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And Now You Know: 100 years ago, surplus ships, escape proof fence and more headlined in the paper

Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

The Orange Daily Leader edition, July 12, 1921, contained a wealth of local information. One of the biggest stories was what to do with the surplus ships that had been built in Orange during World War I.

The United States Shipping Board had announced its intention to dispose of all its ships in storage at the Gulf Ports of Orange, Beaumont, Galveston, and New Orleans. At Orange, there were 29 ships docked at the Emergency Fleet Shipyard. Reports stated the ships must be sold, put into trading service, or sunk by October.

Reports from those in charge of the ships in Orange were all vessels, with the exception of one, could be put into service within four days. The report which came from an authentic source was contradictory to “street gossip” which said the vessels would probably be dismantled, towed out into the Gulf, and sunk because the planking was so badly rotted that all the planking would need to be replaced. The rumor was said to be untrue, the ships were all in practically good condition. The 29 ships in Orange were of the latest type and all were equipped with new machinery. Vessels tied up at other ports such as Beaumont were no more than hulls. (It is common knowledge that about half the ships at Orange were towed to the area near the mouth of Conway’s Bayou and sunk).

A contract to build a non-climbable fence around the county jail was given to the Sabine Supply Company at the last county commissioner’s court meeting. The fence was to be built 84 inches high of heavy wire netting stretched between “substantial posts.” The top was to be s with barbed wire barricade. The purpose of the fence was to stop escapes from the county jail.

There had been two recent instances of escapes because persons on the outside had smuggled into the jail tools for the purpose of breaking out of the jail.

Work on the Beaumont Road, scheduled to have been finished a week earlier had been delayed due to heavy rains. It was believed because of the rains, it would be another week before the excavations for paving on Fifth Street could begin, according to W.D. Warfield, president of the Houston Construction Company. The contractors had hoped to have already begun work on the street. However, their contract allowed them 30 days after August 1 to complete the project.

When asked about the paving, Warfield said he was doing the paving of Fifth Street and possibly a few other blocks to initiate paving in Orange as an advertisement for the most part.

“In my figures on this paving, I did not get anything for deprecation of my machinery, and the cost of moving it, much less profit. We may can arrange for paving of Green Avenue at a cost figure that would include deprecation of my machinery at a fair rate.”

The schooners Alpena and Dun and Anderson Brothers were due to clear port and sail Wednesday July 13, according to shipping headquarters. The vessels had completed loading and were ready to sail to Tampico and Vera Cruz.

The steamship S.S. Lackawana Bridge did not arrive in Orange on July 11 as scheduled, it was announced it was delayed until July 27 according to a message received by Tippin and Boyd, ship brokers of Orange. The message did not give a reason for the delay.

It was reported that if butter was spread on thin slices of white bread and topped with whipped cream sweetened with chopped nuts and chopped candied cherries, sliced into triangles, and topped with a piece of cherry, the result would be a “delicious picnic sandwich.”

“And now you know.”