Monday, June 5, 2017

My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 26, November 11 – November 22, 1920

Gertrude (left) and her high school friend, Bea Wilkins

This is the 26th blog post with transcriptions of my grandmother's 1920 diary from Beverly, Massachusetts.  Her name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 - 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street.  Her diary is a tiny 3" book with minuscule handwriting.  It has taken me a long time to transcribe, and the book is very fragile.  It has missing and torn pages, and the end of the book is gone, so I am very near to the end of this project with these November pages. Every Monday I post another section of the diary.  You can read the first installment HERE.

THURS. NOV 11, 1920
Up at 6:45 school all
morning home at 1.15
Went down to Helen’s at
3.30 stayed to supper took care
of Baby home on 9. Car
Went to bed at 9.45

Up at 6.45 school all the
morning home at 1.15 home
all afternoon.  After supper
Eunice & I went to store with
Ethel went over her house all
evening home at 9.  Bed at 9.45

Up at 7.45 home all morning
Mr. Lowell over after dinner
Went to Salem at 4.15 but
couldn’t get a hat home all
evening. Bed at 9.00

NOTE:   On Thursday Gertrude went over to her sister-in-law’s house (Helen) to take care of the baby (Clemont) who would celebrate his first birthday on November 17th.  On Friday she went with her sister Eunice to the store with Ethel (who was married to her brother Russell).  Mr. Lowell, the boarder, was back on Saturday.  She went shopping to Salem but “couldn’t get a hat”.  I wonder if she just didn’t find one that pleased her, or if she couldn’t afford one.

SUN. NOV. 14, 1920
Up at 9. Home all morning
Ty came down after dinner
went to walk with Marion,
Rus & Ethel down.  George
Came down at 6.  Home all
Evening.  Went to Bed at 9.30

Up at 6.45 went to school all
morning.  Home at 1.15 stayed
home all afternoon.  After
supper went to the store
with Ethel & Eunice, Mrs. Butler over
she hurt her ankle.  Bed at 10.15

Up at 6.45 went to school
all morning home at 1.15
Went over Mrs. Butlers all
afternoon helped her. Home
all evening.  Big fire Solon Lovetts
factory. Bed at 9.30

NOTE:   It seems that several young men came to visit Gertrude on Sunday.  Ty was there after lunch and George was down later in the day. She walked with her cousin Marion, and her brother Russell was there with his new wife, Ethel. Mrs. Butler, the neighbor sprained an ankle, so Gertrude spent Tuesday helping her out.  The big news of the week was the fire at the Solon Lovett shoe factory.  See the newsclippings below.  (The business papers of the Solon Lovett business can be found at the Beverly Historical Society). 

Boston Herald, page 2 Nov. 17, 1920

$125,000 LOSS IN
Four-Story Lovett Factory
in Thickly Settled Dis-
trict Burns
Fire of undetermined origin de-
stroyed the five-story frame
structure of the Solon Lovett leather fac-
tory at 63 Federal Street, Beverly,
yesterday afternoon, with a loss es-
timated at $125,000.

The fire stated on the second floor
occupied by the W. H. Howard Com-
pany, manufacturers of shoe counters,
after all the employees had left the
building.  An automatic alarm first at-
tracted the attention of Solon Lovette
and his son, Merton, who were in their
office on the first floor.  They deal in
leather soles and occupy the first and
fifth floors.                                      

Second Floor on Fire
Merton Lovett, who investigated, saw
flames coming down through a belt
chute, and running upstairs found the
whole second floor on fire.  In addition
to the automatic alarm Solon Lovett
telephoned the firemen and Frank C.
McPherson, son of Mayor James Mc-
Pherson, saw the fire from the street
and gave an alarm from the nearest
box.  The three notifications cme into
the central fire station within two min-
utes of each other.                      

On his arrival, Fire Chief Grant
sounded a general alarm, as the neigh-
borhood is thickly settled with fac-
tories, mills and lumber storehouses.

The fire was fought from four sides
and the department, which was recent-
ly completely motorized, stood its first
serious test well, the motor pumping
engines, delivering powerful streams.

During the blaze one of the walls fell,
but the firemen working at that point
had been ordered to withdraw in time.
The fire attracted a large crowd of per-
sons going home from work and many
automobiles.  Trains on the Boston &
Maine railroad had to be slowed up.

The several losses are approximately
as follows:  Nichols Tool Company,
 basement $12,000;  Solon Lovett, $83,000;
WH Howard company, $31,000, and
Moore Brothers, toplifts, fourth floor,
$7,000.  The building was owned by Solon
Lovett.  All the firms are said to be
fairly well covered by insurance.

And from “The Standard” Volume 87, page 689, December 4, 1920
$140,000 Loss at Beverly, Mass.
The fire on Nov. 16 caused nearly total loss to the three-story
Frome Solon Lovett factory building 63 Federal Street Beverly, Mass.
Started on the second floor in premises occupied by W. H. Howad &
Co., heel manufacturers, the fire quickly spreading through the entire
Building being held in the main building by slate roof and a brick wall
On the north.  Occupancy and insurance as follows: --
Third floor, Moore Bros., top lift manufacturers, stock and machin-
ery: Queen, $1,000; Springfield, F & M, $1,00, Aetna $1,000; West-
chester, $1,00; Fidelity-Phoenix, $1,000, City of New York, $500; Great
American, $2,000; total, $7,500
Second floor, W.H. Howard & Co, heel manufacturers, stock & ma-
Chinery: Ins. Co. of State of Penn., $2,800; American of New Jersey,
$2,5000; New Hampshire $2,500; L. L. & G, $1,200; United State Fire,
$1,000; Boston, $1,000; Phoenix of Hartford, $1,000; total $15,000.
Basement, M. D. Nichols Tool Co., stock: Franklin $1,500; N. Y. A.
Of Hartford, $1,500; Aetna, $2,000; Atlas, $2000; Queen $1,000; total
Solon Lovett, first and part second floor, on stock…. Total $80,500
On Lovett building… total $12,000”

WED. NOV. 17, 1920
Up at 6.45 went to school
all morning home 1.25
stayed home all the
afternoon and evening and
tatted.  Eunice went down to
Helens.  Went to bed at 9.

Up at 6.45 school all morning
got our report cards to
day, home at 1.15 after dinner
went downtown with Eunice & Ethel
After supper we took a ride up
to Danvers.  Bed at 10.15

Up at 6.45 went to school
all morning had a play
home at 1.15.  Helped Mrs
Butler a little while.  Stayed
home all evening Ethel came
over Went to bed at 10.30

NOTE:  Gertrude loved tatting and knitting.  She was very good at handicrafts, even when I remember her as my elderly grandmother.  She spent all afternoon and evening on Wednesday tatting.  Thursday was report card day, but Gertrude didn’t mention her grades. 

SAT. NOV. 20, 1920
Up at 7.45 worked all
morning.  Stayed home
afternoon.  Mr. Lowell over
to supper.  After supper
walked downtown with
Eunice and Rozella
Went to bed at 10.

Up at 10 stayed around
the house all morning Ma,
Pa, & Mill up to Russells.  &
Eunice, Ty, Buster and I
Went to the Empire
Got home at eight o’clock
Went to bed at 9.45

Up at 6.45 school all the
morning bus mass meeting
home at 1.15  stayed home
all the afternoon and even-
ing tatting bed at 9.00

NOTE:    On Saturday Gertrude walked downtown with her sister Eunice and her friend Rozella.  I wonder if she ever found a new hat?  Sunday seems to be the day the young men come visiting.  Gertrude and her sister Eunice went to the Empire with two young men named Ty and Buster.  The Empire was a big department store in Salem that was still operating until the late 1970s.  I remember buying a nice dress for my senior year of high school at the Empire.   She spent Monday afternoon and evening tatting again.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 26, November 11 – November 22, 1920”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 5, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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