Tag Archives: 1940s

Eye on the Past: Cool Threads at the Ortman Hotel

One thing I’ve always noted is how well-dressed my father is in photos from his youth. Among my favorites are these photos shot outside the Ortman Hotel in Canistota, South Dakota. The Hanneman family vacationed in the Dakotas several times. Another visit was detailed in this post about cowboy Hiram Greene.

The uncropped version of the main photo shows David D. Hanneman in front of the Ortman Hotel in Canistota, South Dakota.
The uncropped version of the main photo shows David D. Hanneman in front of the Ortman Hotel in Canistota, South Dakota.

These photos are likely from 1946 or 1947. The Ortman Hotel is right next to the famous Ortman chiropractic clinic. The hotel is still there today. The interior has been remodeled, but the exterior looks remarkably the same.

David D. Hanneman leans on the family car in front of the Ortman Hotel.
David D. Hanneman leans on the family car in front of the Ortman Hotel.

Back from the World’s Ends, ‘Lucky 13’ Meet at Home Again

By Carl Hanneman
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON, Wisconsin — Mauston residents don’t believe in the “unlucky 13” superstition anymore. They can’t after seeing 13 familiar faces that have been absent so long once again through their city streets.

These 13 familiar faces belong to Mauston servicemen, all of whom have seen service overseas and all of whom arrived home at about the same time to vi‘sit their families.

The 13, whose service abroad totals 240 months, were feted at an informal dinner and dance at the Mauston American Legion hall, under the joint sponsorship of the American Legion post and the Mauston Rod and Gun Club, and for a time they once again became “that kid next door” or that “Joe’s boy” as they let the cares of the war drop from their uniformed shoulders.Part of Lucky 13

Their Record
The group includes a man who went through the entire New Guinea campaign with the famed 32nd Division; a man who stood guard over the Japanese at a prison camp overseas; a man who was taken a prisoner of war only to be released at the capitulation of Romania; a man who went through the invasions of Italy and Sicily with the Navy, and others whose heroic deeds were written in most any theater imaginable.

It also includes four airmen who have completed a total of 118 missions. The Lucky 13 are:

Capt. Riley D. Robinson, 31, whose wife and child live in Mauston, who served as supply officer and battery commander with the 32nd Division in Australia and throughout the New Guinea campaign for 30 months.

Corp. Edward Dwyer, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. Burt Dwyer, a veteran of three and one-half years of service, two and a half years of which were spent in the southwest Pacific area.

Pfc. Harold Hagemann, 48, whose wife and child live in Mauston, who served 25 months in the south Pacific as a military policeman at a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

Pvt. Arnold L. Jobs, 20, son of Mrs. Emil Jobs, veteran of 21 months of service, of which from June 1943 to October 1944 was spent in Iceland.

First Lieut. Warren L. Hasse, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hasse, who completed 35 missions as a Flying Fortress bombardier navigator while serving seven months with the Eighth Air Force in England.

Corp. Clifford J. Flentye, 27, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Flentye, a veteran of 32 months in the southwest Pacific.

First Lieut. William R. Holgate, 21, son of Mrs. Roy Holgate, a Flying Fortress pilot who was taken prisoner in Romania after being shot down on his 13th mission and then released at the capitulation of that country.

Apprentice Seaman Robert Loomis, son of the late Gov. Orland and Mrs. Loomis, who has been in the Navy for two years, serving nine months of that time in the southwest Pacific.

First Lieut. Kenneth G. Buglass, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. G.D. Buglass, a veteran of three years of service, who completed 50 missions as a bomber pilot in the North African and Italian theaters during 12 months of overseas duty.

Ripley Was Around
Ensign Burdette Ripley, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Kranz, who entered service in 1939, and went overseas in March 1943, hitting ports in England, Persia, Africa, Sicily, Italy, Australia, Arabia and Ceylon.—

Staff Sgt. Earl Standish, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. Myron St. Claire, who entered service in October 1940 and spent two and a half years in the southwest Pacific.

Tech Sgt. Joseph A. LaBelle, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. LaBelle, who completed 20 missions as engineer-gunner while service for a year with the Air Force is England.

Jack Downing, 20, yeoman third class, son of Mrs. Louis Hale, who entered the Navy in July 1942 and has been in active duty for the past year sailing in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. He was engaged in the invasions of Sicily and Italy and had one destroyer sunk under him.

— Originally published in the November 6, 1944 editions of The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

Eye on the Past: Mauston First-Grade Class of 1940

Many in this group photo from May 1940 would spend their entire pre-secondary education together in Mauston, Wisconsin. A few of the children in this Mauston Grade School photo had moved from Mauston by the time the 1940 U.S. Census was taken a month later. But many graduated together in the Class of 1951 at Mauston High School. First Grade 1940

Bottom Row: Leah Reynolds, Clara Minor, Carol Quamme, Arlene Naglus, Alice Chilson, A. Longsdorf, Gladys Baldwin, Patricia Lane, Mary Crandall.

Second Row: Gerald Stout, S. Jones, Norman Pelton, Arnold Beghin, Almeron Freeman, Tommy Rowe, E. Roberts, Donald Millard, Harold Webster, George Lyons, Robert Randall.

Third Row: Donald Jax, Bernard Solberg, Wendell Smith, David Hanneman, Clayton ‘Ty’ Fiene, Robert Beck, Robert Firlus, Donald Clickner.

Fourth Row: H. Faulkner, Erhard Merk, Joy Smith, Lillian Ackerman, Jessie Hauer, Edith Shaw, Edwin Booth, O. Boldon.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: 1946 Tourist Hotel Crash

It was the moving definition of a close call. A semi-trailer truck being driven by John N. Post flipped over in late June 1946 and slid right into the front of the Tourist Hotel on State Street in Mauston, Wisconsin. The semi ripped off the hotel’s screened porch and pushed it down the block.

The truck pushed parts of the porch 20 feet to the west.
The truck pushed parts of the porch 20 feet to the west.

Breaking glass exploded into the only unoccupied room at the inn. The room’s regular resident, a truck driver himself, was away on vacation. Post, 25, told police that he pulled out in order to pass a car driven by Charles A. Petrowitz, 15. Petrowitz started to make a left turn, forcing Post to veer and lose control of the truck. Post was treated at the Mauston hospital and released. No citations were issued in the accident. In addition to building damage, the truck also knocked over a light post, a mailbox and a fire hydrant.

Truck driver John N. Post suffered only minor injuries in the crash.
Truck driver John N. Post suffered only minor injuries in the crash.

The photos were taken by Carl F. Hanneman for The Wisconsin State Journal, which ran two images and a short story on its State Page on June 25, 1946.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

The Story Behind the 1945 Wisconsin Badgers Homecoming Ticket Stub

It was mixed in with photographs and other documents — a colorful, torn ticket stub. I picked it up and examined it and was left wondering, what is the story behind it? The game was between the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern on November 10, 1945. I presumed that my Dad was the lucky holder of the $1.75 ticket. He was 12 at the time, so a trip from Mauston to Madison for a college football game would have been a big treat. I had to find out more about this game. So I dug right into it.

The ticket stub was like an invitation to re-live the 1945 homecoming game.
The ticket stub was like an invitation to re-live the 1945 homecoming game.

The weather forecast for the homecoming game called for a high of 39 degrees after an overnight low of 18. The Friday night calm on the UW campus was broken by roving mobs of teenagers who broke store windows and vandalized cars along State Street. Madison police made 49 arrests for curfew violations, according to The Wisconsin State Journal. Still, police considered the homecoming crowd on campus well-behaved overall, so they did not use the tear gas and water wagons that were held in reserve.

Scatback Jerry Thompson runs for 5 yards against Northwestern on November 10, 1945.
Scatback Jerry Thompson runs for 5 yards against Northwestern on November 10, 1945.

Camp Randall was packed with 45,000 fans when game time arrived on Saturday. Dad (or whomever held that ticket) sat in the south end zone, Section Z, Row 6, Seat 5. This is the end of the stadium backed against the UW Field House. I’ve sat in that section myself a few times over the years. Fans were treated to a great game. “This was a game with few dull moments, one in which each turned loose a devastating running attack,” wrote Henry J. McCormick, sports editor of The Wisconsin State Journal. The first quarter ended scoreless. Wisconsin’s initial drive ended on Northwestern’s 48 when Jerry Thompson’s pass was intercepted. Northwestern fared no better, as its drive ended on Wisconsin’s 25 when Badger Don Kindt intercepted a Jim Farrar pass.

'Big Ben' Bendrick slashed Northwestern for 133 rushing yards.
‘Big Ben’ Bendrick slashed Northwestern for 133 rushing yards, but fumbled twice.

In the second quarter, Wisconsin scored a touchdown on a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a reverse and a pass to the end zone. Northwestern answered with an impressive 73-yard touchdown drive. Wisconsin roared right back on the next drive. Halfback Ben Bendrick ripped off 17 of his 133 yards on one play. Kindt finished the drive by plunging into the end zone with only 8 seconds left in the half. Halftime score was 14-7 in favor of the Badgers. The second half opened with the same high tempo. Northwestern took the kickoff and moved right down the field with 70 yards on 11 plays. Farrar’s 25-yard pass to tight end Stan Gorski brought the game to a 14-14 tie. On the very next drive Wisconsin’s Bendrick tore off a 41-yard run, followed by an 11-yard scamper from Kindt. A fourth-down pass from Thompson was intercepted by Bill Hunt of Northwestern. When the Wildcats pounded down to the Wisconsin 1 yard line on the drive, the Badgers’ defense stiffened, stopping the Cats on a fourth-down pass play. As the third quarter ended, the score was still knotted at 14.

On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Bendrick continued his punishing ground game. But lightning struck as Bendrick went around left end. The ball popped out, right into the hands of Northwestern’s Hunt, who returned the ball to the Wisconsin 9 yard line. After two running plays, Northwestern took it to the end zone for a 21-14 lead. The teams then traded unsuccessful drives. Wisconsin’s Thompson threw another pick at mid-field, but Northwestern’s ensuing drive stalled. When the Badgers got the ball back, Bendrick fumbled again. Northwestern pounced on the ball at the Wisconsin 24. Seven plays later, Northwestern scored to go up 28-14. That’s how the game ended.

When your team rolls up 244 yards rushing, it typically won’t lose. But on this day, the Badgers made too many mistakes, spotting the Wildcats 14 points with two fumbles. The headlines should have been about Bendrick’s stellar 133-yard rushing day. The Badger faithful left Camp Randall entertained, but unsatisfied. If my Dad, David D. Hanneman, was the ticket holder, I’m guessing he was there with his father, Carl F. Hanneman. The first Wisconsin game I can recall attending with my grandfather was a 1977 game vs. Michigan State. The Badgers lost that day, 9-7.

Don Kindt ran for 63 yards against Northwestern.
Don Kindt ran for 63 yards against Northwestern.

Hidden behind the headlines of the 1945 game was a compelling military story. It was just the third game back for Don Kindt, who shared halfback duties with “Big Ben” Bendrick. As just a 17-year-old, Kindt interrupted his Wisconsin football career in 1943 to enlist in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II. He saw extensive action in Italy and was awarded two bronze stars. He returned to the Badgers in October 1945. After his Wisconsin playing career, Kindt spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. He recounts his war experiences in an extensive interview conducted in 1994 by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Stentorian Voice and Singing Medals

“Stentorian Voice.” Of all the notations in the Mauston High School yearbooks of David D. Hanneman, those two words truly stand out. In the “Report of Condition of the Students of Mauston High School” in 1950, David Hanneman’s asset is listed as “stentorian voice.” Not a common adjective, “stentorian” means “of powerful voice.” It can also mean “booming” and “loud.” No doubt the years 1947-51 were stentorian years for Hanneman, for he and his singing buddies at MHS earned accolades and medals for their singing. 

David D. Hanneman's medals from the Wisconsin Centennial Music Festival in 1948.
David D. Hanneman’s medals from the Wisconsin Centennial Music Festival in 1948.

Mauston High School at the time was known for its quality vocal and instrumental music programs. The boys’ double quartet or octette was among the highest profile examples of that quality. The barbershop group regularly competed at the state level in competition sponsored by the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA).

The group included Hanneman and Roger Quick at second bass, Bob Jagoe and Dick Shaw at first bass, Clayton “Ty” Fiene and Bob Beck at first tenor, and Alan Banks and Arthur Volling at second tenor. Self-dubbed the “State Men” for annual appearances in competition, the group had its own cartoon likeness drawn into the Mauston High School yearbook, The Hammer.

Members of the Mauston High School boys double quartet.
Members of the Mauston High School boys double quartet.

In the many WSMA competitions, David Hanneman also sang bass solos, duets and mixed quartets and double quartets. According to one of the judge’s score cards, a Mauston quartet was rated “excellent” for tone, “good” for intonation and “good” for technique. Another judge rated Hanneman “excellent” for his bass solo and noted “maturity of quality” as his greatest singing asset. Hanneman kept the dozens of medals he won at these competitions for many decades after high school.

The "State Men" had their own page in the Mauston High School yearbook in 1951.
The “State Men” had their own page in the Mauston High School yearbook in 1951.

Singing wasn’t Hanneman’s only musical interest, however. He played the trumpet for a time and was in the Mauston public school band. He appeared in numerous parades playing the bass drum for the band.

David got his love of song from his mother, Ruby V. Hanneman. As a youngster, Ruby often performed onstage at theaters in Wisconsin Rapids. The Hanneman home in Mauston had a beautiful pump organ and a Victrola record player with a large collection of music. Later in life he appeared in a number of community musicals and sang in the choir at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. His deep voice could carry the entire parish in song, with enough volume to almost lift the church off its foundations.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Ruby V. Hanneman sings with son David D. Hanneman.
Ruby V. Hanneman sings with son David D. Hanneman.

Photo Detective: Cowboy Hiram Greene

My Dad’s family made several trips out West, to Arizona and the Dakotas. Sorting out and matching photos with cities has been a constant challenge. A couple of intriguing photos show Dad with a cowboy identified as Hiram Greene. I wondered, was Hiram Greene a famous rodeo rider, a film star or some other celebrity?

My first source of information was the caption on the back of one photo, written by my grandmother, Ruby V. Hanneman. It listed the name “Hiram Greene” and said he was from Billings, Montana. The photo, according to the caption, was taken at Canistota, Minnesota. As it turned out, that caption was problematic in several respects.

Hiram Greene with David D. Hanneman in July 1945.
Hiram Greene with David D. Hanneman on July 14, 1945.

I took a chance by doing a generic search engine query and came up empty. I quickly ruled out the idea that Mr. Greene was a major celebrity. Using databases at Ancestry.com, I was unable to find anyone by that name near Billings, Montana. But I did find what appeared to be a good match right in South Dakota, where the Hanneman family vacationed several times in the 1940s.

Hiram Hoyt Greene was a farmer who lived much of his life around Mitchell, S.D. I ran a quick search and discovered the major tourist attraction in Mitchell is the Mitchell Corn Palace, home to world-famous murals made from corn. That quickly rang a bell with me. I had numerous photos of the Hannemans outside the Corn Palace. This led me to conclude that it was possible that Dad met Hiram Greene on the streets of Mitchell. Especially since there is no Canistota, Minnesota. There is a Canistota, S.D., another city the Hanneman family visited on vacation. Canistota is home to the famous Ortman Chiropractic Clinic. I could find no link between Hiram and Canistota, although it is only 40 miles from Mitchell. I took yet another look through the photo library and found an image of the Ortman Clinic. The building next to it appears to match the brick building that Dad and Mr. Greene are standing near. So it was Canistota after all.

According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Hiram Hoyt Greene was a livestock and grain producer. This made sense. A cattle rancher would certainly dress like a cowboy. Perhaps Dad saw Mr. Greene on the street and wanted to have his photo taken with a real cowboy. I wonder if that had happened to Mr. Greene before? I started out looking for a celebrity, but found a regular, hard-working cattle rancher. It was an even better story, in my opinion.

Hiram Hoyt Greene was born in May 1898. At the time of the World War I draft, he was a farmer in Mitchell, S.D. In May 1920, he married May Luella Moe. The couple had nine children. At various times in his working life, Greene farmed and lived in Mitchell, the Town of Beulah and Mount Vernon, South Dakota. He was hospitalized in November 1958, just a day after celebrating the wedding of one of his sons. He died on November 28, 1958 at age 60.

I learned several key lessons from this photo detective assignment. First, it is always a good idea to write down information on the back of photographs. Or in the case of modern digital images, to embed a caption and keywords in the photo files. But you can’t always trust the information on old photo prints. Sometimes captions are written long after the events shown in the photo. Memories can be jumbled, so it is good to check the information and correct it if necessary.

— This post has been updated with more information.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

 

Photo Detective: Finding Sammy Kaufman

It was a tiny photograph, not much larger than an oversized postage stamp. It showed two boys, identified on the back as Bob Firlus and Sam Kaufman. Of course I was very familiar with Bob, my Dad’s lifelong friend from Mauston, Wisconsin. But Sam did not ring a bell. However, his presence in my Dad’s photo collection meant that he was a friend and likely a frequent guest at the home of my grandparents on Morris Street in Mauston. I wondered, what became of Sam?

Bob Firlus (at left) and Sam Kaufman, circa 1940.
Bob Firlus (at left) and Sam Kaufman on Morris Street in Mauston, circa 1940.

The photo detective in me kicked into high gear. My first check was with Mr. Firlus, who had some distinct and humorous early memories of Sam:

They had a nice house on Tremont Street. One day Sammy and I walked out to Coon Rock Bluff a few miles west of Mauston. We were near the bluff and Sammy said that he had to take a pee but he asked me not to tell his dad because his dad told him he should not pee outdoors.

Ah, the troubles of youth! What a great story! Bob said he believed Sam had moved to Pennsylvania after leaving Mauston. I next dug out some of my Dad’s yearbooks and found Sam pictured with my Dad’s Mauston Grade School class in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was one of the tallest boys in class, so was usually found in the back row. In the 1939 class photo, he was standing directly to my Dad’s right.

Bob Firlus, Sammy Kaufman and David Hanneman are shown in this early grade school photo.
Bob Firlus, Sammy Kaufman and David Hanneman are shown in this early school photo.

I checked the U.S. Census and military records on Ancestry.com and  found Sam’s father, Albert Ross Kaufman, a doctor at Mauston’s Hess Memorial Clinic. The elder Kaufman’s 1942 draft card showed he was 46 and living with his family at 214 Tremont Street in Mauston. That was fairly close to the Hess clinic, but not so close to the Hanneman house. So what was his connection to that photo taken on Morris Street? I looked up Sam’s mother, Ardis, and discovered her maiden name was Hess. OK, now we’re making progress. Hess was a very prominent name in Mauston, largely due to Dr. James Samuel Hess Sr., a pioneer doctor and founder of the hospital and clinic. Interestingly, Bob Firlus said he had recently thought about Sam and the name Ardis came to mind, although Bob hadn’t recalled that was Sam’s mother’s name.

Turns out that Dr. Ardis (Hess) Kaufman (also a physician) was the daughter of Dr. J.S. Hess Sr. and Maude (Robinson) Hess. She was the sister of Dr. J.S. Hess Jr., who lived directly across the street from the Hannemans. Dr. Sam, as the junior Hess was known, took over for his father at the hospital and clinic. That explained why Sammy was a frequent neighborhood visitor. My grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, worked for Dr. Sam running the pharmacy attached to the Hess clinic. So it made sense that Bob Firlus and my Dad were buddies of Sam Kaufman. I dug into my photo archives and found another shot that appears to show Sam outside the Hess home around 1942.

A tall, thin young man believed to be Sam Kaufman outside the Hess home on Winsor Street.
A tall, thin young man believed to be Sam Kaufman outside the Hess home on Winsor Street.

Now that I had a good sense of Sam’s history in Mauston, I wanted to figure out where he went and what happened in his life. Again, Ancestry.com was a crucial source. I found listings for Dr. Albert R. Kaufman under city directories in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Based on that, I ran search engine queries and located an obituary for Sam Kaufman. I reacted with sadness, since I always hope in doing this work to find a living person to track down. Sam died in October 2008 of lung cancer. Same cause as my Dad, and about 18 months later. From the obituary, it was clear Sam had lived an exemplary life.

The obituary described Sam’s college education, his longtime service in the U.S. Army, his 1957 marriage to Margaret “Meg” Floyd, and his career switch from salesman to high school teacher. He had a long teaching career at Baldwin High School in suburban Pittsburgh. The couple had two sons, James and Steve. From checking those names with search engines, it appears Steve has had a long career as an assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh.

Even after I finished most of my research, Sam’s name stuck in my head. There was some other clue I was missing. Dad, could you give me some help here? Then it hit me. I vaguely recalled that Sammy accompanied my Dad’s family on one of their vacation trips to the Dakotas. But how to find the photo amidst the thousands in the archive? On this day, I had some help from above. The first archive box I opened had the photo for which I searched. The caption read: “Sammy Kaufman on right, David Hanneman on left.” It was in my Grandma Ruby’s handwriting.

David Hanneman and Sam Kaufman outside the Ortman Clinic in Canistota, S.D., circa 1944.
David Hanneman (left) and Sam Kaufman outside the Ortman Chiropractic Clinic in Canistota, S.D., circa 1944.

It took a few days of work, but with a little effort I went from a tiny photo print with lots of questions to a decent understanding of Sam Kaufman and his life in and beyond Mauston. Well done, Sam, and thank you.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

President Truman Comes to Elroy

[The original version of this story posted in 2014 stated that President Truman visited Mauston, Wisconsin. A sharp-eyed former resident of Mauston noted in the comments section that Truman did not visit Mauston, but rather nearby Elroy. The Truman Presidential Library has now confirmed this, so the story has been corrected and expanded as of May 10, 2017.]

When President Harry S Truman pulled into tiny Elroy, Wisconsin on his rail tour of America in 1948, the Carl F. Hanneman family was at the station and captured several Polaroid images of the event. The grainy and out of focus photos are far from perfect, but they provide literal snapshots from one of the great political stories in American history.

The Harry S Truman express approaches Mauston during campaign season 1948.
The Harry S Truman express approaches Elroy, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1948.

Truman went on an 30,000-mile “whistle-stop” railroad tour of the nation, visiting large cities, small villages and everything in between. His 17-car train was called the Magellan. Much like his old boss President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had done, Truman made speeches from a presidential podium at the back of the train. The tour drew huge crowds wherever he went, and Mauston was no exception. According to the Truman Presidential Library, the president made up to eight speeches each day during the rail tour.

President Harry S Truman took his case directly to the people during his 1948 rail tour.
President Harry S Truman took his case directly to the people during his 1948 rail tour.

On this day, Truman started out with a speech in Mankato, Minnesota at 8:08 a.m. Other stops included Waseca, Rochester and Winona, Minnesota; and Sparta, Wisconsin. The train pulled into Elroy at 1:55 p.m. on October 14, 1948. Truman stepped to the podium and said:

I certainly do appreciate your coming out here. This was supposed to have been a water stop. I didn’t think that we would be here long enough for me to speak to you, but I am happy that we did stop long enough, and I appreciate your interest and I appreciate your coming out here to see the president.

I wish I had the chance to discuss with you all the issues in this campaign, but I haven’t the time now.

I hope you’ve been reading the speeches and statements I have been making over the country. They are in your interest, and if you vote for your own interests on the 2d of November you’ll elect a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Congressman from your district–and you’ll elect a Democratic administration in the whole United States Government. And then things will be safe and in the hands of the people.

Conventional political wisdom had Truman losing badly before a single ballot was cast. When he won the election, it was viewed as a stunning turn of events. Many will recall the famous photo of Truman holding the early edition of the Chicago Tribune with the erroneous headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” That photo was snapped at the back of the same train in St. Louis, as Truman departed for Washington.

It seems the term “whistle-stop” was considered a bit of a slight. When Republican Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio criticized the Democrat Truman for things he was saying on the “whistle-stop” tour, mayors of towns on the route of Truman’s tour reacted with indignation. “Our whistles never stop blowing,” one huffed. Crestline, Ohio, was quick to point out the 42 daily trains that served its population of 5,000. The Associated Press at the time said a whistle-stop was a “tank town, a hamlet, a mere wide place in the road.” Truman’s own comments at Elroy indicate the stop there was supposed to be only to take on water.

Of course millions of Americans live in such places, so the kerfuffle seemed a bit strange. As columnist Thomas L. Stokes noted, “Whistle-stop folks vote, too.” Stokes called the rail tour a public service, part of a president’s responsibility to communicate directly with the American people.

©2014-2017 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Merry Christmas 1942

Stevie Wilson and Laurni Lee Wilson made their own Christmas greeting in December 1942 with this photograph sent to their Uncle and Aunt, Carl and Ruby Hanneman of Mauston, Wisconsin. They even included greetings from their dog, Melissa. The Wilsons lived in Waukegan, Illinois, where the Hanneman family often visited. Stevie and Laurni Lee are the children of Lawrence and Nina (Treutel) Wilson. Nina is Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman’s sister. Merry Christmas!

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Stevie Wilson and Laurni Lee Wilson made their own Christmas greeting in December 1942.
Stevie Wilson and Laurni Lee Wilson made their own Christmas greeting in December 1942.