Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Friday, August 18, 2017

Oral History

September 24, 1979, Neenah-Menasha Daily Northwestern
Here is another in our series of oral histories of Neenah-Menasha.  This edition is particularly fascinating in that it examines the tension and rivalry between the two cities.  There is an interesting note at the beginning by Dr. O'Brien in that his observation was that Menasha residents were well aware of the tension but few in Neenah were aware of it.  When I read this, the first thing to come to mind was the quote, "Let them eat cake," attributed to Marie Antoinette, who allegedly spoke it in regard to her people having no bread to eat.   I'll leave it to you readers to make of that what you will. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Scam Carnival

August 21, 1937, Oshkosh Daily Northwestern
Let this be a cautionary tale to you, dear readers, to hold tightly to your wallet or purse when dealing with nefarious individuals associated with carnivals.  And lest you think this wasn't such a big loss, $660 in the year 1937 had the same buying power as $11,141.98 in July 2017, according to the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator I found online.  Yikes!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Couple of News Items

August 9, 1880, Oshkosh Daily Northwestern
August 31, 1880, Oshkosh Daily Northwestern
So often the newspapers of this era have such dry and stilted prose that the copy is unreadable.  But I still get a kick out of reading the news of that era. 

Here's a couple of stories that are entertaining, even for today.  Plus, they come complete with language of the day.  When's the last time you saw the word "vagabond" used twice in one paragraph, or a woman referred to as a "man eater?"  And "humbug"?  I think we only get that every December when we watch Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and hear it used by Mr. Scrooge. 
In the top story the bank referred to as Hewitt's is the Bank of Menasha.  It's charming to me that the population of Menasha was still so small and apparently everybody knew everybody, that it could be referred to by the operator's name instead of its legal business name and there was no confusion over that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Joy in the Ride

August 16, 1979, Neenah-Menasha Daily Northwestern
Just the simple joys of riding one's bike as the waning days of summer lead us on the path back to school and the inevitable day-to-day drudgery of it all.  Ah, freedom!

Monday, August 14, 2017


August 11, 1959, Appleton Post-Crescent
While the above photo for the Buick Electra is a stock photo provided by the car company, I was still taken aback by that ad copy, describing the car as "sleek and low."  Compared to what people drove in years before, this car WAS just that.  The styling reflected America's entry first into the Jet Age, but now, for this era, the Space Age.  Is it any wonder, this America on the move, would want its autos to reflect its future hopes and dreams of a streamlined world?  These iconic auto designs are still looked back upon fondly.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oral History

September 14, 1979, Neenah-Menasha Daily Northwestern

Dr. Michael O'Brien brings us another oral history from 1979.  Today's installment covers memories of educators from the past.  If there is a common thread to all these oral histories, it's that perseverance goes a long way.  These residents endured economic downturns and historic upheavals that tested the wills of parents, teachers, employers...everyone.  The 20th century was a crazy roller coaster ride- World War I, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war 1950's.  But having a dedication to one's work and a goal to achieve most often led to success. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Aerial View

August 25, 1963, Appleton Post-Crescent
This is a nice aerial photo to go along with the dedication of what we at St. Mary's always referred to as the "'62 Building," even though this dedication by Bishop Bona took place in 1963.  I may have shared this before but the whole place was interconnected in the basement.  As first through fourth graders, our classrooms were in the "'52 Building."  Often, we'd take trips to the library in the "'62 Building" or to that building's new "A/V Room," where, if we were lucky, we might see a movie or something special.  (I think, one time, we watched the Davy Crockett movies there for some reason.)  In the warmer weather, we might go outside, but in the winter, we'd just travel through the basements to get there.  Of course, this also meant traversing part of the high school basement and it was so alien to see those "big kids"  milling around, changing classes and whatnot.  Often we'd encounter the maintenance man, Mr. Coopman and he was always so friendly to us.  (As you can see, for this little kid, it didn't take much distraction to make my day better!)