Listening to: Carry On Wayward Son
Thought for the day: Every mile is two in winter. ~George Herbert
While walking Pearl in the very cold and premature dark December afternoon, my mind wandered to 1918. With Christmas lights still illuminating my way, it was a bit difficult to imagine December, 1918 in Old Hickory Village. WWI was over and the people working at the gun powder plant knew their time in the village was coming to an end. I decided to pull out Lou Cretia Owen’s diary to see what her life was like in December, 1918. Lou Cretia was a member of the Women’s Work Department. This is one of the pages from her diary. The photo is of a street sweeper from the transportation department she speaks about in her words. I didn’t edit her words. I’ve retyped them exactly as she typed them (some of it doesn’t make sense).
December 14, 1918
Am trying to visit each department before the plant closes. My time is limited. Only get to meet the department heads when have to go them for some information or for some business connected with some of the girls.
Went to the transportation department to see about getting a new buggy. My horse ran away yesterday and all but wrecked my buggy. I needed a new one and just said that believed would have to have my old wrecked before could get it. When started away from Livingston Street hospital, my horse started just as I reached the buggy and before could get in. He was always gentle and I never hitch him. The faster I walked, the faster he went, when I ran, he galloped. We had a real race which ended with him caught in a fence. A policeman came and took him away.
I found the transportation department a busy place. When the plant was the busiest, it required 525 teams, 135 trucks and 2661 saddle horses to be distributed over the plant.
In addition to distributing the teams, trucks, etc, the department sprinkles, sweeps and cleans the concrete road that runs into the plant. The department averaged unloading from 300 to 400 cars per day.
Placed a girl, released from the O.D. department today in the village commissary to clerk. The manager said that the preceding week they sold $4,300 worth of groceries, $85 cigars and candies in addition to other products. There are six distributing places here.
Photo: Hagley Museum