Victory Parade









Thursday, January 1, 1920


Greatest Prosperity Ever Enjoyed Here Followed The Federal Ban On Booze



     Today the Times presents, in a condensed form, some of the most note worthy incidents in connection with Trenton’s history during the year 1919.  No attempt has been made to cover everything worth noting because of the necessity of conserving space in these days of paper shortage.

     But the mere chronological dates of news happenings do not, of course, begin to tell the whole story of what has transpired.  Despite the fact that this is an out-in-out wet city, it is everywhere recognized that no such prosperity was ever witnessed here as during the months that booze has been under ban.  Of course, as elsewhere, booze has not been altogether eliminated.  The old dealers have been profiteering in order to make a good haul before the fatal day of January 17.  The distillers and brewers have been making enormous profits all over the country, and it has been estimated that through the sale of near beer and whiskey bought before the war, the manufacturers have cleared during 1919, more than enough money to amply reimburse them for all they had invested in saloons and other properties. 


     The promoting of the new hotel, which is to cost $1,500,000, was one of the fine events of the year.  The energy put into this project by Maxwell G. Rockhill and W. J. B. Stokes, backed by the banks and the Camber of Commerce, has evoked the highest praise.  In bigger industrial improvements, the plan of the American bridge to enlarge its plant and the passing of the Mercer Automobile Company into live hands, are worthy of especial note; while the wider use of the Municipal Dock tells its own great story.

     Among other events of unusual local significance where the candidacy of Newton A. K. Bugbee for Governor; the re-election of the City Commission by handsome pluralities; the awarding of six cents by a jury in the suit for $100,000 brought by Johan A. Roebling’s Sons Company for an alleged attack on their Americanism; the fact that Colonel Harry B. Salter, while parading in military clothes and holding down a $4,200 berth in the State House, had never subscribed for a Liberty Bond; the finding of sixteen indictments against George Royle and four others for irregularities in the conduct of county government. 


     No single happening of the year, of course, compares with the boost in fares that has been granted the overcapitalized and mismanaged local trolley system.  These outrageous rate increases were brought about largely through the activity and support of the Trenton Chamber of Commerce, which, as the spokesman for organized capital urged in the granting of the boosts by the Public Service Board.  This board Governor Runyon was not branded as “incompetent” although the members had previously been branded by Tom McCarter of the Public Service as “a band of political horse thieves.”

     Under these boosts, the car-riders of Trenton are next week to have their fare raised NINETY TWO PERCENT over the old rates that the trolley profiteers solemnly agreed to forever maintain in exchange for the free grants of franchise rights belonging to the public.  The action of the Trenton Chamber of Commerce is directly opposite that of the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, when in a recent report, showed how a five-cent fare had proved entirely profitable there.


3---State Highway Department planned to construct 50 miles of roads

6---George H. Royle elected director of the Board of Freeholders.

17---Two hundred thousand dollars reported raised in campaign for new hotel.

18---Dr. William S. Lalor died.

24---Francis E. Croasdale named State Librarian.

25---Heavy damage caused to offices of Pennsylvania Railroad by fire.

30---Edward James, of Whitehead’s Road, fatally when box containing a stationary engine fell on him on North Willow Street.


4---Edwin Robert Walker renamed Chancellor.

7---J. Walter Gilmore, taxicab owner, killed in automobile accident.

21---Mrs. John Thropp died.


3---Municipal dock opened.

7---Hotel fund reported over top with subscriptions of $507,700.

17---Mrs. Thomas Roe, of Spring Street died of apoplexy while worshiping at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

25---J. Raymond O’Connor, newspaperman, arrested for threatening rich Trentonians, adjudged insane.

29---Roofs of six homes blown off and great property damage done by high gale.


8---Mayor Mahlon R. Margerum named member of State Board of Taxes and Assessment.

11---Women cigar workers strike.

12---City moves to force trolley road repairing.

17---Polish relief drive nets $30,000.

19---“Billy”Sunday opens Trenton Liberty Loan drive for $7,478,100.

21---Mrs. F. W. Donnelly, wife of Mayor Donnelly, died.

24---Carroll Billups, 18 years old, Norfolk, Va, Princeton student, whose automobile killed Mrs. Bessie Swan and her 5-year-old son, on the Lawrence Road, held on charge of manslaughter.

30---George D. Bower, 76 years old, for many years United States deputy marshal and court crier, found dead in bed.


10---Municipal Dock dedicated.

13---City Commission election held, resulting in re-election of old board.

20---City pays tribute to its returned heroes, members of the 113th Infantry, 29th Division.

26---Reception tendered 104th Engineers, 311th Infantry.

27---Motorcycle Patrolman Abner R. Braun, shot to death while pursuing auto bandits near Bustleton, Pa.


1---City held memorial service for dead heroes of the war at Cadwalader Park.

5---Dr. Zenos E. Scott accepted superintendency of Trenton’s public schools.

10---Stephen Cliff fell from a wagon and died as a result of injuries.

12---Mr. Paul Lang Cort died.

19---City Commissioner William F. Burk died.

21---The Rev. William Best Eddy announced his resignation as rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

25---Dr. George H. Parker, medical director of Mercer Hospital, died.

18---William Williams Jr., was re-elected president of State Aerie, of the Order of Eagles.

29---Miss Eliza W. Tomlinson, member of old Trenton family, died.


1---Harry A. Donnelly, veteran newspaperman, died.

9---Negotiations completed for the purchase of the former home of Mercer Trust Company, South Broad Street, at the Trenton headquarters of the Salvation Army.

18---Carroll Billups, 18 years old, of Norfolk, Va., student at Princeton Preparatory School, fined $2,500 in Mercer Court as the result of an automobile accident in which Bessie Swan and her son John were killed.

22---George W. Page elected city commissioner to succeed William F. Burk.

23---Inmates of Girl’s Home here set fire to institution.


5---Board of School Estimate announces purchase of Reister Hall from Rudolph Kuser for $12,000, to be used as a school for negro children.

6---Federal agents raid the Lafayette Café and arrest John L. Thompson, proprietor, and Fred W. Curtis, a bartender, on charges of violating the War-Time Prohibition Act.
8---Judge Marshall, in Mercer Court, fines 16 young men who were arrested following sensational hold-up of the Irven Heights “crap” game.

14---Burdette G. Lewis, State Commissioner of Charities and Corrections, commences investigation into conditions at the New Jersey State Home for Girls.

19---Board of Freeholders passes resolution asking for Supreme Court investigation of the activities of Director George H. Royle and the general conduct of the county business.

20---William H. Archinal, 496 Riverside Avenue, starts divorce proceedings against his wife, who was Elizabeth Louise Bardusch, a former cabaret entertainer.

26---James A. T. Gribben, 119 Jackson Street, appointed census supervisor of Mercer, Somerset, and Hunterdon Counties.

27---Lt. Col. Harry Broughton Salter, chief auditor of the state, files petition in bankruptcy in the Federal Court to wipe out old debts.


4---Walter Moser, manager DeLaval Steam Turbine baseball club, fined $1 for participation in Sunday game at DeLaval athletic field.

8---Hebrews open drive for suffering Jews.

9---Dr. Elmer Barwis died.

10---Daniel Block died.

15---Place girls from State Home on trial for starting fire at institution.

16---Judge Gnichtel named to probe Board of Freeholders transactions.

17---Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association convention opened.

23---Auto thieves rob Alaska Furrier Company, South Broad Street.

27---Thieves ransack George R. Cook’s home and silver valued at $1,000 stolen.

29---Inter-State Fair opened.


1---Ten thousand dollar jewel robbery reported by George Marks, owner of jewelry store at 122 South Broad Street.

8---Malcolm G. Buchanan appointed Vice Chancellor.

9---Mercer Automobile Company sold to New York interests.

21---General Thomas S. Chambers died.



3---Assemblyman John E. Gill instructs counsel to begin $50,000 suit against Mayor Donnelly; alleging that the Mayor had slandered him in campaign speeches.

4---S. Roy Heath, Democrat, defeated John E. Gill, Republican, for State Senate.  Dr. Walter Madden, Democrat, beat Lloyd W. Grover, Republican, for surrogate.  William A. Moore, George W. Guthrie, and William H. Blackwell, Republicans, elected to Assembly; and Arthur Bray Jr., John McCullough, and George Wycoff, Republicans, elected to Board of Freeholders.  Assanpink Way project and park lands sale approved by voters.

6---Ebenezer Mackey, retired superintendent of schools, died.

13---William C. Lawrence, president of the Standard Fire Insurance Company, died.

19---Jury in Mercer County awards John A. Roebling’s Sons Company six cents damages in $100,000 suit brought against the Trenton Times.

20---Gas rate of 97 cents a thousand boosted to $1.15 by Public Utility Commission.

25---Norman T. Rogers appointed deputy surrogate to succeed Charles M. Titus.


1---Former Governor James F. Fielder appointed vice chancellor.

2---Attorney Paul H. Wendel arrested on charge of perjury and conspiracy in connection with the Grasser-Fedorasdak property conveyance suit in the Court of Chancery.

4---Freeholders, especially Royle, bitterly arraigned in report by former Judge Frederick W. Gnichtel, Supreme Court Commissioner appointed to conduct the inquiry into the administration of county affairs.

9---Harry D. Goodengough granted parole.

10---Justice Thomas W. Trenchard charges October Grand Jury for indictments as result of evidence brought out by Freeholder inquiry. 

18---Willard S. Konover, former paymaster and superintendent, of Mt. Rose Road, indicted by Grand Jury in connection with county inquiry revelations.

22---American Bridge Company announces that it will spend $1,500,000 for additions to plant.

27---Public Utility Commission fixes seven-cent trolley fare for city, with penny additional for transfers.

29---Freeholder Royle, Russell Klockner, Daniel L. Weeden, and A. F. Updike indicted in county probe.

30---Board of Freeholders will appoint county auditor as result of disclosures made by investigation into county affairs.

31---Charles M. Titus announces he will abandon fight to retain deputy surrogateship.


Up To Top / Home
The Society :
About Us / Artifacts Committee / Education Committee / Preservation Committee / Membership / Contact Us / Events
Our History : Sights & Sounds / 1929 History / Old & New / Hill Diaries / Chronological Indexes / Trenton Made / Documents
Your Ancestors : Research Services / Obituaries / City Directories / High School Yearbooks / Cemeteries / Genealogy
The City : Buildings / Historic Districts / North Ward Survey / Street Names / Local Links
Search Our Site