroggin opera nou y will remember and enJo  ing about. Following cor. d newspaper clipping a $i Some of the best .@i p groups in the country '- :*- at the Scroggin opera BOt- Many readers of Mount Pu- aski Times-News will enjoy read- ing of an event that took place 55 years ago, as it brings back memories of other days and the names of many people you knew. In this case we refer to the presentation of "Bibi, or a Com- edy of Toys", given in the old Seroggin opera house in Mount Pulaski on Thursday and Friday evenings, July 19 and 20, 1906, for the benefit of the public library. The parts were all tak- en by home talent. Included in the large cast of characters were Glue-Pot, the Toyman: Ward Harper. Kathy, Toyman's Daughter: Stella Clear. Bibi, the French Doll: Winni- fred Obermiller. Angelica, Ray Doll: Jeanette Ralston. Topsy: Bess Wacaser. Prince Caramel, a gentleman doll: Eugene Clear. Captain Tellerope, a Sailor Doll: Henry Mayer. Sergeant Bonbon, a Soldier Doll: Charles Roberts. Sylvania, a retired fairy: Edith Duff. Miss Pudding Head: Fannie Ralston. The Sandman: Virgil Fenton. The Man In The Moon: Loren Evans. Cat: Linn Swain. Owl: Willard Snyder. Jumping Jacks: Linn Swain, Paul Hubbard, Cordie Starr, Willard Snyder, Fred Glose Lyle Fowler. Paper Dollies: Irma Buckles, Ruth Snyder, Mildred Scrog- gin, Goldie Mason, Flossie Fenton, Dorothy Danner Florence Capps, Elsie Zah. Letter Blocks: Loren Harper, Wilhelm Kautz, Walter Dro- bisch, Paul Gruber, Ralph Ferrin, Dean Duff, Dorr Lob- berecht, Wallace Kautz. Butterfly Fairies: Doris Grub- er, Tina Spitler, Louise Scrog. gin, Josephine Webster, Viola Clobes, Wilma "Purviance, Al- ine Mayer, Beatrice Fenton, Opal Cheek. Flower Drill: Helen Obermiller, Josephine Leahy, Marguer- Leahy, Aerial Lobberecht, Esther Lobberecht, Merle Barlow, Norma Bozarth, Ruth Defrees, Bess Ralston, Lois Huck, Eula Gruber. Fairy Attenaants: Scotehie Duff, Frances Schuler, Maz- ie Jenner, Lois Stafford, Hil- ma Shoup, Esther Oberrniller; Kathleen Clear. Pianist: Merle Upp. Editor's Note: After a little more than a half century has gone, in looking over the cast of characters, perhaps a dozen per- sons have passed away. Only a few of those living are still res- idents of Mount Pulaski, while the others are living in many different states of the union, ex- .:. o "ra Musicale, Seroggin OPe,n Friday evening, Jul.Yh" Selection, Mandolin t'"_:,0 " Exhibition of HumanOP" . Prof. Baumgarten- 'J mhn Solo Miss Taylor,# V" ! . '.. ,._muel- tceciradon, Mrs. a Beason.  Piano Solo, Clarence  ', Vocal Duet, Mrs. Gerrge it. "" derlieth and Mrs. "" ford. That  Debate: "Resolved, _roig_  ican Politics Are (9 _ ter." Affirmative, B derlieth and John '"nd Ir ative, Frank WilSon "- vey C. Wood. Recitation, Miss Keys- Announcement of J udg ion. Selection, Mandolin Note: It was found postpone this hence it will be stated, Friday The home talent on will be assisted by as violinist, and Keys as elocutioniSL 15 cents to any Editor's Note: with the debate of years ago, here in 1960, three of the living, as follows: lieth, of New York vey C. Wood, who Jersey; and, John es in Lincoln. UNIQUE SENT BY J. C. (april 28, 19) J. C. Swinney, sold his grocery up a desk in the South Washington Royal Cleaners which he will use tion of accounts offers the plan to clear his First--Those who pay their accounts est, he expects him at their Second--ThoSe to pay just now, he will appreciate in and talking it Third--These tend to pay and in no degree credit that has them, he will receipt in full if him at his desk on ington street. tending from achusetts and from consin. IT'S A WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENT..' for a City to attain the distinction of being 125 years old" Our Congralulations to Mount Pulaski! We are working here to achieve distinction in Ibe buying and selling of grains. Let us serve you. LAKE FORK GRAIN CO. Buying And Selling Of Grains Wayne Feeds Macon Hybrids Pittsburgh Paints LAKE ILL.