The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 30, 2020 1:00 am

Making the news 50 years ago

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

We're headed back to 1970 with photos and story excerpts to give a snapshot of this same week in the area, 50 years ago.

After successful protests a week earlier had convinced St. Joseph and Parkview hospitals to rethink policies on paid parking, the Council for Civic Action announced July 27 it would next set its sights on increased employment of Blacks in the city's police and fire departments.

“In order to get more people employed, we must find out why Black employment is so low,” said the Rev. Jesse White, according to a story by Larry Riley in The Journal-Gazette (our name was hyphenated at the time). White said the organization's first step would be to form a committee to investigate current employment levels.

At its July 28 meeting, the City Council passed the so-called “Tombstone Ordinance,” aimed at drive-in theaters showing X-rated movies. The ordinance said that the performances “may not be seen or heard by persons who have not paid admission in places open to the public more than 500 feet outside of the premises controlled by the proprietor of the theater,” according to a story by Sandy Thorn the next day.

The ordinance came about, at least in part, because people under the age of 18 would reportedly gather in a nearby cemetery and watch the screen of the Fort Wayne Drive-In on Bluffton Road.

It was estimated that fences at least 100 feet tall might be required to comply with the new rule, which drew laughs from some members of the council. At least one member was skeptical about enforcement of the ordinance, which he expected to draw lawsuits from theater owners.

Elsewhere in the world of cinema, films playing in the city included the first full-length “Peanuts” movie, “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” at Embassy Theatre; “Two Mules for Sister Sara” starring Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine at the Clyde; and “Hello Dolly” with Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau at the Jefferson Theatre, a movie house at 116 W. Jefferson Blvd. that would be closed by the end of the 1970s.

A July 30 story from Dell Ford took readers inside the Library Services operation at Community Schools, which was preparing tens of thousands of new books for library shelves at 30 schools including Wayne and Northrop high schools and Blackhawk and Miami junior highs, which were not slated to open for more than a year.

Those stories and several others from the final week of July 1970 can be found at, along with more photos.

History Journal appears monthly in print with additional items weekly on The Journal Gazette's website. To comment on items or suggest dates and topics, contact Corey McMaken at 461-8475 or



“Woman Taxi Driver Enjoys Job – 'It's Fun',” by Ruth Holladay (July 27, 1970)

People on the street stop to ask her directions, she wears blue jeans on the job and so far she hasn't had to deliver a baby in the back seat of her car. What is she? A lady taxi cab driver, of course.

Mary C. Peppler, 29-years-old, has been driving a cab part-time for the past four years. About the first of last May, she quit her job at General Electric Co. where she was a factory instructor to work full-time for Fort Wayne's only taxi company, owned by H. B. Schultz. She's glad she did it.

She works from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week and she has one hour off for lunch. In the winter, she says she “nearly freezes” when someone steps inside the cab, and in the summer she keeps a wary eye on the thousands of youthful bicycle riders.

She was almost robed once, three years ago on New Year's Day, but she “stood on the gas pedal” as the would-be thieves were approaching her, switchblades in hand, and she got away. Why does she do it?

“There's a game to taxi driving,” Mary says. “There's never any limit to the amount of money you'll make in a single day.”

Her boss, Ron Schultz, executive vice president and son of the owner, says that a good driver can make $110 a week, plus tips.

“That's if he's a full time, experienced driver, and there aren't many of those. He knows where to go to find riders, he keeps his cab clean and he's courteous. A lot of drivers,” he says, “won't make that much, but a good one will.”

“If you drive it honest, you can make enough,” Mary says. She says she does much better in the winter because people are loathe to wait out-of-doors for buses. “On a year-round basis, I make about what I did at G.E.”

But, she says, there are other advantages. She likes working with the public, driving and being out side. Factory work, she claims, demands being “cooped-up” too much. She's also worked as a hairdresser, but had to give that up when she developed an allergy to one of the beautician's permanent wave formulas.

“With a cab, it's interesting every day. There are no two days alike. Some days, like when there's a convention in town, I'll make good tips and have a lot of laughs too.” When the American Legionnaires were here recently, Mary kept an old fishing hat on the front seat; by the end of Saturday, it was stuffed with bills and change.

Mary also enjoys the range of her clientele and especially prefers passengers riding to and from the airport. “Out there, I may pick up a minister or a businessman – anyone. And I'm the type who likes to pick their minds clean.”

One of her favorite customers, she says, is Frank Roberts, editor of The Journal-Gazette, a man who rides to and from work daily in a cab.

“We've talked about everything – bottle collecting, the world situation, the Depression, politics. He's a real regular customer and one of the favorites with me,” she says.

But Mary also makes a lot of casual acquaintances driving; it is not unusual to have several drives a day holler out of their windows. “Hey, which way is Wayne Street? or “Where's the Better Business Bureau?” Once, she says, she even drew a map for a man.

Do male passengers give her a rough time? “They don't make cracks about women in this city. A lot of times, they'll even ask for a woman. i think women are normally more talkative.”

Schultz, who employs about 200 drivers, 25 of which are women, says there's no particular public reaction to women drivers. The company began hiring them during World War II and would like to have more of them. In fact, he has plans of eventually establishing a day care center for children of working mothers.

For Mary Peppler, life as a taxi driver has been an experience – and she's learned things. “I have a lot of regular customers who really open up with me,” she says. “I didn't have a cold all winter for the first time in years – I guess I got used to the weather. And I know that North Clinton Street is one of the three most heavily traveled streets in the state.”

Is it true taxi drivers are explosive and temperamental? “I've learned,” Mary says with a smile,” not to be short tempered. You need a lot of patience to drive a cab.”


“PTC Revenue Climbs; Federal Aid Delayed” (July 28, 1970)

Revenue for the Fort Wayne Public Transportation Corp. for the first six months of 1970 is $30,000 ahead of the comparable period in 1969, according to Donald R. Parrish, board chairman.

The recent 10-cent fair hike also is reflected in the revenue report, which concluded July 18.

Parrish told the board at yesterday's regular meeting that fare-box revenues for a five-week period totaled $66,437.30. Income from charter services increased the revenue to $76,382.85, which Parrish noted was “considerably higher than last year.”

In other financial matters, board attorney Ramon S. Perry said the city's comprehensive traffic plan is still not far enough along to qualify the PTC for federal funding to cover two-thirds of the expenses incurred when the corporation took over the transit operation. Earlier, the PTC was awarded a grant for one-half the expenses.

According to Perry, City Plan Director Bill Jones said Fort Wayne “will have no real problem qualifying.” It was estimated that it will be early 1971 before the plan is far enough along to qualify.

Perry said he had been in contact with HUD offices in Washington in regard to local applications for federal assistance in purchasing fare boxes and a bus washer. he said he learned there are no funds this year, but was told that “beginning with the new fiscal year, there is no reason why Fort Wayne shouldn't get favorable action.”

Complaints from Harold Beeching, president of Local 682 Amalgamated Transit Union, and Claude S. Howard, a senior citizen, renewed continued friction and problems.

In a letter to the board, Beeching expressed his dissatisfaction over the hiring of part-time employees int eh show and the unauthorized use of PTC equipment by non-union supervisory personnel.

They were the same objections which Beeching had made at the June 23 meeting. In the letter, the union president said there “is no excuse for this provocation.” At one time, Beeching was highly critical of Parrish for driving one of the PTC buses. “Anytime there is a bus on the streets, I want a member of Local 682 to drive that bus,” Beeching said. Yesterday he reiterated that desire.

“It's been corrected,” commented Parrish, who directed board secretary Richard N. Allen to send a formal answer to Beechings letter. The contents of the board's letter were not revealed, although they apparently were reaching in executive session following the open meeting.

Late in the meeting, when Parrish asked for comments, Beeching said, “As a union, we're entitled to an answer to our letter.”

“You'll get one,” replied Parrish.

“I think we should know them now, said Beeching.

“Harold, let's drop it. We're going to answer it (the letter),” remarked board member James Kelley, who halted the union president's comments.

Beeching then asked about a special, low fare for senior citizens, a proposal he has been promoting for several months. Parrish said PTC action was being delayed to see what the U.S. Department of Transportation might do on a nationwide basis.


“More Police, Fire Jobs For Blacks Newest Goal,” by Larry Riley (July 28, 1970)

The Rev. Jesse White, speaking last night at a mass meeting in St. John's Baptist Church, announced the next goal of the Council for Civic Action would call for increased employment of blacks, hopefully in the city police and fire departments.

The Rev. Mr. White also congratulated members of the council for their effective protests last week against paid parking at St. Joseph's and Parkview Memorial hospitals.

“An investigative committee,” he explained, “will soon be formed from the steering committee to look into employment in various areas.”

“In order to get more people employed, we must find out why black employment is so low” in the two city departments.

The investigative committee would work with the Board of Safety, he indicated, to discover if the case is there aren't enough black persons applying for police and fire positions.

If this were not the case, he observed, possibly the application tests were not geared toward blacks.

After preliminary findings are reported back from the committee, the Rev. Mr. White said, “We must then move forward.”

Although a small crowd of fewer than 80 persons attended last night, future mass meetings were scheduled on a more formal basis for at least once a month.

In “recognizing the dedication” of hospital pickets last week, the Rev. Mr. White said, “It was a determined group – that kept on pushing, kept on going, kept on endeavoring to win – and the walls gradually crumbled.”

Both Parkview and St. Joseph's have since announced or reiterated a parking policy which permits anyone who claims the fee requirement would pose an undue financial hardship to park without paying a fee.

Council members were also told there are plans to establish similar councils in other cities in Indiana to coordinate statewide goals, especially in the area of increased employment.

Earlier yesterday afternoon, a press conference was held to air accusations reportedly made against the council during last week's picketing.


“Fred Weseloh to Retire As Store Owner,” by Bayne Morley (July 29, 1970)

After 48 years of opening his drug store at 9 a.m. six days a week and closing it at 8 p.m., Fred Weseloh is selling the store to Miles Davis, owner-operator of Block's Drig Store and the Clyde Pharmacy.

The Weseloh Drug Store at Calhoun and Creighton streets has been owned and operated by Fred Weseloh since May 1, 1922. The store, formerly owned by Charles Schwartz, is 63 years old.

Hale and hearty at 75, Weseloh is not exactly retiring. He will work part time as a pharmacist, mostly at Block's Drug Store.

A 33-year member of Orchard Ridge Country Club, Weseloh continues to play gold every Wednesday when the store is closed. The club awarded him a gold card in 1967 giving him lifetime membership without charge. He was hesitant to discuss his golf score although he admits he has to fight hard to break 100. Weseloh's other hobby is bowling.

A daughter, Mrs. Bessie Wiegman, virtually grew up in the store and has worked there for more years than she cares to admit. Mrs. Wiegman and her father are proud of her son, David, and his only grandson, who will get a Ph.D. degree from Indiana University next June. Mrs. Weseloh died in December 1968.

Another thing Weseloh is proud of is his many longtime prescription customers. He says there are still many of the original customers for whom he filled prescriptions 48 years ago. The third generation of some longtime customer families now patronize the store.

Asked if he enjoyed the business, Weseloh retorted, “I wouldn't have been in this business all these years if I hadn't.”


“Fences At Drive-Ins Required,” by Sandy Thorn (July 29, 1970)

The so-called “Tombstone Ordinance,” aimed at drive-in theaters whose X-rated movies are viewable by youngsters not old enough to pay admission, was passed unanimously last night by City Council after several witty remarks, snickering, snide asides, chuckles and, at times, hearty laughter.

“It's a shame,” noted Councilman-at-large Jack Dunifon, chairman of the council's regulations committee, as he recommended the bill's passage. “It's utterly ridiculous that there's no way other than a 100-foot fence.”

Dunifon was referring to what has been estimated as the possible height of a fence which would have to be built to precent the viewing of an open air theater screen by outsiders.

According to the ordinance, the performance may not be seen or heard by persons who have not paid admission in places open to the public more than 500 feet outside of the premises controlled by the proprietor of the theater.

Theater operators violating the ordinance are subject to a $300 fine for each violation, which each day of illegal operation constituting a separate offense.

Dunifon, however, expressed doubt about the enforcement of the ordinance saying, “This is an area in which the prosecuting attorney has no say. These theater operators have a great deal of money and I feel they will be prepared to fight this. They will probably hire attorneys and keep this in the courts.”

During one of the few serious moments regarding the ordinance, Councilman-at-large Edwin Rousseau said, “There seems to be nothing that we can do as city councilmen to provide relief for people in that neighborhood, other than what is here.”

“That” neighborhood apparently referred to the residents near the Fort Wayne Drive-In on Bluffton Road who had urged such action because of youngsters under 18 years of age who watched the theater screen from a nearby cemetery.

In the committee session which preceded the formal council session, there were several light responses to the bill.

When Dunifon referred to the 100-foot fence, Third District Councilman Thomas Adams grinned, then inquired, “Is there any 100-foot fence where we could see it?” There were chuckles and he added, “I mean, that would be a fence worth seeing!”

“I can see where these fences might be a plus for the theater operators,” Adams noted. “People will pay extra admission just to see the fence!”

“Yeah,” replied Rousseau, “It will be great. next year for the Three Rivers Festival, it can be an attraction. They can run a train by it and say, 'Look at that fence!'”

“It's a shame we can't handle it in another way,” reiterated Dunifon, who attempted to maintain seriousness.

“How about blindfolds?” asked First District Councilman John Nuckols.

“Let those who want to pay for such movies, watch them, but those who don't don't have to be exposed to it,” commented Second District John H. Robinson.

“Is that a little play on words ... be exposed to it?” joked Rousseau.

Dunifon said he feared the fence would have to be closer to 400 feet high, when Robinson said it would be perfectly all right if they showed “The Lone Ranger and Tonto.”

“Not if they're naked,” insisted a councilman.

Dunifon said the Building Commissioner Troy Yeoman will have to enforce the ordinance. “We'll have the same sort of control we tried at the Adult Bookstore,” he added, recognizing that the city has been unable to close the bookstore.

Fifth District Councilman Phil A. Steigerwald laughed and commented, “I can just see the headlines now '50 Couples Smashed By Big Fence'!”

When the laughter subsided, Dunifon, again serious, said he feared the ordinance will have little effect. “There are no laws to support it,” he said.


“'Assembly Line' Readies Books For 30 Libraries,” by Dell Ford (July 30, 1970)

There's a kind of assembly line operation taking place right now in Community Schools sprawling service center and the ultimate aim is to put new books on the shelves of 30 school libraries.

Directing the intricate processing that begins with orders from individual school librarians and ends with students selecting volumes from the shelf is Marlene Schang.

A South Side High business teacher who detoured into books, thanks to a library science minor at Ball State University, Mrs. Schang, as Community Schools supervisor of Library Services, oversees a permanent staff of 11 that swells to 44 in the out-of-school summer months.

Why all the activity in June, July and August?

Answer: Most of the book orders from school librarians are received in the spring.

Spring 1970 was one big headache for Mrs. Schang and her employees. The Teamsters strike delayed shipment and, she grimaces at the recollection, “We had our hands full with books coming in all at once.”

Of the 30 schools for which Library Services currently is processing volumes, four will not open until September 1971. But it's a gigantic task to prepare stock for two brand new senior highs (Wayne and Northrop) as well as two junior highs (Blackhawk and Miami) and getting a jump on the job is something of a necessity.

“We projected some time ago,” Mrs. Schang said, “that the years 1970-71 would find us processing 150,000 volumes. This is primarily due to the (four) new schools opening.”

Wayne and Northrop, she said, will have 20,000 volumes each and Blackhawk and Miami 12,000 each.

To date, 13,000 books have been processed for the two senior highs and about 15,000 for the new junior highs. The volumes will be stored on the third and fourth floors of the Service Center until D-for-Delivery Day to the schools arrives.

A visitor to Mrs. Schang's “assembly line” processing room would be aware of books, books, books, and more books. All brand new out of the packing box.

Something else the visitor would notice is a lot of people, mostly young women, working singly (sometimes in pairs) on the step-by-step operation that readies each volume for its eventual slot on a school library shelf.

Much of the work is done on a typewriter. Errors are rubbed out with, of all things, an electric eraser that looks like, of all things, an electric shaver with one giant stubble. There's also a gluing machine that speeds up the job of putting the card pocket on the inside cover of each book.

Pasting the pocket is one of the final processing steps.

It all begins with the receipt of orders from school librarians. The next step is to place orders with book jobbers (selected on the basis of competitive bids) and catalog card companies. When the books arrive at the Service Center, they are checked against the invoice and each volume's work slip and catalog card is pulled.

Progressing down the “assembly line,” the fourth step is cataloging. Normally, Mrs. Schang explained, a book is cataloged five ways: by author, title, a couple of subject headings and a shelf list card. The latter is the librarian's copy.

Mechanical processing follows cataloging. This involves stamping the name of the school to which the book with be delivered on the “page” edges and on page 25. Always page 25. “This,” Mrs. Schang grinned, “is something we inherited from the Public Library. Except it uses page 35.” Mechanical processing also includes assigning the book on accession number (this number distinguishes duplicate copies) and giving the volume a plastic cover.

Move along the line and you come to typing. The typing of catalog cards and shelf list. “At this point,” Mrs. Schang said, “the books are revised which means everything that has been done to the book up to this point is checked.” She described this as “the most important process because we're quite concerned about the neatness and accuracy of all library material that leaves Library Services. We want them right,” she stressed.

Pocket pasting comes after revision and then the books are sorted by school and placed in boxes for delivery to schools.

That, then, is a very undetailed version of the highly detailed Library Services service.

The intricacy of the operation is borne out by the fact that for each book ordered there are six order copies. One is the “work slip” that follows the volume through all the processing steps. One goes to the book jobber, a third to the catalog card jobber. A fourth is retained for cost purposes – to identify the charge to the ordering school. The fifth is the master shelf copy. The master shelf, Mrs. Schang noted, “shows all the books and which schools have them.” The sixth copy remains with the school librarian so she knows what she has on order.

Man! It takes a heap of work to get a book on a library shelf!

And Marlene Schang loves it. Seeing that books, as well as audio-visual materials, and library materials ordered under provisions of Title II, Public Law 89-10, are purchased and processed.

Mrs. Schang's initial experience in library work (work she thought she'd never do, even with a library science minor) came in 1964 when she was named Community Schools' first library supervisor (now called consultant for instructional materials). Then she “retired” to have a baby. After three years “at home,” she applied for part-time work as a cataloger.

When she applied, however, there was a need for a Library Services supervisor. She took the job. That was August 1968 and a part-time position turned into full-time work.

Enjoyable work, Mrs. Schang calls it. Compared with teaching she feels more her own boss, more independent.

“I think library work,” she said, “is a great profession and I'm glad to be part of it.”


“ 'Shocker' Boat Fails To Get Fish Popping,” by Jim Morrison (July 30, 1970)

The sleek silver Department of Natural Resources boat, with a crew of three and an electronic cargo, circled the quiet surface of George Wilkenson's farm pond last night, while a crowd of 350 watched for fish, rendered temporarily senseless by the electrical apparatus, to pop to the surface.

The boat, skippered by Rick Peterson, a fish management biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, moved around the pond while one crew member stood poised, net in hand to capture the fish. The other member of the crew, a television cameraman, was ready to record the sight of fish popping right out of the water, as Peterson had predicted the large ones would.

The boat circled the pond again. No fish had popped out of the water and even a few ducks which swam lazily along the side of the pond didn't seem too worried by the electrical charge a 230 volt, 7 amp generator was providing to three copper electrodes on the bow of the craft.

The boat made one more pass, and the skipper ordered it to dock with its final catch – a two-inch bluegill which Peterson pronounced probably stunned, although not from electrical charge that had been introduced into the pond.

If the “shocker” boat demonstration was a good measure of the potential fishing at the lake, Wilkenson is probably luck that his prime use for the pretty little pond is the training of hounds for “coon dog water racing” of which he is an avid follower. In fact, a demonstration of that sport, during which four excited dogs chased a caged raccoon on a raft across the lake, was a good deal more successful than the “shocker boat.”

Except for the lack of success of the boat, which Peterson explained by saying that warm weather had forced the large fish in the ponds to depths at which they were safe from the effects of the electrodes, and a brief shower which wetted down but did not drive away the crowd, the program was successful.

The evening meeting, on the lawn between Wilkenson's grey-shingled house and the pond, was intended for owners of ponds and persons thinking of building them.


“2 4-H Families Are Busy Folks,” by Jim Morrison (July 31, 1970)

Although 4-H families come in all sizes, shapes and descriptions, they typically have at least one thing in common – they are composed of busy people.

July is far and away the busiest month of the year for Allen County's more than 1,000 4-H families. It is filled with preliminary project judging contests for the 4-H members and demonstrations. It is also the last month before the annual 4-H fair at Memorial Coliseum.

This week – the week before the fair – was for most 4-H members the busiest week of the busy month.

To find out how 4-H members and their families get ready for the annual fair, a Journal-Gazette reporter and photographer visited two Allen County 4-H families earlier this week. They were the William Lutters, who live in suburban New Glenwood Park, and the Donald Yoders, who operate the last farm this side of the DeKalb County line on Tonkle Road.

At the time of the visits (Tuesday evening), the Lutters were on their way to a 4-H meeting and the Yoders, visited a little later in the day, were just coming back from one.

In these families, the parents are deeply involved with 4-H.

Mr. and Mrs. Lutter manage the countywide dog training project, and Mrs. Lutter is leader of an urban girls' 4-H club. Mr. and Mrs. Yoder share leadership of a rural 4-H club – with Yoder also deeply involved in the leadership of county-wide tractor and dairy projects.

Although the Yoders are a farm family and the Lutters live in town, the families are similarly friendly, sold on 4-H – and busy.

Tom and Jeff Yoder, for example, have been busy over the past few weeks training Holstein calves for the 4-H dairy show.

A calf, which had been considered as a possible fair entry, was dropped from the list Sunday when, despite continuing efforts to train her, it became apparent she was not interested in a show business career. It was feared her appearance in the show ring might have been a disaster.

David Lutter, on the other hand, was having pre-fair problems of another kind. A final necessary part for a radio-controlled model airplane he is building for a 4-H electronics project had still not arrived.

Without the part, which was ordered some time ago, the plane could not be completed in time for the fair.

For 17-year-old David, who will be a senior at Snyder High School next year, the electronics project is perhaps a forecast of a future career. He plans to major in electronics engineering when he enters college.

Judy Yoder, 18, has finished high school. This year she will complete nine years in 4-H.

“If we can keep them past 14,” Mrs. Yoder said, “we can keep them until they complete.”

Denise Lutter, 15, completed one of her major projects after long hours of hard work. She refinished and outfitted a desk as a study deck for a home furnishings project.

“One thing about 4-H,” Mr. Lutter said, “we could never have gotten her to sand that desk without it.”

For the Yoders, the Lutters, and the families of Allen County's other 4-H members, the beginning of the fair Saturday marks the completion of as much as a year of work.

It begins with the 4-H Horse and Pony Show at the Horse and Pony grounds across from the Coliseum parking lot at 8:30 a.m. The program will last all day.

Sunday, the dog show, in the Coliseum exhibition hall, will begin at 1 p.m. A new feature of the fair this year is a special vesper service by 4-H junior leaders at 7:30 p.m. in the Coliseum.

Monday, the formal part of the fair opens with the start of judging of hundreds of 4-H projects at 1 p.m. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled to open the program at 7:30 p.m. Monday and the 4-H kind and queen will be crowned following the ceremony.

The fair continues through Thursday.


Sign up for our History Journal newsletter

Emails are sent on the last Thursday of the month