This Old Home Town
By Charity James
The "Plain Dealer" newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio, once ran a contest for the best stories submitted about their reader's "old home town." Out of the several hundred stories turned in, one contributed by John L. Shields of Adrian, Michigan, (the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Shield of Brookville), won the $5.00 second prize. The following is his essay:
"Paw Paw, Michigan may represent the same appearance to the returning wanderer but not Brookville, Pennsylvania. Not with the Title &Trust Company's new building on Main St. and the Jefferson County National (bank) hurrying its new home along to add luster to the financial district. Of course many things have changed and the town has changed with them. What town doesn't?
"Paw Paw has a library and Brookville doesn't. Frank Brown, a Brookville boy, who has gone out and made a ton of money, came home to live. He didn't see the sense in endowing a library, so he built Brookville a $100,000 movie theater with uniformed attendants, beautiflul rest rooms, soft carpets, easy chairs and everything. Each evening clusters of people came pouring in from miles around tosee the screen luminaries do their thing.
"Then Sam Henderson decided Brookville, which had a population of 3,500 people, didn't have enough golfers to finance a club. So, Sam went to Roseville, bought a couple of hundred acres of land, hired a golf architect, laid out a course, built a combination club house and country home and then put a notice in the papers that the whole shotting match was free.
"Once a man down at Cooks Mill got his hand slashed on a band saw and they had to carry him up to Dr. Brown, Dr. Lawson or Dr. Balmer. If he was hurt seriously they had to carry him off to the Punxsutawney Hospital. They travelled over country roads or by train and then changed cars over at Falls Creek. If a machinist over at the Shawmut shops got injured or a driller had a mishap out in the Sigel oil fields, Reitz's ambulance ran over smooth concrete highways and brought him to the Brookville hospital, which was built through the generosity of Jefferson County's good citizens. Where at one time an appendicitis operation was good for a winter's conversation, then got two lines in the weekly paper. Dr. Snyder just goes up and cuts it out!
"Wirt Hendeerson bought the first Ford and farmers East, West, North and South cussed Wirth and his darn contraption. Then Sam Arthurs bought his first Cadillac. Ulysses Stahlman brought in a good gas well and purchased an I.M.F..
"Then Earl Sandt bought his first airplane. He had hippodromed aroun, falling every now and then, and died in 1913. He was known as one of the pioneers of the air. Earl's influence bore fruit a few years later when the United States went to war. Brookville furnished more aviators for a town of its size than any other town in the country.
"The little town of Brookville also sent maney volunteers to other branchesof the service. Most of the men sent out never had a chance to return to the tiny little town in Jefferson County. But the fortunate souls who had gone from here and returned were always tickled to death to be back home.
"When you find the condition, you don't usually find very much with "the old home Town."
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