It is easy to assume old, large circulation newspapers were primarily interested in sharing important national, state, and municipal news. Just look at their big front page headlines! Naturally, the publishers wanted to keep people informed on significant developments both outside and within their community. However, a quick browse also reveals many brief pieces of exclusively local interest, items which could easily pass as gossip. These stories peppered every issue. They may have been used as fillers, but today provide wonderful insight into what editors thought might interest their readers. The Perth Amboy Evening News was no exception, as these examples from 1903 illustrate.
To Surpass All Others (July 1, 1903): The members of Thor Lodge, No. 46 of the Danish Brotherhood, say that their picnic Saturday at Union Grove, will surpass all other picnics of that organization. The regular committee of Thor Lodge will look after arrangements.
Locked His Family Out (May 20, 1903): Frank Sliewensky, of Hall avenue, was committed to the county jail for thirty days this morning by Recorder Pickersgill on a charge of being drunk and disorderly. His wife, who caused his arrest on Monday, was the complainant this morning. Officer Shultz made the arrest. He said this morning that Sliewensky locked his wife and family out of the house last night.
A Pleasant Cruise (July 15, 1903): James E. Noe entertained a party of twenty-five on board his power skiff Monday night. They went up the sound for a short distance and returning went around the light house. All had a delightful time. The skiff will seat about forty persons comfortably.
Went Home By Trolley (September 12, 1903): Mr. William B. Pratt, of the firm of Pratt-Brown Company, now rides in a five horse power Oldsmobile runabout, which he purchased yesterday and with which there is an interesting story connected.
Yesterday morning, when Mr. Pratt arose, he had no intention whatever of purchasing an automobile before nightfall. In the afternoon, however Mr. George K. Parsell, the architect, who has lately become agent for these machines, came over from New Brunswick to see Mr. Pratt in regard to some building matter. Mr. Pratt noticed the machine, liked it, examined it, asked the price of it, was told, and bought it, then and there. Mr. Parsell rode home in a trolley car.
Broke Bowling Record (July 25, 1903): Bowling record at Bloodgood’s was broken last night by Birden Golden. He rolled 232. The previous highest record was 221. Golden was in fine form and his game was watched with much interest by a large crowd.
Local Items (June 9, 1903): Mrs. William Allen, of Elizabeth, is visiting her mother, Mrs. Bernard Hartung, of State street.
Miss Maud Evans, formerly of this city, but now of New Brunswick, is spending a few days in town.
Harry Durrua, of 173 Brighton avenue, spent yesterday with relatives in South Amboy.