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Summit Militiamen Help After Munitions Explosion

big enoughThe Summit Herald of October 11, 1918 reported that the Board of Health held a special meeting with the Mayor and local physicians to discuss the influenza epidemic. There were believed to be over 200 cases of flu in Summit. The Board, which had already ordered the closing of saloons, soda fountains, and pool rooms, prohibited all public gatherings. Churches, Sunday schools, theaters, public and private schools, and the YMCA were to be closed. Mr. Carroll P. Bassett generously offered the use of the vacant Fresh Air Home on Mountain Avenue as a hospital annex for influenza and pneumonia cases, as Overlook Hospital was already overcrowded.

Company A, Summit's unit of the New Jersey State Militia, was called to emergency service on the "front line"--not in France, but in Sayreville. An accident at the Gillespie Loading Company's munitions plant set off a series of violent explosions lasting three days. About 100 people were killed, and many more injured. Thousands fled their homes, and took refuge in neighboring communities. In Summit, 25 miles away, buildings shook, and windows cracked in the East Summit school.

The Federal Food Administration announced that sugar permits were no longer being issued for canning. Housewives were informed that fruits could be canned using hot water instead of syrup.

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Pageant Cancelled Because of Flu Fears

skinnayThe Summit Herald of October 4, 1918 reported that the people of Summit were more than halfway to their goal to raise $768,000 for the Fourth Liberty Loan. An elaborate pageant by the schoolchildren was scheduled for Liberty Day (October 12), but had to be cancelled. The health authorities were afraid that there was too much risk of infection from Spanish Flu at such a large public gathering.

Other plans for Liberty Day/Columbus Day remained on the calendar. The Order of Independent Figli Italia planned a parade of about 150 people in the afternoon, including the Summit Municipal Band. The Fire Companies of Summit scheduled a block dance on Bank Street, with the proceeds going to a fund to purchase Christmas presents for Summit men serving overseas.

Clocks were to be turned back one hour on the last Sunday of October, according to the Daylight Saving Act which was passed in March, 1918.

The Red Cross announced they were in need to volunteers for their work rooms, to assemble 5,000 contagious-ward face masks to be shipped overseas.

In the Classifieds: Lost, a pair of blue pants. Return to A.C. Baker, tailor. Lost, a lady's gold watch, inscribed December 30, 1890. Help Wanted: A chauffeur/gardener. Must have deferred qualification in the draft. Girl wanted: Must be able to operate typewriter.

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The Mayor Goes on a Cruise

typewriterThe Summit Herald of September 27, 1940 reported that Mayor Guido F. Forster returned from a two-week cruise to Jacksonville, Florida. It was not a vacation, as the Mayor was wearing his other hat, that of a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve on a training cruise. In addition to navigation and target practice, the crew performed a spotlight demonstration at Atlantic City, as part of the finale of the beauty pageant. Shore leave was granted at Jacksonville, where Forster and other officers were entertained by the Chamber of Commerce at the Ponte Vedra Inn, and also at a beach party.

An article on Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie summarized his opening campaign speech, given in Coffeyville, Kansas. Mr. Willkie asserted the President Roosevelt, after seven years in office, had lost faith in the American people, and was in danger of destroying democracy if he was permitted to serve a third term.

The local headquarters of the National Defense Organization had a dramatic new touch added to the display in its front window. A 30-inch model of the U.S.S. Prescott, a retired destroyer of the same class as 50 others which had been traded to Britain, was already attracting a lot of attention. It was augmented by a painted backdrop of the English Channel at night, showing the destroyer under attack by a flight of enemy bombers, and defended by fighter planes. The painting was done by Gerald V. Davis, an American artist who had recently moved to Summit. He and his wife and children had been living in Paris until the Germans invaded France in May.

The "Home on the Range" cooking column offered a selection of light desserts, including Apple Snow, Plain Custard, Lemon Whip, and Lemon Sponge. Elsewhere in the paper, favorite recipes of Hollywood stars: Billie Burke's Special Rice Pudding and June Preisser's Maple Pralines.

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