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September 10, 2008 > History: This month in Hayward - August 1938

History: This month in Hayward - August 1938

By Marcess Owings

We like to think that great advancements have been made throughout time which we have done: travel to the moon, hybrid cars and efficient communication by e-mail. However, looking back at old editions of the Hayward Journal, one of Hayward's earliest newspapers, can also make us realize how similar some things still are. Fires destroy homes, teenagers do silly things, elections dominate news coverage, marriages and births are announced, cars are advertised, and advice handed out. But the individual stories are still unique!

The "dog days" of August and dry summers were still on people's minds as fire brought devastation to one Hayward resident. David Price Hall, who lived on Second Street, raced inside his burning 2-story home to save his collie named Pal. He almost raced back to save his other two fox terriers, but was held back by spectators just as the roof crashed in. Not only did Hall loose two of his faithful companions, he also lost antiques and paintings that he had been collecting for 21 years. The sixty year old man had lived alone until just prior to the fire; he had rented out rooms to two young men from out-of-state who were not at home during the blaze. Fuel oil that Hall kept on his back porch helped accelerate the fire as it spread to a nearby eucalyptus grove. In total, the fire destroyed ten acres and required the service of 100 firefighters. It was found that two young boys set the fire with leftover Fourth of July sparklers. Hall's house had been insured until two months prior when his insurance policy expired and he did not have enough money to renew.

In a separate fire, a 16 year old girl saved her 3 year-old brother from their burning home on Watkins Street. Despite a flaming ceiling and smoky room, heroic Helen Arhontes pulled little Jimmy out from his hiding place under the bed. Helen suffered a burn over one eye and some of her hair was singed. Damage to the home and contents was estimated at $1,000, which is roughly $14,000 by today's standards.

Romance and crime were linked when one boy was imprisoned and his friends were released on probation for a chivalrous theft. The three Hayward lads had met with three Oakland girls and spent the night dancing. At the end of the evening, the girls did not have enough money for bus fare and the boys did not have enough gas in their car to drive them home. The boys refused to let the girls hitchhike home, so they siphoned gas from a nearby vehicle. Judge Jacob Harder commended them on their chivalrous act, but also had to uphold the law and carried out the punishment recommended by the County Probation Officer. The boys were charged with petty theft. One boy had been in trouble with the police two months prior for attempting to crash an Oakland dance and he was sentenced to a 30-day jail term as part of his probation agreement. The other two boys were sentenced to six months probation.

As with this summer's election coverage, the upcoming election in 1938 was also a popular subject. Many candidates for various city and county offices took advertisements out in the paper in order to help their campaign, including hopeful females. One candidate for coroner begged voters to "keep commercialism out of county government." The primary election was on the slate for August 30 and a "Candidates' Night," sponsored by the Hayward Democratic Club, was to be held at Markham School. Candidates were slated to speak, including future governor Culbert Olsen, J.F.T. O'Connor, John Dockwiller, and Daniel Murphy. Olsen would serve as California Governor from 1939 through 1943.

In social news, the women's page was dotted with all sorts of engagements, marriages, and birth announcements. A particularly interesting story is that of Pauline Holm, 18, of Hayward and Jesse Price Jones, Jr., 21, of Long Beach who were wed in an impromptu ceremony in the back seat of Jones' vehicle. Jones and Holm were supposed to have been married at the home of Reverend J.H. McCartney of San Leandro, but were told that the ceremony had to be held across the bay since their marriage license had been issued in San Francisco County. Jones had the minister load up in his car and they were off across the Bay Bridge. Then on a quiet street, with the minister and Holm's mother in the front seat and the couple in back, they were wed. The groom was a sailor on the USS Virginia and had to return to his post. Their honeymoon had to wait until he was granted his month's leave of absence.

Announcements of births included that of Judith Margaret Harder, granddaughter to Judge Jacob Harder. Her birth was celebrated by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Donald Harder, two sets of great-grandparents and two sets of grandparents. She was born on August 1 at Hayward Hospital.

In the classifieds, City Motor Sales Company of Castro Street advertised used cars. Up for sale was a clean 1935 Dodge Coupe in good mechanical condition and a new coat of paint for $447. You could also get a very clean 1934 Studebaker Rumble Seat Coupe for an affordable $315. Can you imagine buying a car for only a few hundred dollars?

And finally, Dr. Frank McCoy, a health authority and drugless physician in Oakland, wrote an article on the benefits of cucumbers for health. He said that people should not be afraid of the vegetable since its gaseous effects were a result of serving it with vinegar and onions. This upset many tummies because of the acidic vinegar and gas producing onions. Cucumbers only had 5% of nourishment value, but included many necessary minerals. Dr. McCoy recommended using cucumbers as much as possible when in season, especially in salads. Good advice even by today's standards!



Marcess Owings is a curatorial assistant at the Hayward Area Historical Society. To learn more about Hayward's diverse history, visit the downtown museum at 22701 Main St. in Hayward. For more information on current exhibits and programs, visit their web site at www.haywardareahistory.org.

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