A Look Back in Time: New Dimout Restrictions Announced for Pacific Coast During World War II


New, more stringent dimout regulations were scheduled to go into effect on Sunday, Oct. 25, 1942 along the Pacific Coast. The new rules were to apply “to virtually every citizen and household in Lewis County,” The Chronicle reported. It was reported those not observing the regulations would be “liable to punishment.”

“While Lewis County is not adjacent to the coast, the general dimout orders apply to all of the western and central sections of the county,” Centralia Light Superintendent Paul Peyton was reported as saying.

All light visible from above was required to be either shielded or extinguished. For homes and farms, window shades were required to be brought down “at least level with the bottom of any lights in the room. Venetian blinds should be closed to throw light downward,” The Chronicle reported. Light from any source was further required to be dim enough that “a newspaper can barely be read by it.” For businesses, no electric signs or outside lighting was permitted. All skylights were required to be darkened. As in the case of homes and farms, the light in businesses had to be dimmed enough that a newspaper could be barely read.

Furthermore, street lights were also required to be dimmed, though defense officials had not given requirements to localities on how to carry out street light dimming. According to Peyton, each locality was having to come up with its own solutions to dimming street lights. In the case of Centralia, Petyon said paint was being applied that had infrared reflecting properties to prevent heat damage to the bulbs while other cities were using “intricate shades.” Peyton added localities using paint were applying the paint to the light bulbs rather than the shades or lamp bowls as removal of the paint after the war would be costly and difficult.


Saturday, Oct. 22, 1932

• The case of three Lewis County men — Harry Duncan, Henry Sorg and Walter Sorg — was expected to conclude in Lewis County Superior Court on Saturday, Oct. 22. The three men were on trial for second degree arson after they set fire to poultry buildings on the Sorg farm near Dryad.

• Arrangements were being made by the Centralia School District to secure cash for teachers’ pay after the First Farmers-Merchants Bank and Trust Company announced it would not cash warrants, a financial instrument meant to avoid the use of cash during the Great Depression when banks were low on cash reserves. The district was also seeking to locate purchasers for the warrants and planned to issue small denomination warrants to teachers in the hope stores would accept them. Stores willing to accept the warrants were being asked in the newspaper to contact the Centralia superintendent’s office.

• Thieves stole a radio set, a typewriter, stamps and a small amount of money during a break-in at the Rochester post office on the night of Friday, Oct. 21. The thieves entered by removing a window pane from the front of the building. The money and stamps were taken from an unlocked safe.

• Charles Hasting, the Lewis County auditor, announced all motorists with 1932 licenses could now obtain their 1933 licenses at the courthouse. The price of a new license was $3.25.

• A campaign advertisement for Albert Johnson was included in The Chronicle. Johnson was the incumbent Republican representing Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. “The Third District Would Lose By Making A Change,” the ad stated. Johnson would lose reelection to Democrat Martin Smith in the November general election.

• A joint campaign advertisement announcing rallies for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Homer Bone and 3rd District Congressional candidate Martin Smith was included in The Chronicle. The rallies were scheduled for Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chehalis Junior High School Gym and 9 p.m. in Centralia’s Liberty Theater.

• A full-page campaign advertisement for President Herbert Hoover’s reelection campaign was included in The Chronicle. “We know that Some Power unseen looks after this Country … From time to time that ‘Something’ takes one man and uses him … It used Washington in ‘76 … It used Lincoln in ‘61 … Let us not interfere NOW! HOLD on to HOOVER,” the ad stated. The ad was paid for by the Lewis County Republican Party. Hoover would lose in a landslide to Franklin Roosevelt in the November general election.


Thursday, Oct. 22, 1942

• Thomas Wood resigned after several years as the Lewis County horticulturist. Wood gave his resignation to the county commissioners, informing them he had accepted a position with a local business. According to The Chronicle, Wood would be staying on in his capacity as secretary of the Lewis County Fair Association and as the corresponding secretary for the Lewis County Garden Club.

• Judge Charles Leavy, a federal judge in Tacoma, signed a consent decree on Thursday, Oct. 22, granting the Lewis County Public Utility District the right to purchase the county property of the Washington Gas and Electric Company for a price of $72,500. The agreed upon price was decided out of court by the PUD and executives from the company and allowed the company to avoid a trial for a lawsuit brought by the PUD.

• Martha Nordwell, 77, died on the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 21, at a hospital in Centralia. She was born in 1865 Sweden and immigrated to the United State 45 years before her death. She was survived by two sons, Oscar, of Tacoma, and Carl, of Aberdeen. She had one grandchild at the time of her death.

• A campaign advertisement for Democratic incumbent U.S Rep. Martin Smith was featured in The Chronicle. “Vote For The BEST MAN,” the ad stated. “THE MAN with 10 years valuable experience in Congress — with the highest seniority and rank on important committees ever attained by a Representative of this district. THE MAN who has one of the best ‘Win the War’ voting records of any member of Congress. THE MAN who has fought successfully for citizens and communities of Southwest Washington, for labor, industry, the farmer, Bonneville and public power, war veterans and old-age pensions. THE MAN whose ten years service as a member of Congress and twenty years career as a practicing lawyer have been honest and honorable.” Smith would lose reelection in the November general election to Republican Fred Norman.

• A story from Washington, D.C., was published in The Chronicle indicating increased optimism among Republicans heading into the November general election. “Heavy Republican gains in the House of Representatives will be made at the coming November election,” said Frank Gannett, assistant chair of the Republican National Committee, who added Republicans could take the chamber. Gannett cited public discontent with the domestic economic situation during World War II. Republicans would gain 47 seats in the November midterm election, but failed to take the majority.

• The Centralia Kiwanis Club heard a presentation from the superintendent of the Centralia General Hospital Clara Engebretsen during their luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Engebretsen had spent time in Minneapolis during the summer where she studied treatments for children suffering from the effects of polio. In Minneapolis, Engebretsen studied the newly developed “Kenny method” for treating infantile paralysis, which had been developed at the University of Minnesota.

• “Girl Invades School” read the title of an Associated Press story featured in The Chronicle. The story detailed Janet Rankin’s attendance at the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture, which since 1887 had been “the haven of men students.” According to the story, “this semester it was invaded by Janet Rankin who registered for a major in agriculture.” Rankin reportedly was forced to work on a farm during the war because of the shortage of male laborers. During her time performing farm labor, she developed an interest in agriculture and decided to study the subject at the university.


Wednesday, Oct. 22, 1952

• The Red Cross fell nearly 100 pints short of its 250-point goal during its blood drive in Centralia on Tuesday, Oct. 21. A total of 193 people volunteered to donate blood, collectively giving 156 pints. The blood drive appears to have been part of an effort to support U.S. troops in the Korean War as the story states blood from type “O” donors was immediately separated for shipment to Korea.

• Charles Gish, a 22-year-old resident of Napavine, entered a guilty plea to charges of “blasting fish” in the Newaukum River during an appearance in Lewis County Superior Court. Gish had previously pleaded not guilty but changed his plea before a trial could begin.

• Lewis County Treasurer Harold Quick announced over 70% of Lewis County’s tax bill had already been paid. Quick added Oct. 31 was the last day for payment of property taxes before accounts were delinquent.

• Plans for a fundraising drive for Chehalis Boy and Girl Scouts were announced. The drive was scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 28. The Boy and Girl scouts set the goal of raising $5,800. “Everyone is urged to keep next Tuesday in mind and be ready to contribute to fund and thereby extend the life of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in this area,” said drive co-chair Don Williams.

• Elmer Kelly, a 31-year-old East Lewis County resident, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two and a half years of probation after pleading guilty to second-degree arson charges. He was also ordered to pay restitution for damages caused to two houses totaling $500.

• Chehalis water had fluorine despite a pending decision from a lawsuit on the matter, according to The Chronicle. The announcement came from Mayor Leonard Sonnemann. The fluorine was apparently a natural element in the water from a well.

• A campaign ad for the reelection campaign of Gov. Arthur Langlie was featured in The Chronicle. “HE HAS NEVER PLAYED ‘FOOTSIE’ WITH COMMUNISTS!” the ad stated. “Langlie has FOUGHT communists throughout his public career.” The entire ad focused on Langlie’s opposition to communism, including what the ad called a “communist-inspired drain on state finances” that were supposedly driving Washington state toward “financial collapse.” The ad ended by declaring, “Your vote for ARTHUR LANGLIE is a vote AGAINST communism!”


Monday, Oct. 22, 1962

• The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair came to an end on Monday, Oct. 22, with over 10 million tickets sold. Officials had said nine million tickets needed to be sold for the fair to be a financial success. Described as being “successful beyond expectation,” the fair was reported as leaving “as part of its legacy a $50 million civic center and a gleaming, white-arched science museum.” Over a quarter of a million people attended the fair on its last weekend. During an afternoon ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 21, the U.S. Science Pavilion, a six-building complex that cost $10 million to build and which was described as “one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the fair,” was handed over to the nonprofit Pacific Science Center Foundation. The pavilion was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 23, with an admissions charge of $1 for adults and $0.50 for children. President John Kennedy was scheduled to appear at the ceremony but was not able to attend because of what the White House claimed was a cold. It would later be revealed that Kennedy was not sick and had been dealing with the ongoing Cuban Missile Crisis.

• Lewis County’s “storm-shattered” power and telephone systems had reportedly returned to normal after the “big blow” that occurred on Columbus Day. According to Merle Johnston, the Lewis County PUD manager, only 10 out of 12,000 customers were still without service on Monday, Oct. 22. After the storm, about 100 extra men were brought in to assist in repairing storm damage.

• Damage from the Columbus Day storm was found to be less than expected at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds. According to Fair President Arnold James, only slight damage had been done to the roofs of the fairgrounds’ buildings, primarily from the loss of shingles. The largest amount of damage was from a small horse barn that had been blown down.

• The top two dairy families for Lewis and Thurston counties were among the competitors for the title of Washington Dairyman of the Year during the week of Oct. 22. The competition was being held at Mt. Vernon. “Mr. and Mrs. Mathew Rakoz,” of Centralia, and “Mr. and Mrs. Warren Reynoldson,” of Rochester, were the candidates from Lewis County and Thurston County, respectively.

• Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Dick Christensen was scheduled to appear at a Tuesday morning breakfast hosted by the Lewis County Republicans, according to Lewis County Republican Party Chair James Vander Stoep. According to Vander Stoep, the breakfast was scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Lewis-Clark Hotel with the program beginning at 8 a.m.

• George Kitton, a 78-year-old resident of Vader, died on Friday, Oct. 19. Kitton was born on March 18, 1884, in Maryville, Tennessee. Kitton was survived by his wife, Addie; a daughter, Ina; a son, Thad; nine grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

• Former Superintendent of the Centralia School District Earl Johnson died on Saturday, Oct. 20. The longtime Centralian was born in Elks Rapids, Michigan, on March 16, 1889. He served as superintendent from 1934 to 1947. He was survived by his wife, Vena; two sons, Ray and Jerry; and three grandchildren.