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Looking Back in Newton’s History

From the files of the Newton Daily News

100 Years Ago This Week —May 12-18, 1913

(NOTE: copies of the Daily News were not available for this week; these items are from the Newton Daily Journal)

The Lyric Theatre on the west side of the square was showing the movie, “A Wise Old Elephant,” a two-reel feature starring “Toodles, the world-famous elephant actor,” in the lead role ... The Newton Home Savings and Loan Association signed incorporation papers today, and will be able to open for business after they are approved by the state executive board.  Officers of the association are C. P. Axtell, president; C. F. Morgan, secretary; and F. W. Jasper, treasurer) ... Lightning struck the C. E. Greenleaf home on Greencastle Ave. on May 13, setting fire to the house, but doing only minor damage.  The home was equipped with lightning rods but, ironically, the lightning struck at a point where there were no rods or wiring.

75 Years Ago This Week —  

May 12-18, 1938

Portraits of Vernon Skiff and his wife, Mary Frances, were hung in the hospital lobby earlier this week and will be revealed to the public at an open house on May 15.  Vernon Skiff founded the hospital in 1920, in memory of his late wife ... A recent employment census conducted by the federal government found 575 Jasper County residents registered as “totally unemployed.”  Newton residents accounted for 259 of that total.  Another 569 county residents were listed as “partially employed.”  (Note: this census appears to have been conducted prior to the Maytag workers’ strike that began on May 9, 1938, idling an additional workforce of 1,400 or more) ... The newly revised Newton ordinance book retains this rule that says, “no boy or girl under the age of 17 shall be abroad upon the streets, alleys, or public grounds in the city between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Oct. 1 to Apr. 1, and from 9:30 p.m. – 5:30 a.m. between Apr. 1 and Oct. 1, unless accompanied by his parent or guardian or (an adult) appointed by his or her parents…”  Any youths violating the law will be arrested and returned to their parents.

50 Years Ago This Week —

May 12-18,1963

Gov. Harold Hughes signed a bill giving Iowans “liquor by the drink” for the first time in 47 years.  Also, “individuals will no longer need to buy a liquor permit book in order to purchase liquor at state-owned stores.”  (Note: Newton’s liquor store was located at 109 E. 2nd St. S. at this time) ... Members of the Newton High School golf team that qualified for the boys’ state golf tournament included Scott Power, Roger Bradley, Bob Loar, Charles Stewart, Ed Bunn, and Jim Nunn.  Larry Lust won the high jump at the class AA district track & field meet with a jump of 6’ ¾” ... “Call Me Up,” a recording by Donna Berka, a 1961 Newton High School graduate, is now on the regular play list of several major radio stations.  She has been signed to do personal appearances on two Nebraska TV stations.

25 Years Ago This Week — May 12-18, 1988

Melissa Adams, Jennifer Bruce, Shaun Fortune, Tami Knorr, Amy Ryan, Stacy Simpson, Brenda Thompson, Stacy Thompson, Sara Trusler, Jana Vander Kamp, and Debby Warden were among the Newton High School students who attended the Iowa state conference of the Future Business Leaders of America ... Maytag Blue Cheese and the city of Newton have been named semi-finalists in Edward D. Jones & Co.’s “What is Your Town Famous For?”  The names were submitted by Nancy J. Townsend, investment representative with the company ... On Monday, the Newton City Council demonstrated it is serious about economic development by moving to hire an economic development/redevelopment director.

10 Years Ago This Week — May 12-18, 2003

A ribbon cutting was held Friday for Fabric Quarters, a sewing/quilting shop owned by Carol Tiffany, at 426 1st Ave. E.  The shop also houses Made to Measure, the interior design and custom window coverings business of Marsha George ... Bob Axtell, Sr. and Bob Axtell, Jr. will leave their automobile dealership at the end of May, when they sell the business to Pat Clemons.  The Axtell name has been associated with the automotive business in Newton since 1926 ... Long John Silvers/A & W Restaurant will open in the old Hardee’s building, 1324 1st Ave. E., around the first of June.

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