ABOVE: Downtown Youngstown, Republic Steel and the Mahoning River in an undated postcard image. (Electronic image via the Metro Monthly archives.
By MARK C. PEYKO | Metro Monthly Editor & Publisher
Although the circus came to town and Maggie Davis, “the Welsh nightingale,” performed at the Opera House, violence also marred the month of May in 1900. In Youngstown, a Hungarian immigrant was fatally stabbed near the Ohio Steel plant and an African-American man died after being shot on the porch of a Hubbard hotel. The other news of the day follows below.
• May 3 – State mine inspector R.M. Haseltine will retire after 12 years of service, reports the Youngstown Vindicator. The respected Youngstown native is expected to remain in Columbus after retirement, the newspaper adds.
• May 3 – “Miss Maggie Davis of London, known as the ‘Welsh nightingale,’ will perform May 7 at the Opera House in a benefit for the Welsh Congregational Church,” reports the Sunday edition of the Youngstown Vindicator.
• May 3, 1900 – On sale at the Otto Schuman Furniture Co. in Youngstown: “Solid oak extension table, finely polished, with large 5-inch fluted legs – this week $9. Davenports from $18 to $75.”
• May 3 – The Reuban McMillan Public Library’s holdings as of May 2, 1900: 14,913 volumes, of which 1,657 were added during the year. Of that number, 97 were gifts, 45 were from the government, 52 were by other gifts and 1,460 were by purchase. In 1900, the average daily circulation was 219 and the total circulation for the year was listed as 67,450. Of the books withdrawn by the general public, 70 percent were fiction, the Public Library reported.
• May 5 – A fire destroys the Greenston and Greenberger general store in the Steelton District, just outside the city limits and beyond the reach of city firehoses. The loss is estimated at $9,000.
• May 5 – “Six-year old uses a knife on a little companion,” reports the Vindicator in its evening edition. Although the assault doesn’t result in serious injury, the newspaper reports that the offending child “will be impressed with the fact . . . that he is too young to begin the use of a stiletto.”
• May 5 – “The cornerstone of Third Christian Church will be laid tomorrow with religious and Masonic ceremonies,” reports the Vindicator in its evening edition. The church will be located at the corner of Hillman and Silver streets on Youngstown’s South Side.
• May 5 – The blue laws were in full effect in 1900 as evidenced by this item in the Vindicator: “At the evening service of First Presbyterian Church, Mr. Hudnut will speak as to whether this city should have baseball games on Sunday.”
• May 12 – “A taste of our ice cream will be sufficient to gain your patronage,” promises the Harry Burt Co. of 29 N. Phelps St. “The cream we make is delicious in every sense of the word. Good, rich cream, the best of fruit flavors, and our new improved machinery are the secret of our success,” boasts the legendary Youngstown confectionery in a May 12 newspaper ad.
• May 14 – County Auditor W.P. Leonard suffers a serious electrical shock when he walks onto the metal step of a city streetcar, reports the Youngstown Vindicator. The mishap, called “the first in this part of the country,” results in serious nerve damage to Leonard’s right foot and he also is reported to be “suffering from great nervous shock,” according to the newspaper.
• May 14 – The Youngstown Bridge Works is sold to the American Bridge Co., reports the Vindicator. “Another one of Youngstown’s leading industrial giants has been absorbed by one of the large corporations of the country,” the newspaper adds.
• Mid-May – “The Great Wallace Shows Circus will come to Youngstown on May 15” trumpets an ad in the May 14 edition of the Vindicator. Billed as the “highest class circus in the world,” the show will feature, among other things, “100 phenomenal acts, 25 clowns, droves of camels, herds of elephants, 15 open dens, six bands and 20 hurricane races.”
• May 17 – A fatal stabbing occurs around midnight in front of a tavern in the vicinity of the Ohio Steel plant. The victim, Joseph Spfhak, dies two hours later from a fatal wound to his coronary artery.
• May 26 – A fatal shooting occurs on the porch of the Commercial Hotel in Hubbard, following a dispute between two men. The victim is identified as Charles Raddler.
• May 27 – A natural gas explosion nearly kills a Youngstown woman, reports the evening edition of the Vindicator. The accident occurred at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Harmon, 29 Willis Ave.
• May 27 – “Oak Hill – that beautiful city of the dead – visited and described on Memorial Day,” reads a Victorian-era headline in the Youngstown Vindicator. “The graves of the heroic dead will be covered with blossoms from the hands of loved ones,” concludes the newspaper in typical Victorian fashion.
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