Journalism: This week in history

The end of days, 1884, and more in our weekly stroll through newspapers of yesteryear

In early May of 1888, the front page of the Montezuma Millrun was dominated by mining news.

Compiled by Jenn Brancaccio

The end of the world
The Montezuma Millrun 5/17/1884

Billboards and overzealous preachers last week warned the public of an apocalypse that never came. We woke, not to earthquakes and darkness, but to singing birds and another day of work, much to the chagrin of those who quit their jobs and prepared for the End of Days.

Now that some have revamped their biblical prophecies and say the world will end in October, I wanted to bring to light an article published by the Montezuma Millrun in 1884, regarding the end of the world. Whether the end comes this year or in December of 2012, humankind has been obsessed with its demise since scientists and theologians studied the planets, space, and premonitions written in the Bible.

Surprisingly the article focused on science and geology, rather than religious studies. M. Flammarion, a French scientist, tried to shed light on what may be the most realistic way the earth would cease to exist. He simply stated that the earth was born and it would die of old age, when her vital elements are used up. Environmentalists today hold this reasoning when they request that people recycle, conserve water, or use fossil fuels wisely.

Outer space could prove to be the cause of the end of the world. Flammarion went on to write that the sun could run out of energy or an asteroid or comet could collide with Earth, increasing the probability of the atmosphere being disturbed. Air and water are diminishing. Oceans used to be larger and the water was said to be absorbing along with chemicals down into the earth’s crust, where it reached a boiling point six miles deep.

He wrote about a cooling effect with oxygen, nitrogen, and carbonic acids that compose the atmosphere being absorbed into the planet. Without this atmosphere, Flammarion stated, Earth will freeze from exposure to outer space and the glacial cold. Another researcher on the subject, Henry Vivarez, was quoted in the piece as saying that the world’s end would happen gradually and humans would be driven south.

“From the summit of the mountains a winding sheet of snow will descend upon her high plateaus and the valleys driving before it life and civilization, and making forever lost the cities and nations that it meets on its passage”. People would migrate to the subtropical zones near the equator and cities like Berlin, London, Paris, Vienna and Rome would ‘fall asleep’.

Arctic expeditions would be made from the safety of the equator as people ventured out to find what remained of cities. Oxygen would be scarce, and soon the center latitudes wouldn’t be safe for them. There will come a day, the article read, that the last family, nearly dead with cold and hunger, will set on the shore of the last sea. Flammarion added that the earth, at its end, would be described as an “ambulant tomb revolving aimlessly around a useless light and a barren heat.”

Clouds of Ethereal fabrics are fashionable for season’s brides
The Summit County Journal 6/1/1951

May and June find women shopping for new summer wardrobes and, for some, that special white dress. Traditionally, June has always been the most popular month for marriage because the month is named for Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. Couples married during this month would be blessed with prosperity and happiness.

During the 1950s, marriage was a natural and expected step in a young woman’s life, a time she dreamt of as a child and mark the beginning of a nuclear family. In June of 1951, The Summit County Journal printed an article on the latest trends in women’s wedding wear.

“The elaborate wedding dress can be passed down from the bride to her daughter an granddaughter,” said Ertta Hayley. “ The simpler dresses can be used for evening wear, in their original white form, or they may be tinted,” she added.

Designers of the time were said to favor the traditional satin, an ethereal fabric that would flatter every bride. Lace and tulle compliment many dress shapes and styles as well. Though women searched for the newest trends, many young and mature brides preferred a more traditional route.

Skirts were full length and trains were long. Traditional wedding dresses boasted long tight sleeves though some dresses were designed to be off shoulder to make for a more relaxed fit. Many heirloom dresses were lace over white satin with scalloped sleeves and a scalloped décolletage. Many brides preferred a hoop or two under their dress in order for the skirt to stand out.

Brides during the summer season sought out dresses that were multi-purpose, able to be converted to evening dresses after their ceremony. Strapless dresses of Chantilly lace and tiered skirts allowed for more maneuverability.

Hayley wrote that bridesmaid’s dresses shouldn’t be any less stylish than the bride’s and should fit well into summer weddings and parties. A slender skirt was recommended and brides were encouraged to choose vibrant colors for her attendants no matter their hair color. Instead of flat pinks, browns, and oranges, Hayley encouraged variations of sweet pea, wild carrot, and cinnamon. If a shade of orange was chosen, she encouraged the bride to avoid a white dress and try a more ‘corn yellow’ in tulle fabric.

For the ‘going away costume’, the bride’s attire after her reception, Hayley recommended the suit-dress, consisting of a dress with a ‘feminine type jacket’ over. The bride could wear this ensemble both in summer and in early fall. Skirts are slender and bold buttons accent the jacket, keeping it trendy.

Whatever the choice of brides during the 1950’s, The Dress was to be chosen wisely and tailored to the bride’s exact specifications. Many brides neglected to think of practicality and comfort as well as consider a different evening ensemble for after their ceremony. Women’s columns like Hayley’s updated women on the latest fashion trends for every occasion and offered helpful tips and tricks to help a woman be the “loveliest creature on earth”.

Colorado people are great travelers
The Summit County Journal 5/26/1950

It’s no surprise that many people in Colorado experience wanderlust. I came to this state to experience an unknown part of the country and the need to explore the terrain and culture Colorado has to offer hasn’t waned since I moved here a year ago. In 1950, the Summit County Journal ran an article on the findings of a report by the AAA (American Automobile Association) Automobile Club.

Club president Clarence Werthan said that the people of Colorado traveled most to Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. The findings were based on a report done by AAA during a twelve-month period ending May 1.

“New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado itself lead in short motor trips,” Werthan said. Travel to places like Yellowstone, Washington, Oregon and western Canada were also very popular travel destinations, he added.

Places on the east coast such as New York, New England, Washington D.C. and eastern Canada were traveled to extensively by rail, air, and car by people from Colorado. AAA reported that the number of cars shipped overseas, especially during Holy Year in Rome, has exceeded any year before.

Ball games, races and other sports drew little travel out of people during the past year.

“While many vacationists include special events in a vacation trip, very few plan a trip for such a purpose alone,” continued Werthan. Most travelers from Colorado chose to visit family members or visit an old homestead during an extended vacation. Despite reports that sporting events and other recreational activities were not a large draw for travel from Colorado, events like Mardi Gras, in New Orleans, were popular destinations.

Upon moving here a year ago I’ve met all kinds of travelers native to Colorado. During spring and summer, most people I know travel to Las Vegas, St. Thomas, Mexico, and many other far off and tropical places. States like Utah, Montana and Wyoming boast colorful and breathtaking national parks and recreation locales. There is always so much to see in Colorado and the surrounding states. Perhaps it’s the winter weather most of the year that gets people traveling or the beautiful spring and summer seasons the west boasts. In any case, the people of Colorado are an active people, never a group to sit still in one place for a long period of time.

Bids being accepted for new Dillon post office building
The Summit County Journal 6/1/1962

Many people in Summit felt the effects of the consolidation of the two Silverthorne post offices. Though this practice saves the town money, many residents had to line up at the bank or doctor’s offices to change their addresses.

A similar revamping needed to be done in Dillon back in 1962. Postmaster General J. Edward Day announced that the Post Office department was accepting bids on a new and improved Dillon building. Bidding documents were available on May 25, with a return mailing address. All submissions were due by June 24.

The Post Office Department stressed the strict specifications that each bidder had to abide by. The area in question must be 50 feet wide by 125 feet long and easily accessible. The loading slab on the south side of the buildings, the article stated, had to be eight feet by twelve. Even the sidewalks leading to the building had strict guidelines to be followed to the letter. Sufficient insulation was needed to stand against Dillon’s harsh winter storms and constant cold.

The Postal Department also required:

Fluorescent lights 4ft long with T-40 W tubes
Automatic, thermostatically controlled furnace, capable of maintaining a 70 temperature on the coldest of days.
Bathrooms with lavatory, towel rack, mirror and holder.
The sign for the post office should be in 6 in. metal letters
A flagpole with pulley and halyard. The top must extend 10 feet above the building.
Windows not clearly visible from the street must be security grade

The Post Office Department furnished all equipment and full use of 500 boxes for patrons. The service office boasted a new characteristic of post offices, no iron bars between customers and tellers. The area was planned to be more open and welcoming to patrons than past post offices.

Salt to be found culpable in tree deaths
Quandry Times 5/31/1988

This winter has been an especially long and harsh one. From pot holes to auto body damage, the de-icing mixtures used to defrost  roads has taken its toll not only on people and their cars, but also on the environment itself. As spring melts the snow/mud mix into our reservoirs and lakes, the chemicals go along for the ride. During the 1980s, Kathy Gauss, writing in the Quandry Times, published an article on the physical effects of the salt mix on trees and other flora in Breckenridge.

In the 1980s, Breckenridge added salt to its sand mixture, not to melt the ice but to keep the sand itself from freezing. The ‘cement’ of frozen sand was impossible to spread on the streets.

The salt did help keep the mix from freezing, however, the salt soaked into the dirt and soil along the roadways. During a four-year span, hundreds of lodgepole pines have died from the contamination. Trees most affected were along heavily traveled roads with curves and no drainage.

Ken Sauerberg, Breckenridge’s building and grounds superintendent at the time, took tissue from affected trees along Wellington Road and compared it to nearby trees that were healthy.

“There were toxic levels of sodium chloride,” Sauerberg said. All throughout Summit County trees were dying along the roadways from both salting during the winter and summer. Salt mixes were used during the summer to reduce dust on county roads. Though the amount of salt in the sand was little, five percent, it was obvious that something needed to be done to help the vegetation.

Alternatives that were explored included using less salt in the mixture, a different chemical combination, or storage for sand to keep it from freezing. The town removed dead trees on private property, cut and stacked for the homeowners free of charge.

Public Works Director, Terry Perkins lamented that salt doesn’t even help the freezing problem on roads all the time.

“Salt is not effective at 18 degrees or below,” he said.

Improvements to help stay the loss of more trees include constructing gutters along certain roads to help drainage as well as sidewalks and curbs. Trees will also be replaced. At the time of publication the search for the safest and best method to control ice on the roads, with the safety of trees in mind, was ongoing.


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