This Week In History: Drink to Your Health

The last month of 1922 was a rough one for Fayette County’s taverns. Though the National Prohibition Act (or “Volstead law”) was put in place nearly three years earlier, local speakeasies still offered a setting for “many Saturday night frolics and joyous pleasure parties,” as an article in the Daily News Standard called them. That came to an end for a few saloons on December 2, 1922, when court action forced them to close.

This Week In History: Halloween Across a Decade

Halloween has come and gone — my favorite holiday by far! Yesterday I sat at the PA Room’s desk, dressed in full pirate regalia and eager to scare any kids who wandered too far from the confines of the Children’s Library. (Actually, I had candy for them. But they still seemed to be afraid of me.)

It was a quiet day, so I delved into the microfilm to learn about how Halloween was celebrated by locals in the past. The following article appeared in the Daily News Standard on October 31, 1898 and described a particularly disruptive Mischief Night.

This Week In History: The McClelland House Fire, 1914

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the March 23, 1914 edition of the Daily News Standard.

This weekend marked one hundred years since the burning of McClelland House, a hotel that once stood on West Main Street in Uniontown. If you’re local, you may have noticed coverage of the anniversary in the Herald-Standard and even on area news stations — particularly with regard to a volunteer firefighter named Voight LaClair.

This Week In History: Local Brevities, 1879

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine the March 6, 1879 edition of the American Standard.

One interesting feature of our early newspapers are the sections devoted to minor happenings around the county. In the American Standard these blurbs take up an entire page, but their organization — or lack thereof — isn’t particularly researcher-friendly. One notice flows into the next, and apart from the paragraph breaks, there are no headlines and few font changes to guide the eye. If you’re patient enough, however, the Local Brevities can make for a fascinating (and often funny) read.

This Week In History: The Death of a Fayette County Soldier, 1862

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine the February 27, 1862 edition of the Genius of Liberty.

On a February evening in Cumberland, MD, Captain James Morris of the 7th Virginia Regiment sat down to pen a difficult letter.

“It becomes my painful duty to inform you, that your Son, John Deyarman, departed this life in the Hospital in this place, about twenty minutes since, of Typhoid Fever,” he wrote. “He was sick but a short time . . . I never learned until last night after dark, that he was bad or dangerous, and then I took the first train, and came up to see him, and found him dying.”

This Week In History: Valentine’s Day, 1908

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the February 14, 1908 edition of the Daily News Standard.

“The observance of St. Valentine’s day in and about Uniontown this year is very general and young and old are joining heartily in the exchange of tender missives of affection, friendship, and greeting.”

So begins a front-page article on Valentine’s Day from the Daily News Standard, published on the very date of the holiday in 1908. According to the Standard, the year saw an unprecedented number of gifts and cards moving through the post office, where the rush put the clerks in mind of Christmas.

This Week In History: The Uniontown Motor Club, 1924

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the February 9, 1924 edition of the Morning Herald.

The headline isn’t all that eye-catching: “Annual Meeting of Motor Club Monday Evening.” This was a reference to the Uniontown Motor Club, a relatively new group reorganized from the Automobile Club of Fayette County in May of 1923. Back then they only had 82 members, but over the ensuing year, more than 700 people joined. Clearly something interesting was going on here!

This Week in History: Prewar Prosperity in 1915

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the January 28, 1915 edition of the Morning Herald.

In January of 1915, the U.S. was just emerging from a two-year recession. It was in this economic climate that the The Morning Herald made a joyful announcement: The H.C. Frick Company had called for a thousand more coke ovens to be fired (or put into operation) across the region, and ordered them to run five days a week.

This Week In History: The Storm of 1886

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the January 14, 1886 edition of the Republican Standard called “Snow Bound.”

With this January’s subzero temperatures still fresh in our minds, it seemed fitting to bring up another wretched moment in Fayette County’s weather history: The Storm of 1886, which the Republican Standard deemed “a landmark in the conquests of King Blizzard.”

After a mild holiday, the first sign of bad weather came on Friday, January 8, 1886:

“The old mountain began to roar and rumble, ominous of a pending storm. About dark it began to snow . . . The storm raged without cessation through Saturday and Saturday night, blowing, snowing, drifting and freezing. Before Sunday morning it had become too cold to snow, but the windstorm prevailed more or less until Sunday night. The snow was nearly a foot and a half deep and the mercury had dropped to below zero.”