I have no idea who reads the police reports these days, but it really is disheartening. If someone isn't beating their wife (or husband), a number of arrests are being made for individuals being charged with theft, criminal trespassing, murder, possession of drugs or a number of other things. Now that everyone has a car, there seems to be a lot of drunken driving, which could result in running over someone or hitting another car or even going off the road and destroying someone's home. The reason for most of these problems seems to be use of drugs or use of alcohol. It really is getting out of hand.
Marietta is on the roads that provide a route from Florida or Columbus, which makes it easy to drive through town and distribute whatever sells and results in big bucks. The age doesn't seem to make a difference, because if you begin the use of drugs when you are young, it's hard to stop when you age. It not only affects your mind, it shortens your life. But who cares if it brings such wonderful pleasure?
The sheriff and the police chief do what they can, and it seems they are having pretty good results, but it's a vicious cycle. When one dealer gets caught another is easily available to make a replacement.
In the 1930s and 1940s there was always someone who used too much alcohol, and the police would bring him (it was usually a man) into the station and put him in a cell to sleep it off. The next morning he would be released to head for home, and as a rule very few folks in town were aware of the situation.
There were a number of loose women in Marietta in the old days, because there were enough men with pockets full of money who desired to visit them. There was a gal who lived on Third Street who had been frequently visited by one of Marietta's popular, well-known men, but when I knew her she had been suffering from a serious disease. Her features were pretty much destroyed, but the guy who had been her constant visitor, did buy her a home and seemed to take care of her until her death.
Another man, who was the father of one of my friends, visited a woman who lived on Second Street, and he was at her home every noon, entering her back door from the alley. He certainly didn't know that I was aware of his daily visitation, but I remember his wife was rather cold, although that was no excuse. (I was aware of his activities because I, for a time was at my grandmother's on Third Street every noon for lunch. The woman's house was right behind my grandmother's and I sometimes ate lunch on the closed-in back porch, which had a view of the alley house.)
These activities are just a few of past activities in Marietta, and were nothing like things going on now. You used to be able to leave your car door unlocked with items left on the seat, but not today. Today you lock it the moment you leave your car. Crooks are getting so bold, they enter your home even though they know you are there. That's what the drug scene seems to have created. It seems that one's home is no longer his or her castle.
Exciting times took place in Marietta in the early days, and accidents often happened. The following story, concerning Marietta's street car company went as follows:
"On Jan. 3, 1908, at noon, a tube in one of the large boilers at the power plant of the Parkersburg, Marietta and Inter-Urban Electric Co. in Norwood exploded and injured two firemen, Hugo Uhlman and Charles Conrath. Uhlman was so badly scalded and burned from the steam and boiling water that it was thought he might not live.
According to an article in the Weekly Register-Leader, Conrath was more fortunate, "receiving just a badly scalded face and hands."
According to the paper. the accident occurred just before noon, when a number of workmen were in the big boiler room engaged in various jobs. The boiler in which the tube exploded was the end one of a battery of five. It had been cleaned that week and was being put in commission for the first time. (The tubes were enclosed in brick walls.)
Uhlman and Conrath were standing beside the boiler when the tube "let go." The force of the explosion was so great a small iron door in the wall and a part of the brick directly above the men were blown out. Uhlman was stooping over at the time, working at a small pump, and it was thought that some of the brick struck him. Immediately following there was a hiss and a roar. Hundreds of gallons of boiling water from this and the other boilers, which were all connected, rushed through the opening, wile steam hissed through, drowning all possible cries for help and filling that end of the big room so that it was impossible to see. Conrath, who was a little to one side of the hole made in the wall, rushed through the steam and water and received serious, but not necessarily fatal injuries.
The other workmen in the room and plant hurried to the place where the explosion had occurred and made a search for Uhlman, but could not find him until the steam had cleared away. They found him back in the area where he had crawled through the boiling water and steam, hoping to get out of the way. He was still conscious when picked up.
Hurried calls were sent for physicians, and Drs. A. Howard Smith, F.G. Mitchell and E.W. Hill responded. Conrath was taken to his home on Warner Street, while Uhlman was carried to his home at Vine and East Greene. An examination showed that Uhlman was scalded all over his body, and the attending physicians had great trouble in getting off the clothing without tearing the cooked flesh. Whether or not he inhaled any of the steam or water could not be told at the time. Dr. Smith, however, one of the attending physicians, did not give any hope that Uhlman would survive.
"Uhlman is 65 years of age, married and has a family. He has been in the employment of the company for some time."
Conrath, who was taken to home on Warner Street, was not so seriously injured. His condition depended on whether he had inhaled the steam and water. It was stated, he was married and had a wife and three children. According to the paper, it was the second escape from explosion he had had. It went on to state that a number years before, when the Rice Oil Co. burned, he was seriously injured and had one ear burned off.
The article went on to say that no damage was done to the room, although the big boiler was out of commission. Owing to the steam and water pressure going down in the other boilers when the one exploded, it was necessary to shut down and allow the boilers to cool off before the fires could be relit. As a result there was no power and the street cars were forced to stand where they had stopped after the explosion occurred.
Hugo Uhlman died at 7:45 p.m. Friday with the physicians at his bedside until his death.
The article went on to say the street car company did all it could for the injured man.
That's the way things were in the old days, and of course the street cars ran on the electricity provided by the electric company.
There were no unions in those days, and as you can see, the work was really tough. The men who worked for that company must have been really tough.
Joan Pritchard is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel. Contact her at email@example.com