Ads in the 1900s are educational, informative

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

By Mike Louviere

The Orange Leader

By the early 1900s, Orange had grown from a settlement on the banks of the Sabine River to a town with brick and mortar buildings and streets, mostly dirt, but shell paving was beginning. Even the newspaper had undergone some changes; the name was now the Daily Leader. Advertising in the paper was taking a new tone. Businesses were going to great detail to let the citizenry know about the services and new opportunities that were now available in Orange.

One informative notice was written about the barbershops: “Barber shops agree to close a half hour earlier. Beginning yesterday, the tonsorial artists of the city will have half hour earlier closing every night of the week with the exception of Saturday night when the closing hour will be 11:30. This movement of the barbers follows close in line with that of the merchants and the extra half hour’s cessation of labor will be of much benefit to them.

Those agreed to close at the above hours are Messrs. H.L Glende, W.P Sexton, P.H. Saxon, and L.B. Adams.”

Orange National Bank was promoting the benefits of a bank account by advertising; “Deposit what you like, when you like. But deposit your money here. It is possible you never felt the necessity of having a bank account. It is probable you could drift along for years without one. But if you expect to forge to the forefront in this life in a financial way, it is essential that you have a bank account. We give you a personal invitation to make this bank your depository—whether you have a small sum or a large one to lay aside for safe keeping.”

Modernization of the Gate City Confectionary was announced: “The soda fountain of the Gate City Confectionary has been taken apart and today is being moved to the Gate City Drug Store where it will be installed.

Manager Rucker of the Gate City Confectionary has purchased a new hygiene fountain that will replace the one sold to the Gate City Drug Store.”

With the moves from outhouses and bathing in washtubs, indoor plumbing was coming into Orange and the Orange Plumbing Company was now installing bathtubs.

“What is a home without a bathtub? The bathroom, its conveniences and accessories furnish economical health insurance. Good physicians recommend it and we recommend and install the same according to up-to-date sanitary requirements.”

The Gate City Drug Store advertised that you could “Step up to the telephone and ring us your wants. We carry a full line of patent medicines, toilet articles, etc. Prescriptions carefully filled day or night. Prices always reasonable. Have your doctor leave your prescription with us. No trouble for us to deliver. We are at your service.

This week we are giving away to each customer a beautiful picture as an Easter souvenir. Give us a call and get one. Anything you need that we do not carry in stock, we will be glad to get for you.”

In March 1908, it was reported that “J. Oliver Hogg, architect of the Lutcher Memorial Presbyterian Church was a morning arrival in Orange from Kansas City to witness the progress of construction on the building.” (The church was not completed until 1912.)

Publisher and editor of the Leader, A. F. Burns, had the following to say about Fourth Street: “No, gentle reader, we are not proud of Fourth Street, even if we do live on the thoroughfare. Its present condition would be a disgrace to a pine village, but we are assured that it will be included in the scheme of improvements now being mapped out and soon we will not be ashamed for a visitor to drive over that part of the city.”

Perhaps the most intriguing offer ever made by the Daily Leader was the following from May 11, 1908: “If you want to spend a week or two at Galveston, at Placios, at Corpus Christi, at High Island, at Mineral Wells, Marlin or any other summer resort in Texas, you can do so without any expense. The Leader will pay your expenses. If you are interested, contact the Leader Vacation Manager and learn what is necessary to be done.”

Living in today’s world, it is hard to imagine a time when bathtubs and bank accounts were new innovations in personal living. One has to wonder what an all expense paid vacation at the summer resort of High Island would have been like. Citizens of Orange must have been in awe of all that was becoming available to them in “The Gate City”, as Orange was called in those days.

“And now you know”