Beginning of 1896 saw change on the way

1896 proved to be one of the pivotal years in American history with the presidential election of that year pitting old, rural, agricultural America against young urban America.

The impact of the election results and other changes would soon be seen. Probably to many people, the slow revival of the nation’s economy harkened a better day coming, which would eventually impact isolated Durango. Most Durangoans, however, must have noted some improvement in the local economy by February of that year.

There was also change coming that may have interested some folks, the Cuban revolt against Spain. Americans generally sided with the underdogs as they fought to gain their independence.

The Feb. 20, 1896, The Durango Herald featured that struggle with front page headlines – all in capital letters – with a long article following.

“RELIEF FOR THE CUBANS IN THE LAST TEN DAYS A STEAMER WITH LARGE QUANTITIES OF MUNITIONS SENT TO THE INSURGENTENTS.”

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Within two years the United States would go to war with Spain and within a few months gain a victory. It was also America’s “coming out party,” so to speak as a world colonial power. With that out of the way, the readers turned their attention to more local news and especially particularly Valentine’s Day.

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The Post Office distributed 3,000 valentines Thursday night, and nearly as many more were dropped yesterday. Some individuals received as many as thirty or forty and there was a string of children in constant waiting at the delivery window for a greater part of the day. Fortunately for the Post Office employees St. Valentine’s day comes but once a year.

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The evangelical service at the Methodist church continues to attract many to hear Mrs. Livingston and good work is being accomplished. Mrs. Livingston is a fluent exhorter and a number of her hearers respond to the elegance of her appeals by professing religion and keeling at the throne of Grace nightly.

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Levi Straus & Co. Copper Riveted Clothing. THE PRODUCT OF WHITE LABOR.

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Battle Plug. The largest piece of good tobacco ever sold for 10 cents. The five cent piece is nearly as large as you get of other high grades for 10 cents.

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Passers by are attracted by the two panels of oil displayed at the window of the San Juan Drug store. They are the work of Miss Della Stellmister and are companion pieces presenting deer. They are to be raffled and chances are $1 each. Secure one before all are gone.

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The two women who were arrested Monday night, charged with running a bawdy house, were arranged before Judge Hechtman yesterday morning and each fined $10 and cost.

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M. W. S. McNeal is renovating the Palace Hotel in anticipation of the spring revival of business.

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A report of the state coal mine inspector for 1895 found the five local mines with ventilation problems. Only the Hesperus Mine received a “fairly good” rating, the rest came under the “not very good” category.

Duane Smith is a Fort Lewis College history professor. Reach him at 247-2589.

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