We continue our exclusive 1901 translation today from the pen of Czech-American newspaperman and author, Hugo Chotek and the pages of the amazing Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
If you missed the first installment you can click here to read it and catch up!
What will this ‘interesting chapter’ be?
Now enjoy today’s Installment #2!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXIV, Year 1901, Pages 184-187
“An interesting chapter from the history of Cleveland.”
Selected from old jottings for the “Amerikán” Calendar by Hugo Chotek.
Translated by Katka Tomkova
©Onward To Our Past®
“That means there were no luxury tramcar carriages, no bicycles, nothing but one express vehicle for the whole town. Hotels had their own coaches and the coachmen scrambled for passengers in the harbor and railway stations. At the time, there was only one railway track here: Cleveland – Columbus – Cincinnati. Lake Shore (probably Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway) and Cleveland to Pittsburgh were still under construction. The harbor was a lively and cheerful place in summer and during the navigation season in general. However, in winter the workers had to depend on the few paper mills, the shipyard and one big smelting plant with ironworks as their employers. The future colossal oil industry was then still in the land of dreams and the iron and steel industry were in their infancy. The timber industry, today occupying one third of the great valley by the river and the canal, and constituting a multi-million dollar property, was represented then by several companies with the capital in thousands of dollars. People also had different views and opinions; that applied to religion, politics and political economy as well as fashion. Women wore mufflers, bonnets, low-heeled shoes and aprons and any of them could walk down the busiest street in town in her kitchen or home clothes without being taken for a fool! Gum chewing, frustrating the assistants in fashion boutiques and other stores, inspecting the shops just to kill time and boredom, as well as coquetry, were not as much a habit as they are today. Men used to wear high collars with long tips, so-called “fátr-mordy”, neckbands, jerkins of lustrous satin, tailcoats and high “Hungarian” boots. The old settlers could not even think of boots in tan or yellow color, or red and green hats. On the other hand, they could buy a bushel of the best peaches for 50 cents, and a ten-pound pork head for 10 (or 16? Illegible) cents. Few families in the town knew coal was fuel; most people burnt wood just like in the ancient times.
Millard Fillmore was the President of the United States, and Reuben Wood, who lived on his farm close to Rocky River, was the governor of the state. Generals Winfield Scott and Zack Taylor were the greatest heroes of the nation and everyone spoke about the battlefields of Monterey, Buena Vista, and Chapultepec, associating them with the Mexican President Santa Anna. The people’s preoccupation with the Mexican conflict was just as fervent as our own interest in wars with Spain or, more recently, with the Philippines. Everyone spoke much about Jenny Lind who sang here, and about Lajos Kossuth who visited our country and gave numerous speeches. As far as the question of slavery was concerned, the public meaning was diverse; nearly one half of people were for, another half were against it.
People were industrious and thrifty, and fully contented with their ways of life. Cash was scarce, yet there was enough work of everyone and enough orders for artisans and merchants, and therefore everybody was able to provide for their frugal needs without depending too much on the others. The luxury, which seems to fascinate today’s generation, never came to people’s minds. Consequently, there were few truly poor men depending on their neighbors or community.”
Tomorrow we continue with our wonderful translation from Czech-American penman, Hugo Chotek!
Onward To Our Past®