Monday, July 11, 2011

A time machine made of newsprint

A kind reader brought by a bundle of old Kerrville newspapers this week and I've had a great time reading them and studying the news stories and ads. One issue in particular interested me, the July 30, 1953 edition of the Kerrville Mountain Sun, the newspaper published by Mrs. W. A. (Camilla) Salter and her family.
I suppose it interested me because the month of its publication, July, is the month we're currently traveling through. It's like opening up a time capsule and traveling back in time 58 years.
The front page stories included news from Mo-Ranch, a photo and story of Stel Jeter receiving an award from the Jaycees, and a photo and story of A. E. Self receiving a 50-year pin from the Masonic Lodge. Several of the photos in my collection were taken by A. E. Self, who operated a jewelry and camera store on Earl Garrett Street, and then later on Water Street.
Other front-page items include a report that Ace Reid was the speaker at the Kiwanis Club meeting (held at the Riverside Terrace room of the Bluebonnet Hotel), and that the Rotarians gave "Bouquets and Brickbats" to the Rev. W. M. Logan who was leaving our community for Austin.
A "foremost accordianist," Bobby Del Rio, was to perform at the First Baptist Church.
I loved looking at the advertisements, too. The biggest ad was placed by Schreiner's Cash Food Store, "Where your dollar has more cents."  I was intrigued that Schreiner's offered free delivery "morning and evening."   Schreiner's was selling five pounds of sugar for 48 cents and a pound of Folger's coffee for 85 cents. Tomatoes were 22 cents a pound and cantaloupes were 7 1/2 cents a pound.
Right across the fold was a large ad for H.E.B. Super Market. Their price for Folger's coffee was only 83 cents for a pound, and their price for sugar was the same as Schreiner's. At H.E.B. you could get 10 lbs of potatoes for 29 cents.
There were two features on polio -- one, a cartoon, showing the do's and don'ts to help prevent the disease. Don't: mix with new groups, get overtired, or get chilled. Do: keep clean. A news story, by the state health official George W. Cox, noted the use of gamma globulin as a "temporary preventative."  He also encouraged good hygiene and lots of rest, especially in the afternoon, for children.
Another news item talked about city crews fighting flies and mosquitoes with DDT. "The city spraying machine was working continuously in the downtown area to eliminate flies. Apparently recent rains washed away the DDT, and all restaurants, grocery stores, etc., are receiving daily visits from the city machine."
There was a nice ad for a rodeo and dance at Crider's, with Jimmy Fletcher and the Drifting Ranch Hands performing.
I noticed a few ads from businesses I recognized. Fuzzy Swayze had an advertisement for his photography studio, and Fidelity Abstract & Title Company had a nice little ad, too. Reiter's was offering U. S. Royal Tires, the Western Auto Store was offering a Bike Contest, and the Vogue had all sorts of ladies' shoes on sale.
A "Water Pageant" was planned for the Cascade Pool, which was in the 700 block of Water Street, under the direction of Mrs. Preston Chambliss.
"Forget-Me-Nots" were to be sold for a dime each the following week by the local Disabled American Veterans chapter, and the group hoped to raise $130 from the sale.
I suppose my favorite photo and story in the issue was about a Hot Rod Derby race held near Antler Stadium. The photo shows three boys by their soapbox derby cars. Jerry Wright came in first and won a $50 wristwatch; Gilbert Rowe came in second and won a baseball glove; third place went to Willie Snyder, who won a "western style" lamp. In the photo, the boy with the lamp does not look pleased.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who likes reading old Kerrville newspapers. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times July 9, 2011. 
For more information about Joe's book, which has over 200 historic photographs
 of Kerrville, please click here.


  1. I remember Schreiner's delivering groceries. They even delivered a lovely red hat my mom had ordered. Once I had pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital. Upon returning home to recuperate, Dr. Bacon AND the lab tech made house calls until I was well. Mr Scott delivered our milk right into the refrigerator! And we all got to watch the new "bomb shelter" being lowered into an enormous hole in the Chalks' back yard!! Ahhhhhh, memories....Betsy

  2. The Chalk's shelter was very unusual for the time. At least, there were not many in the area.

    It had a few beds and some cabinet space, but mostly it had water in the bottom of it.

    Chick was always having to drain the bottom of the shelter.


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