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From our archives: 'Fine effort' saves factory jobs

What we thought: 75 years ago

Published: Monday, July 7, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 8:21 a.m. CST

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Telegraph on July 3, 5 and 6, 1939

Freeman company buys Brown Shoe factory

Possession to be given Aug. 15

Chamber of Commerce succeeds in fine effort

Members of the industrial committee of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce today gave out information which is of vital importance to the citizens of Dixon and will be welcomed by the members of the shoe making profession, to the effect that R.E. Freeman, president of the Freeman Shoe Company of Beloit, Wis., had announced the purchase of the Brown Shoe Co. plant in Dixon, together with plans for the almost immediate operation of the important industry.

The announcement concluded several weeks of activity which has required numerous consultations between the industrial committee of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and the Freeman company officials at Beloit.

The local committee had been advised that the Brown Co. of St. Louis had decided to cease all activities at the Dixon plant and immediately interested the Freeman company in the prospect of purchasing the property.

President Freeman informed members of the committee today that his company will take possession of the local factory on Aug. 15, and start work immediately in a program of general overhauling of the building. The plan provides for the expenditure of approximately $50,000 in improving the plant, which includes complete rewiring and dismantling of the power plant.

The Freeman company will manufacture a new line of men's high-grade welt shoes in their Dixon plant. A sales organization, separate from the present Freeman corps, will be employed in the sale of the Dixon-made shoe, which will be an addition to the present high-grade Freeman line, and will be made exclusively in the Dixon plant. ...

Present plans are for the employment of between 300 and 400 shoemakers in the Dixon factory, this number to be increased as the demand requires. The Dixon-made shoe will be sold in all parts of the United States and will be added to the stock now sold in the Freeman-owned retail stores in the larger cities throughout the country. ...

The industrial committee of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce was elated over the success of its efforts in securing the addition of the Freeman concern to Dixon's industrial life. The success of the movement, however, depends very largely on the fulfillment of an arrangement between the committee and the Freeman company, which provides that Dixon people respond to the financial obligation agreed upon.  ...

The Freeman company has a reputation of continual operation with a minimum of closed periods, and its entrance into Dixon's industrial life will be heartily welcomed by the citizens of Dixon. – July 6, 1939

Out of the 'angel' business

The United States government is to be congratulated for getting out of the theater business.

It was laudable enough to make some attempt to keep the wolves away from the door of established actors and see that they did not starve. But as administered by those in charge of the theater projects, the business went further than that. It sponsored a number of bohemian crackpots whose real business was anything but art, and whose real aim was unknown even to the crackpots themselves.

The idea that government relief to unemployed Thespians had to be in the form of open theaters and large audiences, plus prolonged applause, was an insane notion in the first place, and cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.

Any actor worth his salt could have acted dramatically with a pick and shovel at some constructive project if the people didn't have enough money to attend legitimate plays.

Give the theater good plays and good actors, and the public still will attend. – July 6, 1939

Cheaper houses

The reduction of the cost of building a house is one of the central problems of the day.

To own a home and a little land is the legitimate ambition of nearly all Americans. Until we have made it possible to realize this, we have not succeeded in America.

More than half of the urban population can afford to live in houses selling at between $2,000 and $4,000. Yet only 15 percent of the houses built last year fell within those price limits.

The reduction by 20 percent of the cost of home-building, a present objective of the administration, is certainly a laudable one. To do this, and yet not decrease the standards of building-trade workers, material dealers, builders and other persons directly involved, is a problem, largely a problem in efficiency in an industry known for the contrary. It is a real challenge to American ingenuity, to be met boldly, skillfully, and wisely. – July 6, 1939

Traffic safety and smoking

Everybody is for traffic safety. Everyone agrees that the personal liberty of drivers must be compromised for the sake of the safety of others.

But like all these compromises between the rights of one and the rights of all, there must be some point where reason marks off a dividing line.

That line must be somewhere pretty close to a new German regulation promulgated by Gen. Kurt Daluege, chief of German police, who has ruled that no one may smoke while driving.

Apparently Germany has not yet bred the omnipotent sort of American auto driver who can drive, smoke, listen to the radio, neck a pretty girl, and read the shaving-cream advertisements, all at the same time.

This is a peculiarly American product, not yet developed, it would seem, in Hitlerland. – July 6, 1939

Over 600 met violent ends over holiday

By the Associated Press

The motor car killed 70 times as many persons as did fireworks as America observed the 163rd anniversary of its independence with a four-day celebration marred by more than 600 violent deaths.

A survey today listed only four lives lost by exploding fireworks to 277 sudden deaths in automobile accidents throughout the 48 states.

The total toll was at least 615 compared with 517 reported for the three-day celebration last year.

Thronging of beaches by merry-making millions accounted for the second highest number of fatalities – 183 drownings. Trains killed 29 persons. There were 36 fatal shootings, eight plane deaths and 79 died in miscellaneous accidents. – July 5, 1939

Hometown star

(Advertisement for the Lee Theater)

Now showing: "Code of the Secret Service," presented by Warner Bros., starring Ronald Reagan, Rosella Towne and Eddie Foy Jr. – July 3, 1939

Lincoln Way traffic may be diverted

Northern Illinois counties may lose route

Lee and other northern Illinois counties may lose the historic Lincoln Highway, it become known here today in a communication from C.M. Burgess of Geneva, president of the Illinois division of the Lincoln Highway Association.

Attempts of a well-organized group to reroute the Lincoln Highway, first transcontinental automobile route, via Peoria, are being made, the letter stated.

At the regular July meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, which will convene Thursday morning at 10 o'clock, action will be taken on a proposal for modernization of the Lincoln Highway in China and Ashton townships. Opposition to the proposed modernization program has been met in Ashton township, where it is contended that valuable land now used as asparagus fields will be required for the proposed new right of way north of Ashton. ...

The road and bridge committee of the Lee County Board will present a resolution at the meeting tomorrow in which they will recommend that the board cooperate with China and Ashton townships in securing the required right of way. – July 5, 1939

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