A Look Back in Time: Chehalis Residents Raise Money for Tank to Help Fight in World War II in 1942

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A 14-day bond drive had already been underway for two days on July 2, 1942, as Chehalis residents participated in the effort to raise funds to pay for a “medium tank” as part of the effort to win World War II. A special program was set to start at noon on Friday, July 3, that would kick off “an intensive 10 days which will see citizens of this community bending every effort to bring total sales to $56,000.” Stores throughout Chehalis were expected to devote a period of Friday to the sale of bonds and stamps as part of the effort.

Friday’s special program was to take place at the “Victory Center,” located at the intersections of Chehalis Avenue, Pacific Avenue and Boistfort Street in downtown Chehalis near what are today the Wells Fargo and Security State Bank branches. Following the event, a 15-minute pause in all retail sales in Chehalis would begin, as all stores devoted “their entire time to the sale of bonds and stamps.”

The Friday event was arranged by John D. Glann and would feature a speech by John Jewett, a member of the state defense board. As of the publishing of the July 2 edition of The Chronicle, $5,249 had been raised. The tank the city was seeking to finance would weigh 28 tons and cost a total of $56,000. Were Chehalis to successfully raise the required funds, the tank was to be named “The Chehalis Bearcat.”

 

July 2, 1932

• The Centralia Eagles adopted a resolution requiring its members to abide by a city ordinance mandating men not shave before Aug. 5. The city’s ordinance was in anticipation of a pioneer celebration set to occur on Aug. 3 and 4. Members of The Eagles found to be in violation of the ordinance were required to “appear before a duly appointed court of the aerie and receive such penalty as deemed advisable, in addition to any sentence that may be imposed in the municipal court,” The Chronicle wrote.

• With 1932’s July 4 celebration falling on a Monday, Centralia was expected to be deserted during what was described by The Chronicle as a “double holiday,” with Sunday presumably serving as the first holiday. Centralians were expected to go to beaches, resorts, summer homes and “metropolitan centers” to celebrate the holiday. The only event scheduled to occur in Centralia was a picnic at Riverside Park for Centralia’s “welfare families,” likely referring to those forced into poverty during the Great Depression.

• The Chronicle ran an Associated Press article reporting national Republicans were anticipating Democratic Party Presidential Nominee and New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt “would be easy to beat.” The U.S. Senate Republican Leader James Watson of Indiana embodied the Republican Party’s optimism. “From the Republican standpoint, I am glad indeed that Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated because I have thought from the beginning that he was just about the easiest man to beat,” Watson is reported to have said. In the November elections later that year, Watson would be proven disastrously wrong. Roosevelt won in a landslide, leading a Democratic wave that resulted in the defeat of many congressional Republicans, including Watson himself.

• The Chronicle reported the weather forecast for the coming week as “fair weather” with normal temperatures but with “considerable” cloud cover.

• The only activity planned for Chehalis’ July 4 holiday was a program to be held at the local state training school, today known as Green Hill. “Nearly all places of business” were expected to be closed in Chehalis on Sunday and Monday, The Chronicle reported.

• “Mr. and Mrs. Ben Balmelli,” listed in The Chronicle as living on Route 2, welcomed the birth of a daughter at Chehalis’ St. Helens Hospital on July 1. The Chronicle did not report the girl’s name.

• On the evening of Tuesday, June 28, Jonah Blankenship’s Riffe home was burned down by a fire. The fire was believed to have been caused by a spark from the kitchen stove. “A few chairs and a little bedding were all that was saved,” The Chronicle reported.

 

July 2, 1942

• Gordon Gray, 16, escaped the state training school, now known as Green Hill School, on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 30. The Aberdeen resident made his escape by stealing a car at about 2:30 a.m. on July 1. A state patrolman found the stolen vehicle later that day near Rochester.

• John Herbert Baker, 49, died at Centralia Hospital on June 30 after living in Chehalis for 24 years. Baker was born in Bertram, Minnesota on July 12, 1892. The service was to take place at the Salkum Church on Friday, July 3.

• A Centralia couple celebrated their 50th anniversary June 2 with plans to have an open house celebration on Sunday, July 5. The couple, “Mr. and Mrs. Ernest E. Springer,” had married in Chicago on July 2, 1892, before moving to Washington in 1906.



• State patrolman Ted Bishop of Chehalis resigned from his position to join the Marines and take part in the American war effort in WWII. Bishop had been serving in Chehalis for two years.

• Centralia produced a lower than expected number of registrants for military service, the Centralia draft board announced. A total of 170 young men, ages 18 to 20, registered, well below the estimate of at least 500. Chehalis announced 184 registrants while no number was reported for Morton, Randle, Toledo, Winlock or Pe Ell.

• Chehalis swimming instructor Arvo Kiayla announced that all swimming classes would be moved to the morning because of the expectation of large crowds in the afternoon. At the time, swimming classes were offered at Alexander Park and were divided into two courses, one for beginners and one for advanced swimming.

• Residents of the Twin Cities experienced a wave of warm weather the week of July 2. On Monday, June 29, the temperature reached 87 degrees. However, due to “war-time censorship restrictions on temperature,” the exact temperature for the rest of the week would not be known for a couple more days.

 

July 2, 1952

• Kathleen Tucker, the 14-year-old daughter of Rollyn Tucker, a Chehalis police officer, and “Mrs. Rollyn Tucker” was injured after being hit by a car on Tuesday, July 1. The accident occurred at about 4:35 p.m. outside Tucker’s home on Snively Avenue in Chehalis. Tucker apparently only received cuts and bruises.

• The Lewis County general hospital got its second new administrator in two months on July 2 after Eli Laurila of Centralia was appointed to replace Mrs. Roma M. Armentrout, who had taken office on April 28. The Chronicle described the transition as “a sudden shift.” Alvina Witte would also be head of nurses at the hospital, The Chronicle reported.

• Members of the Twin City Active Club said business was good at its three fireworks stands ahead of the July 4 holiday that Friday. “Activians said they were finding out women aren’t the only ones with an eye for special bargains,” The Chronicle reported. The profits from the Active Club’s fireworks stands were to be used to help “finance the gigantic fireworks show” that was set for 9:30 p.m. on July 4. The show was expected to include fireworks that would take the form of the Liberty Bell, American Flag and Niagara Falls.

• Mossyrock planned to celebrate its 100th birthday in a multi-day celebration beginning the night of July 2 with a baseball tournament and ending the evening of July 6. The celebrations were to include two parades, a centennial address by Washington Supreme Court Justice Joseph A. Mallery on the evening of July 3 and a carnival held on the school grounds.

• Della Records, originally from Chehalis, was reported as having recently flown to New York City to attend classes at Columbia University. She had been teaching in Klamath Falls in southern Oregon.

• “Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Martin” hosted several friends at their Centralia home on the evening of Sunday, June 29. Among the guests were former schoolmates of “Mrs. Martin” and the group “enjoyed talking over old times,” The Chronicle reported.

• Ben Salewsky took over as president of the Centralia Rotary Club on July 1. After assuming office, Salewsky announced his appointments for Rotary Club committees. Bob Brister, who Salewsky was succeeding as president, was automatically made a member of the club’s board of directors in his capacity as a former club president.