Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Casper Fire truck of old

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The Migrating Memorial: Some Gave All: World War One Memorial, Laramie Wyoming

This is our entry for the World War One Memorial in Laramie, Wyoming: Some Gave All: World War One Memorial, Laramie Wyoming:

The memorial is impressive in that it lists everyone from Albany County or from the University of Wyoming (students) who was killed during World War One. Quite a list of names. That really says something about the Great War.

The reason I've cross posted this over here is that, as this entry reveals, and with links, this memorial was once in the middle of a prominent intersection in downtown Laramie. It was essentially the psychological center of the town. But only for a few years. By 1929 it had been moved to its current location.

I'm not sure what, if anything, this says. It certainly would seem to indicate that at one time the memory of the Great War was of central importance to the residents of Albany County, which actually has two WWI memorials. Now, it's on a corner of the courthouse block, which is not uncommon anywhere, but the corner is the back corner actually, which is a semi quiet residential street corner.

On the other hand, it would have been necessary to move it. Maybe when it was put up right after World War One an intersection could have a memorial dead center, but no way that one could have after the mid 1920s. It would have been destroyed in traffic accidents.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Society of the Military Horse • View topic - Off Topic: World War One Made British Eats Bad

A thesis recently advanced on NPR, but fairly questionable in our view, as discussed here:

Society of the Military Horse • View topic - Off Topic: World War One Made British Eats Bad

Society of the Military Horse • View topic - oldtime packers

Society of the Military Horse • View topic - oldtime packers

Indian Ice Delivery Trucks, Casper Wyoming

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Ice delivery vehicles. Pretty advanced for the time, in many locations this would still be done by horse drawn wagon for another two decades.

Ice was a big deal in this era. Refrigeration mostly wasn't. People kept "Ice Boxes" in their houses. My father stilled called the refrigerator the "Ice Box" well into the 70s, having become acclimated to that term in his early years even though he probably grew up in a house with a refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pay Scale, World War Two.

A pay scale table for the U.S. Army in World War Two. A thread on this topic is running on the SMH site.

Lots of interesting odds and ends an item like this brings up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


In the past couple of days, I have had instances in which I have been sitting in my office, with my computer connected to the net, and I have found it necessary to text message somebody using my cell phone.

Indeed, over the past year, not only have I found that it continues to be necessary (no surprise) to own a cell phone, but I am now text messaging on my cell phone as a work necessity. Text messaging tends to be associated with teenagers at the mall, but at least in my recent experience it's gone on to be a feature of at least the legal work place. Not all that long ago I found myself walking through Denver getting and receiving text messages pertaining to a deposition that was going on in Texas.

Here at my office, where I am right now (taking a break for lunch) I have, right where I am, a laptop computer, a telephone, a second miniature laptop, a cell phone, and an Ipod that's jacked into the computer, which allows me not only to send and receive email (including work email, and I've done that) but to keep my calendar and contacts electronically.

When I started this profession a little over twenty years ago, my office was equipped, as all our offices were, with a phone and a computer. The computer did not have net access. I don't really recall what I used that computer for, but chances are that I didn't use it all that much on a daily basis. I did write legal memos on it, and it had some programs that were used to substitute for casebooks we had in our library. It was probably three or four years after that when we purchased a computer that had net access, and we obtained West Law in our office for the first time. Before that, most local lawyers had a West Law account at the County Law Library, which was in the old County Courthouse. Having a good fax machine in that era seemed pretty neat. Now all this seems quite quaint.

It does make me wonder about the earlier era, however. Twenty years ago we were already on the cusp of a technological revolution. Even ten years before that we sort of were. But what about before that?

From probably the mid 1920s through to about 1980 the telephone was the only piece of connected technology any law office had. Fax machines hadn't arrived. If you wanted to send something, you did it by mail. Or if you wanted quick contact, you called. What was office work like then? It no doubt involved a lot of dictation of correspondence, and indeed we dictated when I first started out. Some people still do that. But we all did. And dictation in that era did place a bit of a premium on avoiding revisions, although we all revised. Revisions in that era were truly manual, and the result was, the further you go back, that the product had to be regenerated.

What about before 1920? At some time prior to that, most offices didn't have phones. How different office work must have been then. Quick contact just wasn't going to happen. Contact would have mostly been through the mail. Dictation would have been all direct. Everything was much more hands on and manual.

It'd be interesting, if we could, to go back to one of those offices, say an office of 1912, and see how they really worked, what somebody in our profession (assuming that there is a 1912 equivalent) actually did, on a daily basis, and how they did it, before communications became so instant over vast distances.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The speed of offical Justice, from Today In Wyoming's History: February 15

Today In Wyoming's History: February 15: 1933 President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami but which claimed the life of Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak.

The attempted assassin in this matter was Giuseppe Zangara, an Italian veteran of World War One who was fairly clearly in poor health and increasingly suffering from delusions to some extent. The wounded Mayor Cermak survived until March 6, 1933. By that time, Zangara had already been sentenced for four counts of attempted murder, and was given 20 years for each count.

That is, he had been sentenced in less than a month.

He was charged with homicide on March 8, 1933, due to Cermak's death. He plead guilty and was executed on March 20, 1933.

Cermak never contested his responsibility for the crimes. He was increasingly ill and suffering from delusions, but his statements made it fairly clear that he conceived of his actions as some sort of radical anti-capitalist action. What strikes me as amazing, however, is that he went from arrest to execution in a little over a month. Indeed, he went from arrest for homicide to execution in 14 days.

I am not noting this in order to make a comment about the death penalty. That's an entirely different topic and frankly addressing it in the context of 2012 in comparison to 1933 isn't really even possible. But what is really striking is that the criminal process played itself out so very rapidly. Now I would have expected a process of examination to determine if Zangara was sane or even competent to make a confession, and there's no way on earth that the process would have occurred so very rapidly

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Visual memories of oil booms past.

Recently I took some photos for the Railhead blog we have, which is dedicated to all things locomotive, which really caused me to realize the extent to which a boom can alter the face of a town. More specifically, it caused me to realize how much the oil boom of the late teens and twenties has had an impact on the appearance of Casper, even though there's been multiple booms and busts since then.

What caused me to ponder this is that I took some photos of the walkway that's been put in across Casper on the old Chicago and North West line. That rail line is now long gone, and the old rail bed is now a walkway through downtown Casper, and a trial that stretches all the way out of town towards the East. It's an impressive effort, but of course for most of its course it is basically unimproved. Not all of it is scenic by any means, but the downtown portion is pretty neat.

In walking it, it occurred to me that a tremendous amount of what a person sees on it was built in the teens and twenties. Not everything, by any means, but an awful lot is. And some of what does not appear to be only has a more modern appearance as new facades have been added.

This in turn caused me to ponder how many other buildings in downtown Casper remain from this era. While Casper does not have an extremely well preserved downtown, like some towns do, it does show a remarkable impact form the World War One oil boom. Fire Station No. 1 remains, now in use as a private office, having been built in 1921. The Townsend Hotel also remains, and I believe that it may stretch back that far. It's now a courthouse. The Consolidated Royalty Building, still in use as an office building, was designed by the same architect as The Townsend Hotel, and was built in 1917. It was originally the headquarters for an oil company. I don't have any pictures of it, but Natrona County High School, still in use, was built in 1923.

Just off downtown, several impressive churches were built in the same era. St. Anthony's is one example. First United Methodist is another, in that it was added on to during this era. First Presbyterian was built in this time frame. A new St. Mark's was built. All of this was no doubt occurring as people were moving into town, indeed the town became a small city in this era, but it probably also reflects that the oil activity had increased people's fortunes, and they were generous with their added wealth.

Casper has certainly suffered recessions and depressions since then. One of the buildings mentioned above, the Townsend Hotel, was abandoned for a very long time as a result of one of them. A few older downtown buildings have disappeared, after have sat empty for awhile. Nonetheless, the impact of the oil boom that came about due to World War One and which lasted into the Roaring Twenties has left quite a visual impact.