February 25, 2017 – Meeting

“The Roaring 20s in Morrow County” presented by Stan Sipe

Stan’s talk included statistics such as: Morrow County’s population in 1920 was 15,570. There were 20 school districts with 10 high schools. The county claimed 50 churches with three-fourths of the citizens saying they attended on a regular basis. There were 9 train stations with 40 trains passing through the county each day. There was one airfield located near Denmark.

The county sheriff had one deputy and got his first cruiser in 1921. As prohibition was in force, his main problem was dealing with bootleggers and locating stills. The KKK made some appearances. Only Cardington and Mt. Gilead had organized fire departments.

Only a few of the county’s roads were paved, mainly the state highways. As more automobiles came into use, gas stations sprung up with 16 in Mt. Gilead selling gas for 18 cents per gallon. Stop signs and traffic lights appeared. Flashing lights were installed at main railroad crossings. The popularity of covered bridges declined with only three remaining by the end of the decade.

Contagious diseased were the biggest health problem. TB and smallpox were dreaded, and polio began appearing. The county had no hospital. Most residents were born and died in their homes. Cigarette smoking became popular.

More residents had telephone service than had electricity. Phone subscribers were on “party lines” with as many as 15 homes on a line. About one-fifth of the homes had electricity, mostly in towns and it wasn’t until 1922 that they had service 24 hours a day. Radios became popular. Movies became “talkies”. Stan’s presentation included many more fascinating facts and stories.