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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  May, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

…while most of the country observes Daylight Saving Time, Hawaii, Arizona and Puerto Rico don’t?

Curiously, in May of 1941, the North Union school district, too, decided to forego the annual ritual of saving daylight. While most people around the country moved their clocks forward, the principal of North Union’s schools announced the clock changing “caused considerable interruption,” so the school board decided to keep North Union’s schools on Standard Time.

In 1942, North Union’s schools were forced to change its clocks with the rest of the country. President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation that required Daylight Saving Time would be observed all over the country as a wartime energy saving measure that would begin on February 9th that year. It would continue through the end of the war.

Did you know that two Miss Americas paid visits to Uniontown within a year during 1920’s?
On March 5th, 1925, the Uniontown Morning Herald reported on its front page that the reigning Miss America, Ruth Malcomson, “captivated” the city when she visited the offices of the Herald, attended an informal dinner at the Uniontown Country Club, and then presided over a beauty contest at the Gallatin Gardens.

The following year, in February of 1926, Fay Lanphier, that year’s reigning Miss America, only merited page 18 coverage in the Morning Herald, although her visit may have been a bit more eventful than the visit by her predecessor. When she arrived in Uniontown she’d come without the benefit of a change of clothes.

It seems, Ms. Lanphier and her entourage had come to Uniontown that day from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and had to change trains three times, so her baggage got lost.

There seemed to have been a certain bit of drama in trying to find the appropriate evening wear for Lanphier’s appearance that night at Gallatin Gardens. It was reported that she’d tried on a dozen gowns, but none of them fit.

To make matters worse, the orchestra set to play for the dance that night, the California Ramblers (who were really from Toronto, Canada) failed to make it to the Gallatin Gardens. They’d gotten stuck in Pittsburgh.

Sometimes, you can learn a lot about Fayette County by reading old newspapers from other parts of the country. The Long Beach, California Press-Telegram reported in its February 22nd, 1954 edition that a man in Uniontown, 48 year old Joe Durant, had gone way above the call of duty for his country.
Durant, who was a disabled miner, had spent seven months (seven days a week) on top of a local bank building searching for enemy aircraft as a one man air-raid spotter. Every night from midnight until 6 A.M. he’d take his post as he watched the skies above Uniontown.

He was finally given a night off from his voluntary duties by the U.S. Army. He was taken to Pittsburgh for a night out. Durant was quoted as saying, “I thought Uncle Sam could need some help and I was willing to do what I could.”

The following year, the same Long Beach newspaper published a story about Uniontown’s John Trent. Trent had, according to the story, “realized his life’s ambition.” (For the record, Mr. Trent was my neighbor. He gave me trumpet lessons. His lack of success in that regard surely couldn’t possibly have been what he was talking about when he said he “realized his life’s ambition.”)
But, according to that story, the 70 year-old former mail carrier, was about to get his college degree at Waynesburg College. The Bridgeport Telegram in Bridgeport, Connecticut picked up the story from there.

It reported that Trent had gotten his Bachelor of Arts degree with a “B” average. What’s more remarkable was that he’d been forced to drop out of high school in order to support his family. He finally got his high school diploma, eight years later – in 1912.

On September 13th, 1901, the readers of the Oakland, California Tribune read about a woman who lived on Coolspring Street in Uniontown.
Not in a news story, but in an advertisement. Mrs. Alice L. Holmes was quoted as having had “indigestion so bad I could not eat anything hardly. Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription and ‘Golden Medical Discovery’ cured me.”

Such personal testimonials in newspaper advertisements were quite common many years ago. I found an ad in the Daily Kennebec of August, Maine dated January 7th, 1878 that quoted J.K. Fisher of Uniontown.

Regarding something called “Merchant’s Gargling Oil,” Fisher, a merchant himself, claimed, “Your Gargling Oil is doing much better than formally. Bottles put up for family use, are much sought for.”

Did you know that Babe Ruth never visited Fayette County, but a man who hit more homeruns than him paid frequent visits to the area? It’s true, and I’ll tell you all about it next week.