Way Back When

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(January 22, 1896)
A New City Hall

Some of these fine days, when Punxsutawney gets to be a city of thirty thousand or more souls, and has big iron works, steel mills, nut and bolt works, wire mill, nail mill, and a through road to Pittsburg, all of which is not only possible but extremely probable, we will need a fine, large City Hall.

We will need a nice, council chamber and rooms for the various city officials. Would it not be great to have such a building in the center of the Public Square? Something of this kind is for the future, and a prettier site for such a building could scarcely be imagined than the Public Square.


A disastrous wreck occurred on the Allegheny Valley railroad at Mahoning on Tuesday of last week. Two trains ran together on the bridge at that point. The shock caused one of the locomotives to jump the track, the headlight exploded, and in a few minutes the bridge was in flame.

The bridge burned down, and the cars crashed into the creek below. Two of the cars were loaded with oil. They caught fire. One of them exploded and scattered the burning oil in all directions, and a number of the spectators were severely burned. No one was fatally hurt. The loss to the railroad company is estimated at $50,000.

The Italian Bride

Solomon-in-All-His-Glory was not arrayed like one of these. The Italian bride comes to Punxsutawney now and then. She is dressed in pink silk with a small bonnet covered with gaudy flowers, and is covered with a white veil that almost touches to the ground. She does not notice that she is the center of attraction, that all eyes are upon her.

What does she care? She is a bride. She is radiant with joy. She flits about the street, dodging into the stores and shops, like a humming bird sipping the honey from flowers.

She will never don her bridal robes again, and she revels in them for one long, glad day. And why shouldn’t she? There is no grander sight in this world than to see a human being silently and blissfully happy.

(January 29, 1896)
Moose and Caribou Heads

Two moose and a caribou head are now displayed in the show windows of the Globe store, Hamilton’s drug store, and Fink’s, respectively. Will McAllister’s moose head is in Fink’s window. Will Hile’s in the Globe store, and the Caribou, which was slain by Dr. Hamilton, is in his drug store.

They are noble looking animals, and the hunters who made them bite the dust may well point with pride to these fine specimens.