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Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Sandwich, a Stein and a Stogy

This early postcard image of the famous spring in Rock Springs Park shows two young gentlemen raising a toast with their tin cups to the camera. It was originally submitted as an image for the book, but was rejected as not clear enough. (Courtesy of Richard L. Bowker)

Hey, this is my 100th Rock Springs Park blog post! Let’s celebrate at the park with a sandwich, a stein and a stogy (stogie?). Or, if you prefer, we can meet for an after-dinner snifter. Say, brandies and sodas, around seven?

In 1901, the Youngstown Vindicator and the East Liverpool Crisis planned a meeting over sandwiches, beers, and cigars at Rock Springs Park to resolve a long-standing feud between the rival newspapers and their respective cities that had been brewing for nearly four years.

It came to a head the previous summer when the Vindicator compared the population of East Liverpool to that of Youngstown’s police force.

Here is their brief public conversation:

Youngstown Vindicator - The police force of Youngstown is close to the size of the population of East Liverpool.

East Liverpool Daily Crisis - And Youngstown needs 'em all.

Youngstown Vindicator - That is unfortunately true. Living so near East Liverpool, it is necessary to be well policed to protect the people and property here from the E.L. savages and Boxers.

Wow, that is harsh! Wouldn’t you say?

Newspapers of this era, even papers in the same city like the Crisis and the Review in Liverpool, often attacked each other, as competition between the papers was bitter. They were vying for readership, advertising, and the latest and most modern equipment, but most often the fires of animosity were sparked by politics, with one paper strongly democratic and the other strongly republican. Not unlike the obviously conservative bent of Fox News as opposed to the liberal leanings of MSNBC, today.

Under its nameplate of The Crisis was the declaration "Democratic In All Things -- Neutral In Nothing." (Image from the East Liverpool Historical Society website)

Sometimes the fate of the paper hinged on a seedy scandal or sensational murder trial like that of Annie Van Fossan, 19, of Second Street, in East Liverpool who, according to the East Liverpool Historical Society's website, “was charged with first degree murder in the January 8, 1885, (poisoning) death of a 6-year-old girl in Seldom Seen, a neighborhood in the city's West End.” The murder trial prompted both the Crisis and the Review to switch from weeklies to dalies that year.

An account of the murder trial and East Liverpool newspaper histories can be found here.

By April 1904, the Crisis suspended operations and merged with the Review under the new name The News-Review & Crisis and within a month the paper's name changed to The Evening Review, today simply the East Liverpool Review.

Both The Review and The Youngstown Vindicator or “Vindy” are still in publication today.

On April 26, 1892, The Review was purchased by East Liverpool attorney, J. E. McDonald, who would go on to build the Chester Bridge, develop the town of Chester, then known as "The South Side", and create Rock Springs Park at the end of the new streetcar lines of rising entrepreneur C. A. Smith.

Here is a clipping taken from the Youngstown Vindicator from August 13, 1901. Although the Vindy appears to accept the Crisis manager's invitation of sandwiches, beer, and cigars at Rock Springs Park, it does not do so graciously. Note the final jab at the Crisis at the end suggesting the East Liverpool attendees would have a difficult time avoiding getting drunk in the morning before the Vindy folks arrived at the park to meet them.

THE CRISIS' BEGAN daily publication on March 28, 1887, two years after The Review, and cost a penny a copy.

A Few Additional Notes:

On his website Stogie’d, cigar aficionado, Bob Woods, under the title, “Battle Royale: Stogy vs. Stogie”, asks readers to vote on which spelling of the word is correct. This illustration shows the latest results (left).

Want to try a glass of brandy and soda. It’s easy. Just pour brandy into a Collins glass holding 2 or 3 ice cubes and top up with soda. That's all there is to it. Have a few and then break into the old pub tune “My Tarpaulin Jacket.”

A tall stalwart lancer lay dying,
And as on his deathbed he lay,
To his friends who around him were sighing,
These last dying words he did say:

Chorus: Wrap me up in my tarpaulin jacket
And say a poor buffer lies low;
And six stalwart lancers shall carry me
With steps solemn, mournful and slow.

Had I the wings of a little dove,
Far far away would I fly; I'd fly
Straight for the arms of my true love
And there I would lay me and die.
Then get you two little white tombstones
Put them one at my head and my toe, my toe,
And get you a penknife and scratch there:
"Here lies a poor buffer below."

And get you six brandies and sodas,
And set them all out in a row, a row,
And get you six jolly good fellows
To drink to this buffer below.

And then in the calm of the twilight
When the soft winds are whispering low, so low,
And the darkening shadows are falling,
Sometimes think of this buffer below.

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