The News-Times was recently given a gem that is currently housed in my office (although it makes me nervous to have custody).
It is a large, yellowed special newspaper section from the York Daily News-Times, dated Friday, July 10, 1970, celebrating the Greater York Area Centennial.
The section is large – and in its pages are stories upon stories collected over the first 100 years of this community about big happenings, milestones and sometimes just interesting facts.
This community, like all others, has had its share of public disagreements, philosophical and political debates, bond issue denials and approvals. And they are all chronicled in the pages of the local newspaper.
In my time at the York News-Times, I’ve covered controversies over spending, fluoride, sidewalk installation, politically charged parades, recalls, pipelines, creation of recreational facilities, and on and on.
In this 1970 section, celebrating York’s 100th birthday, newspaper writers included snippets regarding “hot topics” that really had this community talking and taking action over the course of the town’s first 100 years.
One of those interesting stories is on an inside page – about a very controversial time in the York community which apparently was quite serious to those involved back in 1921.
I just had to share what the writers said about this incredible time in history . . . and what York residents were apparently torn over.
OK – here’s the story from 1921, about the turmoil swirling over movies and baseball games on Sunday:
It takes a lot of selling to convince York voters.
That has been demonstrated down through the years when a variety of proposals were turned down the first and sometimes the second time they were submitted to the electorate.
But in the area of Sunday amusement – like baseball and movies – the resistance to change was not only strong, it was enduring.
Back in 1921, for example, it was more of a sin to see a motion picture on Sunday than it was to play baseball.
On April 5 that year, the twin issue was submitted to the York voters – an action the joint sponsors later admitted was an error.
Sunday baseball was turned down by a 1,388 vote to 819, but the majority against Sunday shows (movies) was even greater – 1,499 against compared to 640 for.
Sunday shows, however, won endorsement of the York voters before Sunday baseball.
Sunday shows were first approved July 16, 1929, at a special election by a vote of 1,353 to 1,185.
Two years later, on April 7, 1931, opponents of Sunday shows succeeded in having the issue resubmitted to the voters. On that particular occasion, voters rejected a proposed ordinance which would have banned Sunday movies. The vote was 1,676 to 1,093 and Sunday shows were here to stay.
It wasn’t until April 1, 1935, that Sunday baseball won the blessing of the populace. The vote was 1,093 to 945.
Back in the late 1920s, then York was a member of the Nebraska State Baseball League, its Sunday games had to be moved out of York County. Most of the Sunday home games were then played at Fairmont.
Who knew movies and playing baseball on Sundays riveted the populace and drove York voters to the polls for special elections so many times in just a few years? I guess I marvel at it all, because it just shows how times have changed. Boy, have times changed.