Out of the Past
100 years ago
Mr. Ralph Rinker, the genius of Opequon, this county, who has built several automobiles along original lines and ideas, is now busily engaged in the work of constructing a flying machine, and residents of Winchester need not be surprised to see Mr. Rinker mounting into the clouds at any time after the middle of November. He expects to have the airship completed and ready for flight within three weeks.
Mr. Rinker’s machine will be of the monoplane type, and it will be operated by a 22-horsepower motor. He has displayed a considerable amount of ingenuity in the work done on his monoplane, and from tests already made it is predicted that the machine will fly successfully.
Oct. 30, 1913
Workman employed by a Baltimore firm of contractors are now erecting a handsome new altar of white marble in the sanctuary of the Church of the Sacred Heart, and when finished it will be one of the most attractive, as well as substantial, church adornments in this section of the state.
The new altar is being built in accordance with provisions made by the will of the late Mr. Nathaniel Routzahn, a widely-known Winchester photographer, who set aside a sufficient amount for the building of the altar.
Oct. 30, 1913
DUQUESNE, Pa. — Miss Sylvia Pendleton was the cause of 5,000 mill men quitting work, two freight train crews refusing to move a wheel, and a near-riot here, when she appeared in a “slit-skirt” and swept down Grant Street, exposing her shapely legs only partly stockinged. In fact, she wore socks.
When the young woman reached a point alongside the Duquesne plant of the Carnegie Steel Co. thousands of employees began swarming out onto the street, heading off the unabashed and unafraid young woman.
The police were finally obliged to charge the crowd several times before the streets were cleared. Miss Pendleton was also persuaded to enter a department store. Burgess Crawford, who viewed the show from a distance later said it was “horrible.”
Oct. 31, 1918
The Halloween festival was more generally observed and celebrated in Winchester this year than for a long time and last night there were many entertainments in homes, some of the parties being of a decidedly unique character, in which new and attractive decorations were used and novel games played.
More miscreants were abroad, too, than usual, and some of their depredations were, indeed outrageous. Many doorsteps were removed, thus, endangering the lives and limbs of people who might have had occasion to go out of their front doors without thinking of the pranks of the youthful mischief makers.
It is recalled that an old lady fell from a door on South Market Street some years ago, after the steps had been removed on Halloween and suffered injuries that hastened her death.
Nov. 1, 1913
75 years ago
Chief of Police C.W. Hollis today warned funsters and mummers against wearing masks during Halloween.
“The use of masks is absolutely prohibited,” said Chief Hollis who also warned against damage to property, public or private.
Oct. 31, 1938
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission began an investigation today of a dramatic radio broadcast which led some people to believe last night that men from Mars had attacked the United States.
Chairman Frank P. McNinch asked the Columbia Broadcasting System to furnish the commission with an electrical transcription of the broadcast, a dramatized version of H.G. Wells’ imaginative story, “War of the Worlds.”
Virginians fainted, wept, and prayed last night as the men from Mars swept into New Jersey via the radio. A woman in Pittsburgh tried suicide, saying “I’d rather die this way than like that.”
Orson Welles, who startled the theater ocularly last season by portraying a Caesar in modern dress with Fascist leanings, was overcome by the unbelievable reaction to his presentation of the Wells thriller-turned-horrifier.
Oct. 31, 1938
The lusty lads of Berryville High, enjoying the traditions of Halloween in rollicking, swashbuckling style, were a bit too drastic in their fun last night for comfort, officers decided this morning after viewing the endless stream of old cars, rubbish, and miscellaneous property and debris littering Main Street here.
On the sidewalks of the principal block in the business section of Main Street a string of old, broken down cars on both sides of the street greeted the eyes of startled early risers.
And according to one guardian of the law, who kept a lonely vigil over the elementary school most of the night, a pile of apple crates, disused store counters, washing machines, ladders, and various other debris reared up about 20 feet high under a street light at the main intersection.
Nov. 2, 1938
WOODSTOCK — Halloween pranksters went a little too far with their celebrations here last night. Though there was very little damage done to storefronts and houses following a request by Mayor Carl C. Boyer, considerable damage was done to the new $60,000 high school building that is situated on the outskirts of town.
For the second time in three years a cow was placed in the school. The youths, it is believed, purloined the docile bovine from a nearby pasture and herded her into the halls of education. Not satisfied with their feat as cowpunchers they continued with acts of vandalism by defacing the property.
Nov. 2, 1938
50 years ago
As in past years, Chief of Police Maj. J. Thomas Boyd noted, it was an exceptionally quiet Halloween with only two instances to mar the night.
Someone maliciously sprayed paint on a parked car near The Star office and apparently the same group gave the paint treatment to the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse; the cannon near City Hall; and the front of the Capitol Theater.
Nov. 1, 1963
25 years ago
FRONT ROYAL — Avtex Fibers-Front Royal Inc., the largest rayon manufacturing facility in the United States and one of the largest employers in the northern Shenandoah Valley, with 1,300 jobs and a $35,000 million payroll, will close Thursday.
Avtex Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John N. Gregg, citing foreign competition and pressure from state and federal environmental and labor officials, announced the closing Monday at a press conference.
The plant has been under fire for several years from state and federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Water Control Board. It has been deemed responsible for polluting the Shenandoah River.
Nov. 1, 1988
— Compiled by Priscilla Lehman (email@example.com)