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Granite City, Illinois, Newspaper Clippings

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

EARLY HISTORY OF GRANITE CITY

 

POST OFFICE ESTABLISHED
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1838
We learn that a post office has been lately established in the precinct of Six Mile, in this county, and placed under the charge of J. Squire, Esq. as Postmaster. This will be of great utility to the people of that settlement, who have long been subjected to much inconvenience from the deficiency of mail facilities.

 

2,500 EMPLOYEES ADDED TO CITY'S MANUFACTORIES
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 2, 1900
The officers and directors of the National Enameling and Stamping Company, whose general works are at Granite City, were the guests yesterday of Mr. F. G. Niedringhaus, the president of the great concern. The gentlemen met for the purpose of inspecting the several plants at Granite City, including the addition to the big rolling mill. During their trip over the town yesterday, the gentlemen witnessed the starting up of the eight new rolling mills, which are now a part of the company's plant. These mills, in connection with the other portions of the plant, enable the company to turn out the finished article of commerce from the raw material. The latest addition to the mills will supply sheet steel and tin plate for the factories of the company located at Granite City, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Md., and Bellaire, Ohio, and the product will be worked into all kinds of tin and enameled ware. The output will be 300 tons of thin sheets every twenty-four hours, valued at present at $20,000. The addition consists of thirty-four, thirty-ton basic steel furnaces and twenty-two finishing sheet mills. The buildings are of steel and brick, and cover over five acres, employing an additional 1,500 skilled men and 1,000 unskilled laborers. The average pay of the skilled men will be over $5 per day [Equal to $140.05 in 2014], and the unskilled $4.50 per day. This great industry in our neighboring city, in this county, is the direct result of the protection to American industries, fostered by the administration of William McKinley. Twenty-four hundred men added to the manufacturing industries of Granite City will add much to the county's prosperity and population. It is a different condition from that left by Grover Cleveland, the last free trade Democratic administration. And it ought to be the last for fifty years. Democracy and free trade are the enemies of prosperity and manufacturing institutions.

 

GRANITE CITY LUTHERAN HOSPITAL DEDICATED
Witnessed by Thousands
Source: Troy Weekly Call, August 19, 1905
The dedication of the new Lutheran Hospital at Granite City last Sunday [August 13, 1905] proved a gala day for Granite and a memorable one for the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of that city, as well as those throughout Southern Illinois, which contributed largely to the founding of the institution. It is estimated that an audience of about 10,000 persons were present on the occasion, to witness the all-day exercises which marked the dedication.

All the railroads entering the Tri-cities and East St. Louis offered excursion rates for the event, and there was a great outpouring of people from Southern Illinois in particular. Visitors were there from East St. Louis, Mt. Olive, Venedy, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Troy, Okawville, Carlyle, Covington, Mascoutah, Belleville, Millstadt, Nashville, Hoffman, St. Louis, and other places. The attendance from Troy on the occasion numbered about 150 persons.

A committee composed of the officers and directors of the association met the excursion trains, and received and directed the visitors. The committee was composed of Rev. A. H. Almstedt of Granite City, Rev. W. Von Schenk and Thomas Deffner of Belleville, Gerhardt Schneider of Nashville, Christian Busse of Troy, and E. G. Gerding of Collinsville.

The opening services began at 9 o’clock in the morning on the lawn in front of the hospital, and were conducted entirely in German. The opening was a hymn by the congregation, accompanied by the Mt. Olive Band. A fervent prayer was then offered by the Rev. Walter Von Schenk of Belleville, followed by another hymn by the congregation. Then ensued the solemn opening of the hospital in the name of the Triune God, by the Rev. A. H. Almstedt of Granite City. Headed by the band, the immense congregation afterwards proceeded to one of the large buildings of the Niedringhaus Steel Works, where a platform and seats had been provided, and the program was resumed by opening with a hymn. The next was the reading of a scripture lesson by the Rev. G. Schaaf of Mascoutah, followed by a sermon by the Rev. Prof. Martin Luecke, former pastor of the Troy church, now president of Concordia College at Ft. Wayne, Indiana. A selection by a Belleville male choir was then rendered, and was followed by an address by the Rev. Martin Daib of Troy. A Collinsville choir then rendered a selection which was followed by the reading of the history of the Granite City hospital by Thomas Deffner of Belleville. Prayer and benediction closed the morning program, and the audience was given an opportunity to inspect the new hospital. Dinner was also announced, and this was served in a large tent near the hospital, where nearly 2,000 persons partook of the bountiful fest.

The afternoon program was entirely in English, and also took place in the main building of the Niedringhaus Steel Works. The platform was a specious affair, and seating capacity for more than 3,000 was provided. On the platform were: Rev. Martin Luecke of Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Rev. A. H. Almstedt of Granite City; Rev. Martin Sommers of St. Louis; L. Reith of Carpenter; C. Abel of Mt. Olive; C. Purzner of St. Louis; W. C. Steinmann of Venedy; W. A. Schermann of Covington; M. Daib of Troy; F. Von Strohe of Collinsville; Emil Koch of Okawville; J. Schoenleber of Carlyle; G. Schaaf of Mascoutah; H. Markworth of Pleasant Ridge; W. Von Schenk of Belleville; H. W. Lessmann of Okawville; Theo Lobrmann of Millstadt; J. C. Ambacher of Nashville, the officers and directors of the hospital; Mayor Morgan Le Masters and the city council of Granite City; the Mt. Olive Band; the singing societies of Collinsville and Belleville; and prominent ladies and business men of Granite City.

The program was opened with a hymn to the melody of “Allein Gott in der Hoeh’ sel Her.” Then followed a scripture lesson by the Rev. Theodore Lohrmann of Hofman. Selection by the choir of Zion’s Church of Belleville. Hymn by the congregation. Sermon by the Rev. Martin Sommers of St. Louis. Selection by the choir. Hymn by the congregation to the melody of “O Gott, du frommer Gott.” Prayer by the Rev. J. C. Ambacher of Nashville. Hymn by the congregation to the melody of “Es ist das Heil.” The closing was in prayer, repeating of Lord’s Prayer, and benediction.

Rev. Martin Sommers of St. Louis was the principal speaker in the afternoon, and preached an excellent dedicatory sermon. Mayor Morgan Le Matters thanked the officers and directors of the association, and all those who had been instrumental in the erection of the building, which, he said, was an ornament to the city and would be a haven for many afflicted. Thanks were also especially extended to Rev. Almstedt for the courage and energy he has displayed in promoting the plans.

The Granite City Lutheran Hospital was built at a cost of about $30,000 to the Hospital Association, but the actual cost is greatly in excess of that figure, for the reason that the site and furnishings for the building were donated by various persons and institutions. The whole construction was made possible by the free will offerings of the Lutheran congregations of Southern Illinois, in particular. While conducted under Lutheran auspices, it will be for the benefit of suffering humanity without regard to sect, color, or creed.

At the beginning, the Messrs. Niedringhaus, through George Niedringhaus, donated two lots valued at $2,000, at Twenty-First and I Streets, as a site for the institution. The plans and specifications for the building were submitted by Architect Theodore C. Kistner of Granite City, and after these had been submitted to the association and to head nurses and hospital physicians of note, they were pronounced excellent and accepted. The construction work on the building was commenced about the first of the year.

The building is a handsome, commodious, and well-appointed structure of three stories. It has a frontage of 105 feet, with a depth at center of 63 feet. The basement walls are of broken ashlar Grafton stone, and the walls above are of brick, faced with buff and gray speckled brick with trimmings of Carthage stone. The roof is of slate, with red tile copings. The basement contains the kitchen, dining room, pantries, lecture room, laundry, and heating apparatus – the latter being the “fan system” of heating and ventilating, which is automatically controlled. The first story contains a reception room, superintendent’s office and private room, a large ward, four private rooms, an apothecary, and a bedroom for nurses – all of which are elaborately furnished. In the second story are one large and one small ward, and seven private rooms. The third story contains the operating room, sterilizing room, anesthetic room, surgeon’s toilet and dressing room, laboratory, one large private room and bedrooms for nurses. Bath and toilet rooms, serving rooms, and linen closets are on each floor.

The building also has the service of an electric elevator, with push button control, and an electric dumb waiter, both of which are operated from the basement. In addition, it has a call bell system, and a system of telephones with outside connection. Floors in the basement are cemented and the halls and corridors above have terrazzo floors. Wards and rooms have hardwood floors, and operating rooms have skylights, tile floors, and glazed tile walls and ceilings. Sterilizing rooms, anesthetic rooms, and all bath and toilet rooms have tile floors and glazed tile and marble wainscotings. In all, the hospital is one of the finest and most complete to be found anywhere, and was pronounced such by thousands of competent judges who inspected it last Sunday.

The officers of the Granite City hospital are: Rev. A. H. Almstedt of Granite City, president; Rev. Walter Von Schenk of Belleville, vice-president; Theodore Deffner of Belleville, secretary; and G. G. Schneider of Nashville, treasurer. These, with E. G. Gerding of Collinsville, and Christian Busse of Troy, also comprise the Board of Directors. The head nurse is Miss Marla Brockmann, graduate of the St. Louis Lutheran Hospital, and formerly superintendent of the Military Hospital at San Francisco. Miss Maria Stahl of Mascoutah is the assistant head nurse, and the other nurses are: Misses Brockmann of Hofmann; Roffman of Worden; Hoffmann of Collinsville; and Buhrmester of Troy.

By Tuesday, the hospital had nine patients, and a report received from there Thursday stated the number had been increased to fourteen.

NOTES:
The Lutheran Hospital in Granite City was located at 21st and Iowa Streets (the hospital faced 21st Street until the late 1920s, when it was remodeled and additions constructed so that the building faced Madison Avenue). Construction began in 1904, and the hospital was dedicated and formally opened on August 13, 1905. By March 31, 1911, the Evangelical Lutheran Hospital Association was bankrupt, and the first meeting of its creditors was held at the city hall in Granite City. The hospital closed April 29, 1911. In June 1911, Father Peter Kaenders of Venice purchased the hospital for $9,250.00. He had previously bought bonds of the hospital in the amount of $23,200.00, and two judgments for the sum of $7,681.14. Father Kaenders changed the name of the hospital to St. Elizabeth’s. Today, the Gateway Regional Medical Center occupies the property.

 

BOY STRAYS TWO DAYS BLIND ON GABARET ISLAND
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1909
His eyes destroyed by the accidental discharge of a shotgun, and crazed with heat and thirst, Gregory Buginsky, 14 years old, of West Granite City, Illinois, wandered about over an uninhabited island in the Gabaret Slough for two days and nights. The lad was found yesterday afternoon by a party of hunters. His arms were clasped to a tree, and he was gnawing viciously at the bark. While the shot had entered only one eye, the sight of the other had been ruined. His face was covered with clotted blood and his blackened tongue was hanging from his mouth when the hunters found him. He had been bitten and tortured by mosquitoes and insects until nearly crazed. While he was being carried to the boat, he fought fiercely, muttering incoherently. His clothes were torn to shreds by the brambles, and his body had been burned almost black by the sun. At the Granite City Hospital last night, it was said that there was little hope for his recovery. His eyesight is gone. Gregory sought to get a number of his companions to go hunting with him Wednesday afternoon. When they refused, he got his father's gun and rowed alone to the island in the slough to hunt for snipe. At the hospital, the boy was able to give a disconnected account of what happened on Gabaret Island. "When I got in the middle of the island," he said, "I got the trigger caught in the branch of a tree. The gun went off. I fell to the ground. When I got up - I guess it was a couple of hours afterwards - I couldn't see anything. The pain in my head was awful, and I was so thirsty. I was afraid to move because there is water all around the island and it is deep, I was afraid I would fall in. But I got so thirsty after a while that I couldn't stand it anymore, and my head began to hurt more and more every minute. I got on my hands and knees and began crawling around, looking for water. I must have crawled around in a circle, because I did not get near the water. After crawling a long time, I found some tule weeds and sucked them. The sun had dried them out, and they did not help me much. After a while I got under a rock and it was a lot cooler, but my head hurt me awfully and I was thirsty. I think I went to sleep for a little while. When I woke up I was burning. My head was hurting worse and I was so thirsty. I bit my arm to get some blood to drink, but it hurt so much that I stopped." It is thought the boy became crazed after this and did not know what he was doing. When the first drop of water the hunters gave him touched his lips, the lad laughed wildly. He fought with the men when they took the cup from his lips. He was allowed to drink only a small quantity of water at a time.

 

PRIEST BUYS THE GRANITE CITY LUTHERAN HOSPITAL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 11, 1911
From Granite City comes the information that the Granite City Lutheran Hospital, which has been closed since April 29 on account of financial troubles, was sold yesterday to Father P. Kaenders, pastor of the Venice Catholic Church, for $55,000. It was announced that the institution will be opened within a week as a hospital, under the supervision of Father Kaenders and in charge of the Sisters of Charity. The deal for the purchase of the institution was in progress for four months. By the terms of the sale, the creditors will receive about 10 cents on the dollar of the original investment. The hospital was dedicated by the Lutheran church in 1905. According to the contract of sale, Father Kaenders will assume the bonded indebtedness and accrued interest, which amounts to $47,000, and in addition will pay $3,000 in cash. It is planned to make the institution free. A bathhouse, chapel and sisters' home may be erected as additions to the building.

 

SCHOOL GIRL WINS MUCH COURTED MAN - 3,000 WOMEN WANTED HIM
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1912
Granite City, Sept. 18 - Though for six years he had withstood the courting of 3,000 women and had turned down approximately 1,000 proposals of marriage, the charms of a little school girl he met ten years ago have proven too much for Clarence Lile, druggist of Granite City and founder of its once famous Bachelor Club. The little school girl is Miss Gertrude Alexander, daughter of J. C. Alexander of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Lile admits he "popped" the question this time. The couple are to be married September 25 at the bride's home. The ceremony will be performed by Rev. E. Holt of Centenary M. E. Church of Cape Girardeau.

The bachelors' club, which Lile organized, and of which he was the first president, threw the glove at the foot of unmarried womanhood in the form of a matrimonial ball about seven years ago. Three thousand women attended, coming, it is said, from all parts of the country. St. Louis and the Tri-Cities sent the greatest representation. Mistaking his intention in forming the bachelors' club, old maids, grass widows, and real widows alike flocked about Lile to congratulate him for conceiving the idea. Some became profuse in expressing their thanks and admiration. Almost every woman at the ball wanted to marry, or at least to dance with Lile. After the ball was over and the husbandless women had returned to their homes apprised of the real purpose of the bachelors' club, the one-sided matrimonial correspondence between Lile and the women began. The druggist received an average of one proposal a day for three years. But the membership of the bachelor organization remained intact until the spring of 1911. At that time, Lile, without giving any reason, dropped out, and soon after the club disbanded, several of the "boys" marrying.

With the announcement of the coming wedding, Lile last night recounted a little personal history, which threw great light on his sudden desertion of the ranks of the bachelors' club. When Lile had just begun the study of pharmacy in 1902, he met a little 13-year-old schoolgirl, whom he called "Gertie." About the time he organized the bachelor club, she departed to enter the normal school at Neosho, Missouri. About eighteen months ago, the spring of 1911, or the time of the disbanding of the bachelors' club, she was graduated from the school.

After the ceremony the couple will spend their honeymoon in Minnesota. They will return to Granite City to make their home there about the middle of October.

[Note: Clarence Lile established a drugstore in Granite City in 1907 at 1901 Edison Avenue. In 1916 he moved his store to 1402 Niedringhaus Ave., and the last location for his store was 2101 Delmar Avenue.]

 

MYSTERY SHROUDS HEADLESS BODY FOUND ON ISLAND
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 17, 1920
The inquest over the body of an unknown man found yesterday on Chouteau Island near Granite City was held last night at Granite City. The verdict of the jury was that death was due to "an unknown cause, probably drowning." Dr. J. H. Wedig of Granite City, who was foreman of the Coroner's jury, said the body is that of a man. The body was in such a state that it was almost impossible to determine if it were that of a man or woman. Dr. Wedig said it was very difficult to tell without a post mortem. Examination of the body showed that the left leg had at one time been fractured and was two inches shorter than the right. This is believed to be the only means of identification. The body was headless. Both hands and feet were also missing. One of the legs had been severed at the knee. It is not known if the head, hands and feet had been cut off, or if the long stay in the water had caused them to fall off. The body was nude. The fact that there were no clothes was the only ground for a theory of murder. The body, it was believed, had been in the water about three months, and if the body had been clothed when thrown into the water, it is not believed the clothing would have disappeared.

 

GRANITE CITY - FIRST BRICK BUILDING ERECTED GUTTED BY FIRE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 18, 1921
A disastrous fire, originating in the basement of the Julius Rosenberg store in Granite City this morning caused damage to the extent of about $40,000 according to estimates made by the owner of the store. The building is located at the corner of 19th and State Streets, and was a landmark of the city, since it was the first brick building to be erected in Granite City, and is said to be worth about $75,000. Rosenberg was on the second floor taking stock when the fire was discovered about 8:30 this morning. His only escape down the stairway was cut off by flames, and his rescue was effected through the efforts of Constable Nelson, who incidentally weighs about 250 pounds and is six feet four inches tall. Nelson took Rosenberg from a window on the second floor by means of a ladder. Mr. Rosenberg is a former mayor of Granite City, and has been operating a store there for some time. In the basement where the fire originated, considerable china was stored in excelsior, and this is considered responsible for the destructive flames. The loss is said to be covered by insurance.

 

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