Madeira News gives glimpse of past

By Regina Villiers. Originally published November 25, 1992 in the Suburban Life, added November 15, 2015

Cleo J. Hosbrook-who signed the ad to promote the Euclid Avenue street dance in 1932-is shown here at about that time with her first car. She says her uncle, Homer Hosbrook, took this picture.

Cleo J. Hosbrook-who signed the ad to promote the Euclid Avenue street dance in 1932-is shown here at about that time with her first car. She says her uncle, Homer Hosbrook, took this picture.

Alma Linn called me recently and offered me the use of some old papers and snapshots.  Alma has lived in Madeira her entire life and has accumulated a lot of knowledge and mementos from Madeira’s past.

Her item that interested me most was a yellowed copy of a small newspaper, The Madeira News, once published weekly in Madeira.  This copy was dated June 1932.

Old newspapers are just about the most revealing and important papers that can be saved from one generation to the next.  By dissecting and analyzing one, down to the classified ads, you can get a picture of not only what a town or community looked like but of the entire lifestyle of its people.

You can see what they did, what they wore and how much it cost, what they did with their spare time, and even what they thought.

This newspaper had only four pages, but it showed the way it was in Madeira in 1932, 60 years ago.

The entire front page proclaimed a coming celebration.  “Move Forward,” the headline said.  Then the story continued:  “Usually a calamity, a depression, or perchance, a little touch of nature makes the whole world akin.  However, the fact that a celebration has been proposed, commemorating the completion of a beautiful stretch of roadway, a connecting link between many communities, meets with our approval.”

That roadway was Euclid Avenue, and the celebration was to be a street dance on Euclid, June 4, 1932.

The rest of the page contained signatures of townspeople approving of the dance.

Almost all of the signatures were names of men.   Two of the few women’s signatures were Cleo J. Hosbrook and Sarah J. DeMar, both well – known teachers in Madeira.

The name of Oscar Meyer, who was to become famous in Madeira 10 to 12 years later for his World War II newsletter, was prominent on the list.

No other news stories could be found in the newspaper except for a bit of sports news and a couple of church notices with the news that the high school baccalaureate service would be held Sunday evening, June 12, with Rev. Humble bringing the message.  Back then; the baccalaureate service was a big deal for the community.  Today, it’s almost non-existent for high school seniors.

There were no photographs in the newspaper.  That fact, too, said a lot.  Back then; everyone didn’t go around snapping pictures.  There were no instant cameras.  There also was and economical reason.

One older man in Madeira has told me,  “We were poor and couldn’t afford pictures.  Pictures cost more then, and they were for the well-off.”

The only other news-related feature in the paper was a column headed “Society.”  This told of the coming and goings of Madeira residents, such as the celebration of little Tommy DeMar’s ninth birthday.

Another item voiced the editorial opinion that “we are happy to see the Indian Hill Rangers in their new Fords.”  Another typical society item said, “Mr. and Mrs. Al Thomas of Branch Hill visited in Madeira Sunday.”

Ads took up most of the newspaper, and these gave the best picture of the time, as well as the place.

At Blick Cleaners, located in Bauer’s Department Store, suits and overcoats would be cleaned and returned in moth bags for 75 cents each, with minor repairs done free.   At Gerhardt Shoe Shop, new heels for ladies’ shoes cost 30 cents a pair.

Frederick Laffey’s Coal and Feed Co. invited people to ask about their “Grey Goose” coal, while the George Meyer Co. said they would make screen doors for you.

Helfrich’s Restaurant advertised home cooking, chicken dinners and sandwiches while the Laurel Inn promoted sandwiches, lunches and home baked goods.

Some of the other advertisers were Ed’s Sanitary Barber Shop, Brinkoeger Hardware, Howard DeMar Builder, Frank Kramer Sodding and Grading, Camargo Beauty Shop (Mrs. Fishback, proprietor), Wehrman Ice Station, Nelson Bros. Roofing and Warm Air Heating, and Madeira Building and Loan who advertised “5 ½% tax paid interest.”

But the life of a community can be learned most graphically through a newspaper’s classified ads.

Advertised for sale were:  “All blood-tested baby chickens, heavy breed, seven cents each, with a discount on large orders.”  You could also buy Rhode Island red hatching eggs if you wanted to do it yourself.  J.B. Tietz on Dawson advertised that he wanted to but a small chicken house.

Meanwhile, Lee Wissell on Laurel Avenue advertised:  “Rabbit manure, best fertilizer for shrubbery, lawns and gardens, 10 cents a bushel.”

Another as said:  “For sale:  four fresh Jersey cows, for two-year-old Jersey heifers, three one-year-old grade heifers, and 15 sheep.”

You might guess from this that Madeira was still quite rural at the time.

Under “Help Wanted,” and ad said:  “Man to work on shares, one acre.  Will furnish seeds and fertilizer.”

A.C. Carter advertised that he would do radio and electrical repair at reasonable rates from his home at Fowler and Laurel.

You could also buy household furnishings.  Advertised, all in the same ad:  “Grand piano, cana bulbs, electric radio, and ice box, 35 lb. capacity, in good condition, cheap.”

Advertised for rent was:  “A three-room apartment, first floor, with city water, electric lights, garden, porch and garage, for $20.”  You’re hard put to find an apartment in Madeira today at any price.

Maybe the most intriguing of all was an ad for the Cincinnati Transit Company listing bus schedules.  You could get 12 buses per day to Cincinnati, 13 on Saturday.  You could also go to Norwood, Oakley and Madisonville by bus.  Have you tried riding a bus from Madeira to anywhere lately?

Alma Linn’s carefully preserved newspaper, though only four pages, gives an almost complete composite of life in Madeira in 1932, 60 years ago.