News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

September 23, 2010

Stephanie Salter: The way it was when the high temperature record was 93

TERRE HAUTE — The day before the autumn equinox, I checked my weather radio to hear “a special weather statement” from the NOAA Hazard Radio station in Putnamville: The Wabash Valley was in line to break the high temperature record for the day.

The record of 93, said the robot voice I have come to love, was established in 1895 and matched again in 1940 and 1955.

Immediately, I thought of the heat permeating those times. I’ll bet a lot has changed.

For example, on none of the three 93-degree Sept. 21s did ordinary people like me have nifty emergency radios in their home that provide constantly updated weather conditions and forecasts, as well as a shrieking siren alarm that warns of impending doom. No one on those previously record-hot days had an emergency radio that you can hand-crank to charge not only the battery, but your cell phone, too.

There were no cell phones, of course, on the three previous hottest Sept. 21s. Even in 1955, if you had a phone — and tens of thousands of U.S. households did not — it was connected by a short wire to a wall, which was connected by wire to an outside telephone pole. In many cities in Indiana, you still couldn’t even dial the number you wanted in 1955. You picked up a heavy receiver from a heavy black cradle and either dialed “O” or simply waited until a female voice (not a robot’s) said, “Operator. Number, plee-azzz.”

More often than not, you gave the operator a word and five numbers, like “Crawford 2—3212” or “Pennsylvania 6—5 O,O,O.” (That song by the Glenn Miller Band was a huge hit in the spring of 1940.) If you were nosy (and stealthy), you could listen in on other people’s conversations on the party line in 1940 and 1955 — just like today with cell phones in restaurants, only, back then, you actually wanted to hear what other people were saying.

In 1895, most private citizens in America didn’t have a telephone. According to Bell telephone online history, there were 353,518 phone receivers and transmitters in the whole United States by the autumn of 1886. But three years before the record-setting hot Sept. 21 of 1895, a revolutionary invention, the Strowger Switch, was implemented in LaPorte, making it possible for the first time for 100 phone subscribers to share the same exchange and connect with one another.

And college students think they invented social networking.

As the temperature climbed toward the new record of 94 on the last day of Summer 2010, I couldn’t help but wonder what else is different now from the three previous hottest Sept. 21s. Immersing myself in the cool, dark cave of the Internet, I learned:

All three previous record scorchers were Wednesdays (What are the odds?), while our hot 9/21 was a Tuesday.

n In 1895, many Americans were the beneficiaries (or victims) of newspaper wars that produced “yellow journalism,” sensational and outright fabricated “news” stories that make even the most opinionated, fact-challenged blogger look responsible.

William McKinley was president, the Cuban Revolution was on, volleyball was invented, “America The Beautiful” was published, the diesel engine was patented (in Germany), the first game of American football was played in Pennsylvania by the Latrobe YMCA and the Jeanette Athletic Club (Latrobe won, 12-0), the Nobel Prizes were established, China had to give Taiwan to Japan, the American Bowling Congress was formed, and two of the richest corporations in the United States — owned by J.P. Morgan and the Rothschilds — loaned the federal government $65 million worth of gold.

Locally, Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show played Terre Haute, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Eugene V. Debs regarding a federal injunction to stop the violent Pullman union strike, and a 6.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the New Madrid Fault and south-central Indiana above  it.

n In 1940, the hottest Sept. 21 was preceded by the first FM radio signal being broadcast — and heard — the first NFL Pro Bowl being played (Green Bay defeated the NFL ALL Stars, 16-7), the following animated cartoon characters being created — Tom and Jerry, Pinocchio, Bugs Bunny — the first McDonald’s opening in San Bernardino, Calif., Mussolini joining Hitler, Winston Churchill becoming prime minister of England, the blitzkrieg of London, the appearance of the first female-created cartoon strip, Brenda Starr, the formation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Gone With the Wind” earning eight Academy Awards, and the authorization by Congress (and signed by F.D.R.) of a peace time military draft.

Locally (sort of), the first betatron (a particle physics accelerator that produces electrons for X-rays) was developed in Urbana, Ill., the first pro baseball game was televised by WGN (Cubs vs. White Sox), and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra introduced a singer named Frank Sinatra in a live show in Indianapolis.

n In 1955, hurricanes blew through the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico with a vengeance: Diane, Connie, Hilda, Hazel and Janet were especially deadly and expensive.

Churchill resigned, the United States government began to send advisors and $216 million to Vietnam, Dwight D. Eisenhower conducted the first televised presidential news conference, Scrabble was invented, the Panama Canal Treaty was signed, “In God We Trust” was added to U.S. coins and paper money, the play “Peter Pan” was broadcast on TV, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” spent 10 weeks at the top of the music chart, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered school integration in the south, Disneyland opened, Stan Musial hit his 300th homer, the Salk polio vaccine was declared safe, and the minimum wage was raised from 75 cents to $1.

Some of the biggest events of  1955 happened after the hottest Sept. 21, including the merger of the AFL and CIO, Eisenhower suffering a heart attack, the New York Stock Exchange suffering the worst price decline since 1929 (Sept. 26), Rosa Parks being arrested for staying at the front of the bus, and the bombing of United Flight 629 over Longmont, Colo., by a man named John Gilbert Graham who wanted to kill his mother, Daisie Eldora King, one of 39 passengers on the flight.

Locally, well, I went to see “Lady and the Tramp” and without air conditioning watched these new shows on TV: the Mickey Mouse Club, Captain Kangaroo, the Honeymooners, the Millionaire, the Lawrence Welk Show and Gunsmoke.

On Sept. 21, I was in the first grade, knowing only one thing: It was really hot.

Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or stephanie.salter@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • RONN MOTT: Troubled history in that place called Iraq

    People are dying, again, in Iraq. And, again, people other than Iraqis will ultimately make the decision about what happens to this ancient land.

    July 11, 2014

  • Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’

    It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
    In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.

    July 10, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 11, 2014

    July 10, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: That Old Man River

    I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing

    It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.

    July 9, 2014

  • READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014

    • Herb Faire a great success

    • Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’

    • Thanks for stirring fireworks show

    July 9, 2014

  • tstribunestar EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible

    The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014

    • Don’t eliminate our six-day mail

    • Zamperini death stirs memories

    July 8, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Black Dog

    We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
    There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.

    July 8, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014

    • T-S ignores common decency

    • Lighten up on Donald Sterling

    • Time to reject Dems in Congress

    Fueling the EPA

    July 7, 2014

  • MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations

    Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”

    July 7, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014

    • The moral issue is major issue

    July 6, 2014

  • tstribunestar Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion

    Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014

    • Coats ignoring climate science

    • Do those mustache posters exist?

    • Utility rate freeze took determination

    • What perversion is next in line?

    • Opinions vary, but voters will decide

    • This preaching must stop — now

    • Golf fundraiser a huge success

    July 6, 2014

  • Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.

    July 6, 2014

  • Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations

    The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.

    July 6, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson

    During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.

    July 4, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.

    July 3, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014

    July 3, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country

    The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 033114 GREG ZOELLER MUG.jpg GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014

    • Over the top on immigration

    July 2, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices

    On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    July 2, 2014

  • Gov. Mike Pence (R, Ind.) MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices

    Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editorial: Texting law serves safety

    July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.

    July 1, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 2, 2014

    July 1, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Cats

    Looking at the situation as a whole, the adopted cats, plus one, seem to be doing OK. The boys, Magic and Mellow, like to roam occasionally, which causes some consternation when they are gone for a long time.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Oldtime fans will never give up on the Cubbies

    My Best Friend claims to be the world’s oldest living Cubs fan. I am willing to take him at his word, but surely there is some long-lived fan out there in the right field bleachers who would dispute his claim.

    June 30, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 1, 2014

    • Defying the laws of God
    • Correcting the written record
    • Hands of $$ from Redevelopment
    • Celebrity visit for celebration

    June 30, 2014

  • Flashpoint: New Healthy Indiana Plan our best option

    Some state-run health care exchanges — the brainchild of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — have gotten off to a rocky start, to the point that they are turning to the federal government to pick up the pieces. Indiana’s decision to try to expand the already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) in lieu of an exchange seems a more prudent choice every day.

    June 30, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity