news stories & adverts from one hundred years ago

Updated: Apr 12

From The Indianapolis Star, Thursday, February 17, 1921: For the first time in the legal history of Indianapolis, and possibly the United States, a jury of twelve black women sat in a jury box yesterday hearing evidence in a damage suit brought by a black citizen. In the case before Justice of the Peace T. Ernest Maholm, Daniel Holt sought damages from Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Fife, alleging his coal wagon was rammed in the rear by the Fife automobile in “the gloom of the winter evening” while he was unloading coal. In the resulting chaos, coal was scattered, the wagon wrecked, and the horse “jammed up against a tree.” After hearing the testimony from both sides, the jurors deliberated for twelve minutes before deciding “the whole affair was an accident” and Holt was not entitled to any damages.


“12 Negro Women Sit in Jury Box in Damage Suit,” The Indianapolis Star, 17 February 1921, p. 11:2

From The Indianapolis Star, Sunday, February 6, 1921: The new home of the Indianapolis Athletic Club will be built at the southwest corner of Vermont and Meridian Streets pursuant to a decision made yesterday by the club’s board of directors. Currently, the Fahnley Home occupies the site. With its façade of Indiana limestone and ornamental carvings of fruits and flowers suggesting very strongly the Italian palace style and interior of white walnut, the house is one of the two or three most imposing residential structures in Indiana. Eighty-two year old Frederick Fahnley, the present owner, said, “We all have to give way gracefully to the city’s progress…The athletic club typifies the new spirit of Indianapolis and I am glad to have my old home site identified in this way.” Construction of the clubhouse is expected to begin in early summer.

“Site for New Athletic Club Home Chosen,” The Indianapolis Star, 6 February 1921, p. 1:1

From The Indianapolis Star, Wednesday, February 2, 1921: A cold “sky blanket of darkness” draped over Indianapolis for most of yesterday. The mysterious phenomenon, created by minute moist particles of soft coal soot suspended in the light air and deepened by fog, required the city’s businesses to use artificial light and automobiles were seen with headlights burning through the “smoke screen.” John Armington, local meteorologist of the United States Weather Bureau, said, “The air yesterday was darkened by floating particles of soot from the smoke of soft coal furnaces of the city and the light air failing to carry off the saturated soot. Such a condition is liable to occur in any city as large as Indianapolis, and it does not indicate the coming of any heavy storm. It is the worst case of sky gloom I have ever seen.”


“Light Air, Soot and Fig Cause ‘Sky Darkness,'” The Indianapolis Star, 2 February 1921, p. 5:5

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