Thursday, October 9, 2014

Back when ‘farm days’ postponed school

THERE have been “snows days” of unexpected school recesses in recent years, but how about “farm days"  in olden times?”
“Schools of city may not be opened until October 15, to allow youngsters to work,” was a June 27, 1917 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
An acute labor shortage in Utah some 97 years ago meant that the Davis County School Board had decided to postpone school by at least 10 days for grades seven through twelve.
Soon after that decision, Weber County and Ogden City schools also made similar decisions, referred to as “an expression of community prudence.”
School normally began at the end of September each year.
In a move akin to today’s “Potato Harvest” recess in Southern Idaho, this 1917 decision was so that teenagers could assist in the harvesting of fruits, grains, sugar beets and tomatoes that season.
​(These were the true "field days" for students in olden times.)
The decision was reached after a conference with the canners and sugar company representatives of the area.
Davis County had already been given 150 men from the National Guard to help with their crops, but more manpower was needed.
Davis County farmers had also said that if some Ogden boys had not been sent to assist with thinning their sugar beet crop already in early summer, they would have faced a disaster.
However, the recess was not a “free pass” to miss school. Besides the expectation to do farm work, plans were made by the school board to hold school six days a week until the lost time was made up. Some of these extra Saturday school days were in the winter season, leaving good weather Saturdays in spring still available.
In other historical notes:
- “Deer hunters’ chances good” was an Oct. 17, 1926 headline in the Standard.
For that era, the hunt opened Oct. 20 and closed Oct. 20. The basic rules of the hunt were: no boys under age 16 allowed to hunt; each hunter was allowed one buck with horns at least six inches long; all hunters to be wear a red hat, or red covering; a license for male hunters cost $2 and for female hunters, $1.
Hunting was also prohibited in the game sanctuary, from Weber Canyon to North Ogden Canyon and from east Ogden to the city wells in Ogden Valley. (This “no hunting” area existed only in the 1920s.)
-“Daylight motion pictures at the Orpheum a success,” was an Oct. 2, 1911 headline in the Standard.
This didn’t mean matinees – it meant a new machine projected the moving pictures on a dark background, instead of a white one – to be easier on the eyes.
Motion pictures were shown five nights a week, Saturday through Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. (Thursday and Friday nights were vaudeville nights.) Admission was 5 cents to 10 cents a show.

(-Originally published on Oct. 9-10, 2014 by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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