A Look Back in Time: Dogs Terrorize Helpless Centralia Residents in 1952; Police Powerless to Help Without Poundmaster

Compiled by Matthew Zylstra / matthew@chronline.com

“Dogs still were dogs in Centralia Wednesday,” The Chronicle reported on Thursday, June 25, 1952, adding the canines were menacing “vegetable and flower beds,” much to the anger of Centralia residents.

Police were called on the morning of Wednesday, June 24, after a Centralia resident became upset over dogs going through their garden. Police told the residents they were unable to take action on the dogs as the Twin Cities were still without a “poundmaster.”

Centralia Police Chief Otto Rucker had been authorized by the Centralia City Commission, which decades later would become the Centralia City Council, on June 23 to hire a poundmaster. Rucker told The Chronicle he expected to hire someone for the position soon.

The Centralia Police Department said its most common dog-related complaint was dogs going through gardens, with tipping over garbage cans as their second most common.

One police officer told The Chronicle another reason for the complaints was “some just don’t like dogs.”

Records at Centralia City Hall showed an increase in the number of dogs being licensed from the previous year, though still “far below” the number licensed in 1950 and “way, way under” the estimated 1,500 dogs the Humane Society had estimated lived in Centralia in 1949.

The licensing program appears to have involved tags worn by dogs that were replaced each year. According to The Chronicle, 302 dogs had been licensed in 1952, 10 more than in 1951. In 1950, 548 dogs were licensed with the city.

June 25, 1932

• Kenneth Scheuber and Harold Chapman, described by The Chronicle as “Chehalis youths,” were brought before Judge WA Reynolds on the morning of June 25, 1932, on charges of second-degree burglary, petit larceny and grand larceny. The “two boys” were accused of stealing “articles” from residences in Chehalis.

• Barreling operations were suspended on the night of June 25 at the Ground Mound Fruit Growers Association plant. The plant was barreling strawberries that were sent to Seattle for cold storage. A workforce of 75 to 85 employees worked at the plant.

• The Consolidated Mercury Mining Company resumed its operations on June 22. According to the unnamed mine foreman, the mine was set to operate for at least seven months. The reopening of the mine was expected to provide employment for “a considerable number of men” who had been unemployed.

• A shingle company resumed operations at a mill in Tenino, providing 20 men with employment. The mill would have a daily output of 75,000 shingles. The mill’s owner, WS Tucker, said the mill would continue operations at least through winter.

• Winlock was set to see two of its residents attending the summer’s 1932 Democratic and Republican national conventions. Both parties’ national conventions were held in Chicago in 1932. WW Webb attended the Republican National Convention where the party renominated incumbent President Herbert Hoover for the November election. CC Wall attended the Democratic National Convention where the Democrats nominated New York governor, and eventual winner, Franklin Roosevelt. The Chronicle reported Wall received a “more enthusiastic” sendoff to Chicago than Webb had two weeks prior. Wall was also presented with a live mule, representing the Democratic Party’s symbol of a donkey, while a local band played the song “The Sidewalks of New York,” in recognition of Roosevelt’s position as governor of New York.

• The Washington state National Guard was set to be reviewed on the afternoon of June 26. Thousands of people were expected to attend the review and witness “the citizen soldiers at their shining best.” The guardsmen planned on engaging in “all kinds of athletic events” to determine the champions of Camp Hoffman.

• A Centralia child drowned in Angle Lake between Seattle and Tacoma on the afternoon of June 24. The lake was reported as being located on “the Tacoma highway” and is today located between US Highway 99 and Interstate 5 near SeaTac Airport. The parents, “Mr. and Mrs. Earle W. Foster,” were reported as having the sympathy of “the entire community” over the loss of their son, Earl Jr., 2. Earl Jr.’s death occurred after “Mrs. Foster” brought her two children, Earl Jr. and his older sister Shirley, 7, to visit her relatives in Seattle. The family was having a picnic beside the lake when Earl Jr. was playing close to the bank. Efforts by Billy Lind, a Boy Scout; Dr. Percy Scott, a nearby resident; State Trooper Cliff Tolman and the Seattle Fire Department managed to briefly revive Earl Jr., who spoke before lapsing back into unconsciousness. “Continued efforts to restore life were fruitless,” The Chronicle reported. Earle W. Foster worked as the advertising manager of The Chronicle at the time and chartered a plane from the Chehalis Airport to fly to the scene after being notified.

June 25, 1942

• The Kiwanis Club gathered on June 24, 1942, to hear Florence Monaghan, the superintendent of the state school for girls in Grand Mound, discuss the operations and purpose of her school. Monaghan told the club her school was the last step “after all other methods of correction have failed.” According to The Chronicle’s reporting, Monaghan said the school’s program consisted “mainly of recreation, religion, general education, home economics and business college work.”

• Elmer James White, a former resident of Centralia, was among the 60 Washington state men listed on a June 25, 1942, government casualty report. White was listed as missing in action (MIA). Also on the list was Paul Balletti, who had previously been reported by The Chronicle as MIA after his brother received notification the previous month.

• Chehalis residents purchased $22,664.70 in war bonds the week prior to June 25, Chehalis War Bond Committee chair George Thompson announced. Thompson told The Chronicle Chehalis had purchased $573,429.05 of war bonds since the Pearl Harbor attack just over six months prior.

• The Lewis County Republicans and Democrats were expected to host their county conventions on Saturday, June 27, 1942. The conventions were to be held at the county courthouse. The Republicans planned to elect 36 delegates to a 3rd Congressional District convention to also be held in Chehalis on July 11. Congressional district conventions were being held in place of a state convention that year by the suggestion of “federal authorities,” The Chronicle reported, possibly due to issues related to the ongoing war. Meanwhile, Democrats were planning to elect delegates to their still planned state convention in Bellingham, also on July 11.

• Hanen Storie, a Longview man, was fined $15 “and costs” by Judge William F. Bartz on June 24 in Chehalis after being found guilty of third-degree assault. Storie’s charges stem from “having plunged a knife into the hip of Ander P. Lewis, a carnival worker and friend of Storie’s,” The Chronicle reported. The stabbing took place in Toledo on the previous Sunday after “an all-night celebration by the two men.”

• The Chronicle featured an advertisement for a housework position. The employer requested a girl and offered payment of $1 per day.

• A “modern 5-room house” on 5 acres of land was listed for sale in The Chronicle at the price of $1,500. The house featured Venetian blinds and an electric water system.

June 25, 1952

• Lewis County Commissioner Hubert Anderson said on June 24 thousands of acres of farmland in East Lewis County were in danger of flooding by the Cowlitz River. Anderson believed about 5,000 acres of farmland near Randle were in danger of flooding should the Cowlitz River break through a dam that was built by the Army Corps of Engineers nearly 20 years prior. The estimated cost of reinforcing the dam was believed to be around $3,000 to $5,000. The county was considering the reinforcement if local property owners were willing to contribute to the financing.

• Two Chehalis men were reported by The Chronicle as having experienced fish and mosquitoes that were “biting good” at a “hidden lake” located near the White Pass Highway. The two men, Ted Caillier and John Brunswig, had hiked 2 miles through the woods from where they had parked their car to get to the lake. In less than one hour, Caillier managed to hook 12 trout and Brunswig 10. However, the two fishermen “did not count their mosquito bites.”

• George M. Francis was named Lewis County’s 1952 “Cattleman of the Year.” Francis, a rancher near Randle, was given the award by the Lewis County Livestock Association at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds. As county winner, Francis became a candidate for the title of statewide top cattleman. Francis, who was born and raised on a Montana cattle ranch, had been a cattle rancher in Lewis County since 1943 and had 150 cattle.

• Westminster Presbyterian Church in Chehalis hosted the annual mother-daughter banquet on the evening of June 22, 1952. About 70 mothers and daughters attended. The Westernians ran the event, which included a summer Christmas tree, decorated by “Mrs. Tom Hendricks and Mrs. Price Barber,” and gifts for the children. According to The Chronicle’s reporting, “Mrs. Fred Nyland acted as mistress of ceremonies and Mrs. George Bishop had charge of the program.” A mother’s address was given by “Mrs. John W. Alexander.”

• The Lewis County Republican Women’s Club met for their June session with Dorothy Swanson, head of the Thurston County Young Republicans, as their keynote speaker. Swanson had recently returned from a trip to Europe where she “was struck by the way socialism and government ownership has handicapped all supposedly progressive European countries by stopping all individual effort,” The Chronicle reported.

• Two motorists pleaded guilty in Chehalis on drunk driving charges. Judge William F. Bartz gave Roscoe VanMeter of Randle a $75 fine and Martin Svarverud of Salem a $65 fine. Bartz also suspended the drivers licenses of both men for one year.

• A three-bedroom house on four lots in Centralia was listed for $4,500. A second three-bedroom Centralia house with a fireplace and insulation was listed for $6,700.


A Look Back in Time is published in each Saturday edition of The Chronicle.

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