Out of the Past

Posted: March 10, 2014

Performers do a song and dance act at the 1978 Fairfax Follies, the first year of the annual show at Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown. Pictured are, from left, Tracy Cooper, Mary Harris, Teresa Brown, Malcom Lerch, Dennis Bayliss, Jane Rowen, Connie Billmyer, and “T” Nafziger. The follies, now called The Spring Show, will be held this weekend in the McCoy Theater at the college. Tickets are $2. Performances are 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. A pre-show, 1 hours before each performance, will take place in the Corron Conference Center and will include barbecue with sides, free ice cream, face painting and a cake walk.

100 years ago

Mrs. Bridgett Custy, for many years the well-known keeper of the first tollgate east of this city on the Winchester and Berrys Ferry turnpike, where the pike joins the Front Royal road, passed at her home about 3 o’clock this morning, after a lingering sickness due to infirmities of advanced age. Her health has been failing for several years, but it was only recently that Mrs. Custy was compelled to take to her bed.

She was a woman of great resourcefulness and determination and was faithful and alert in the discharge of her duties as keeper of the tollgate. Many people who conceived the idea of probably being able to “run” the tollgate late at night and thus avoid paying for the privileges of using the pike were often surprised by the little gray-haired Irish lady, no matter how severe the weather or dark the night, who always appeared with her lantern in hand at the gate and frustrated attempts to get by without handing over the money the law required of those who used the road.

She had been keeper of the tollgate about 30 years, and in that time she handled large sums of money for the turnpike company. Perhaps no woman in the southeastern section of Frederick County was better known than Mrs. Custy.

March 3, 1914

The large three-story wooden building of the colored lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, situated on the north side of East Clifford Street, between Market and Kent Street, which was severely damaged by the hurricane which struck Winchester with terrific force Sunday night and Monday morning, must be torn down at once.

The building was thoroughly inspected yesterday by the committee on public and local improvements of the Common Council, and was found to be a menace. People living in the vicinity of the lodge hall have either moved out of their dwellings or nailed boards over their windows.

The building was buckled in several places, much of the plastering is about to fall off, and the big hall is tottering on its foundation. It is the opinion of the committee that a strong wind may send it crashing to the ground.

March 4, 1914

NEW YORK — In a letter received here a Texas woman offers the fossilized body of her husband to the museum of natural history. The woman says in her letter that her husband is useless to her while living and hopes that he may be of some value as a fossil. She asks bids for him.

March 5, 1914

The pathway of those ladies who are trying to make men of themselves is beset with certain difficulties. In Chicago some of them were appointed policemen or rather policewomen.

The first shot out of the box the policewomen were called upon to arrest other ladies who were alleged to be disturbing the peace by strike picketing. When the policewomen attempted to take their fair sisters into custody there was an immediate mix-up and a hair-pulling struggle, which gave intense delight to the mere men, who looked on without taking part.

Finally the policemen — other mere men — had to come up and quiet the riot.

March 6, 1914

75 years ago

Scientifically planned, luxuriously and artistically appointed, the new grill and club room in the basement of the Elks Home at Braddock and Piccadilly street will be ready for use on or about March 15, it was learned today.

The improvement, which will cost approximately $10,000 when finished, have been underway for about a year. Persons who have visited scores of lodge rooms in other cities have, upon seeing the new facilities of the Winchester lodge, declared them to be the finest they had seen.

Tile has been utilized for the floors throughout and there are several tiled columns in the club room. Graceful wrought iron hinges were designed for heavy oak doors. Club chairs of oak with leather upholstering and large leather lounges harmonize with the other surroundings. At either end of the club room are large fireplaces.

The grill is paneled with walnut. Indirect lighting is used throughout. The kitchen is modern in every respect, well lighted and ventilated.

The new accommodations will be of great value to the lodge next August when the Winchester Elks will be hosts to the annual state convention.

March 7, 1938

Sgt. L.B. Loewenstein, the “Wandering Legionnaire,” arrived in Winchester last evening and today was viewing the sights in the Queen City of the Valley while enroute across the continent for the 11th time.

Decorated with the French Croix de Guerre during the World War, Loewenstein has since spent most of his time hiking hither and yon about the world.

In his spare time he lectures, writes, and in other ways promotes “Americanism,” he stated today.

A native of New York, he has engaged in various vocations, including ranching, but since 1922 practically all of his time has been devoted to travel.

“My home is the world,” he said, “and I like it.”

March 8, 1939

50 years ago

Final legislative approval for a bill establishing a Winchester Parking Authority was termed here today “the first major step toward some real progress in the development of the downtown area.” The matter will go to the City Council Tuesday night.

The comment came from Richard Martin, chairman of a 10-member special assignment committee named by Mayor Claude B. Smalts to study a “Downtown Progress” report prepared by a team of professional planners. The Star and the Northern Virginia Power Co. combined their efforts to produce the report.

The report suggests a partial mall, added parking spaces, and a general tidying up of the city’s main business area.

March 5, 1964

25 years ago

On and off all through the day and into the night the tapping continued — showers of tiny crystals falling, popping on roofs and against window panes, coating roads, cars, sidewalks — everything, with a thick, crunchy, treacherous layer of ice.

The precipitation, 1.06 inches in all, caused schools to close early Monday and to be called off entirely today. Most of the precipitation was in the form of ice, with a light coat of powdery snow that fell during the night. Forecasters had alerted the area for 4 to 6 inches of overnight snowfall.

Cold temperatures and brisk winds drove the wind chill index a few degrees below zero, the Weather Service said.

March 7 , 1989

— Compiled by Priscilla Lehman (plehman@winchesterstar.com)