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Historical photo show 100 years ago header

100 Years Ago

Black History
Civil War
Gold Rush
Law and Order

January, 1895 to 1899
Compiled by Jim Sayre in January, 1999

100 Year Menu Electric Lights!
"Electric lights have been placed in the grocery store of G.B. Sterline and the shoe stores of B.C. Bennett and F. Montanus. The lights are connected with the electric light plant of N.C. DeWeese & Son and operated by their gas engine. The new light improved the appearance of the stores very much."
Shelby County Democrat, Jan. 20, 1899

"Louis Kah, Jr., received word from J. Wellman, at Detroit, Michigan, last Saturday closing the deal for the old Maxwell mill property on the east side of the Miami river. Mr. Kah will immediately commence the erection of a building suitable for an electric light plant to furnish incandescent lights to the business men of this city. He says he has promise of enough business to insure the success of the venture. The engine of the old mill is in good order, besides the water power from the race is sufficient to run a first class plant. It is his intention to put in one dynamo, capable of running 1,000 lights, and adding another one as the business increases. The plant is expected to be in operation in about two months."
Shelby County Democrat, Jan. 27, 1899

And Now, The Weather
The Weather Channel on cable is one of those necessities of life to many Shelby County residents. Special computer satellite hookups help local farmers beat weather systems to the punch. But, the prediction of weather was no less important to our ancestors 100 and more years ago. Where modern-day locals can keep minute-by-minute tabs on developing weather fronts via satellite imagery and doppler radar, which measures not only area and speed but also the intensity of a storm, our ancestors had only rudimentary means to predict the weather. Shelby Countians before the revolution in weather analysis often relied on their own instincts and, quite often, superstitions in dealing with the weather. "Make hay while the sun shines" seems pretty logical and survives in our idiom today as advice to take advantage of opportunity. But, what can you make of this superstition? "Rain before 7 quits before 11." Does it, really? Always? "Red sun at night, farmers delight. Red sun in the morning, farmers take warning" is a local variation of a seafaring belief. By 1895, the government attempted to modernize and organize Shelby County weather reports. "H.W. Thompson has been appointed weather observer for Sidney by C.M. Strong, of Columbus, who is at the head of the weather bureau in Ohio. Mr. Thompson will receive the weather reports every day and will furnish them to all the towns in the county. He has received the weather flags which he will make arrangements to have displayed as the reports come in. The flags used are: White flag, signaling clear and fair weather; blue flag, rain or snow; white and blue flag, local rains; black triangular flag, temperature signal; white flag with small black square in the center, cold wave. "Weather reporting in Sidney grew vastly more complicated in the next three years. The daily flag system atop the Monumental Building's tower was explained in the newspaper: No. 1, the white square flag, indicates fair weather. No. 2, the blue square flag, rain or snow. No. 3, the blue and white square flag, local rains. No. 4, the three cornered black flag, warmer. No. 5, black square in center white flag, cold wave. The daily flag system atop the Monumental Building's tower was explained in the newspaper: No. 1, with No. 4 above it, indicates fair weather, warmer. No. 1, with No. 4 below it, indicates fair weather, colder. No. 2, with No. 4 above it, indicates warmer weather, rain or snow. No. 2, with No. 4 below it, indicates colder weather, rain or snow. No. 3, with No. 4 above it, indicates warmer weather with local rains. No. 3, with No. 4 below it, indicates colder weather with local rains. No. 1, with No. 5 below it, indicates fair weather, cold wave. No. 3, with No. 5 below it, indicates wet weather, cold wave.
Shelby County Democrat, Dec. 23, 1898

Telephone Hook-Up
"The Inland Telephone Company has placed its toll station at C.J. Briggs’ drug store. This telephone line connects Sidney with the following places: Quincy, Degraff, Bloom Center, Lewistown, Jackson Center, New Knoxville, Botkins, New Bremen, St. Marys, and Wapakoneta."
Shelby County Democrat, Jan. 20, 1899


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