A Look Back in Time: Chehalis Holds Municipal Elections for Mayor and City Commissioner in December of 1932


Chehalis was scheduled to hold its 1932 municipal elections on Monday, Dec. 5, The Chronicle reported on Saturday, Dec. 3, 1932. 

“More than usual interest attaches this year to the city election to be held next Monday in Chehalis, and a large vote is expected,” The Chronicle reported. 

The incumbent commissioners and mayor were running for re-election in Chehalis. Among the challengers for office were Burwell Bantz for mayor. All the candidates for office in Chehalis were considered to be qualified.

“All the men in the race are recognized as splendid citizens and voters feel the city will be in capable hands regardless of the outcome of the Monday election,” The Chronicle reported. 

According to The Chronicle, statements from both Bantz and incumbent mayor “West” were being closely followed by voters. The Chronicle stated the main difference between the two mayoral candidates was their views on the methods that should be adopted for the sale of liquor. 

“Mayor West has taken the position he is opposed to the old saloon, and Mr. Bantz goes somewhat further. He states that he recognizes the fact that the people have spoken and that they want a return to the sale of intoxicating liquor, which he will not oppose, but holds that it should not be purchased and drunk in the same place,” The Chronicle reported. 

West was reportedly running on his record as Chehalis’ chief executive for the previous nine years.

Also running for office in Chehalis was Fremont Burrows, who was running for Chehalis commissioner on his record as a “successful young businessman.” Burrows was the production manager at the Chehalis Brick and Tile Company. 


Saturday, Dec. 3, 1932

• The Centralia City Commission passed a resolution on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 3, declaring a 90-day banking moratorium within the city. During the moratorium, depositors at the First Farmers-Merchants Bank and Trust Company would not be able to withdraw their deposits. “In connection with the moratorium, it is emphasized that the bank is entirely solvent, and that depositors should have no fear of loss,” The Chronicle reported. The moratorium, which was part of the ongoing Great Depression, was also expected to cause an inconvenience during the Christmas shopping season. 

• According to an Associated Press story included in The Chronicle, German General Kurt Von Sleicher, who had previously served as defense minister, was appointed the chancellor of Germany by President Pual Von Hindenburg. The selection was thought to have put a rest to the uncertainty following the previous chancellor's resignation two weeks earlier. According to the story, Adolf Hitler, who was described as the “most powerful of the opposition leaders,” had already announced he would not support Von Sleicher.

• Water levels in China Creek, referred to by The Chronicle as “China Ditch,” were reported to have fallen following flooding on Friday, Dec. 2. The flooding inundated street intersections and caused damage in basements. 

• The weather forecast for the upcoming days projected “moderate” temperatures and southerly winds. The temperature high for Sunday, Dec. 4, was expected to be 55 degrees with a low of 47 degrees. 

• Edward Leonard, who told Lewis County Sheriff J.A. Blankenship he had stolen $900 from the Los Angeles Bank of America, was expected to leave Lewis County for California on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Messages had been received from Los Angeles law enforcement confirming Leonard was wanted there. On Friday, Dec. 2, Blankenship had received a wire message from Los Angeles District Attorney Burton Fitts informing him that if Leonard was not wanted for crimes in Lewis County a law enforcement officer would be sent north to retrieve him. Leonard had been arrested in Eastern Washington with two other men for car theft, but an investigation determined he had played no role in the crime. 

• An annual Christmas tree harvest was underway in Winlock after a visit from the “Christmas Tree King,” J.Hofert, of Los Angeles. The harvest was giving employment to about 100 men in the area. As of Dec. 3, about five carloads of Christmas trees had been shipped from Winlock to California and other states with another six or seven expected to be sent. Payment to the men cutting the trees was 10 cents lower than in 1931, though that was “considered good in relation to the times and the price of other products.”

  The Pe Ell High School football team was expected to be the guests of the Pe Ell Kiwanis Club for a banquet on the night of Monday, Dec. 5. The team, which had recently won the Lewis County league championship for a second year in a row, was to select the player they considered the “greatest inspiration” at the banquet. The selected player would then have his name engraved on the Kiwanis Club’s inspiration plaque. 


Thursday, Dec. 3, 1942

• Marvin Paulson, a state patrolman, told the Centralia Kiwanis Club on Wednesday, Dec. 2, that motorists found guilty of “tire abuse” from speeding or reckless driving, will automatically lose their right to get gasoline and rubber replacements. Paulson said the state patrol had been ordered to strictly enforce the wartime 35-mph speed limit.

• Henry Beard, a professor of marketing and business administration at the University of Washington, was expected to speak in the Twin Cities on Monday, Dec. 7, and Tuesday, Dec. 8. Beard was expected to speak at multiple locations, including at Centralia College, the Chehalis Chamber of Commerce and to students at Chehalis High School. 

• The Lewis County Ministerial Association announced on Dec. 3 it would not be hosting its annual Lewis County Leadership Training School. The school had been operated by local churches for more than 20 years. The decision to cancel temporarily was due to wartime rationing of gas.

• A plan was underway to host 100 servicemen in Chehalis homes on Christmas day. The plan was being put together by the local USO committee. The chair of the committee, Don Abel, was being assisted in planning the event by “Mrs. Henry Ernst,” “Mrs. P.W. Connick” and W.F. West, for whom Chehalis’ W.F. West High School is named. According to The Chronicle, there were many “boys in uniform” stationed throughout the area and the USO was attempting to welcome the soldiers, many of whom were far from home.

• The Chronicle reported the number of war stamps purchased in Chehalis schools was increasing each week, rising from $103 the first week of school to $473 during the most recent week. “A steady increase in the amount of war stamps being purchased each week by the pupils in the Chehalis school is evidence of their patriotic spirit,” The Chronicle reported. Students at Chehalis High School were reported to have reached an all time high for the number of tickets purchased in a week when they purchased $311 worth of stamps in one day.

• A full-page ad was featured in the Dec. 3 edition of The Chronicle urging participation in Centralia’s bond week from Dec. 1 through 7. “AVENGE PEARL HARBOR” the ad stated. The goal for the bond drive was to raise $50,000. 

• Precipitation was below average for the year despite recent heavy rains. “Despite heavy autumn rains in the Centralia-Chehalis district, Jup Pluvius must release almost 10 inches of wetness during December in order to bring the area’s 1942 rainfall up to the average yearly precipitation mark,” The Chronicle reported, though November rainfall had totaled 10.85 inches. 


Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1952

• The Lewis County Garden Clubs’ annual Yule Show was expected to open on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Chehalis Civic Auditorium. The show, which featured exhibits from 14 clubs, was free and open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 5. “Some 1,100 persons visited the show last year, but we are expecting a much larger attendance this year,” said Merl Yeager, the president of the Garden Club district. “Bad weather hindered many persons from attending last year’s show.” 

• A Chehalis fire truck sustained damage on the morning of Dec. 3 while on the way to put out a chimney fire when it struck a parked truck. The damage to the fire truck was reportedly about $50. 

• The Chronicle reported no decision had yet been reached as to what should be done regarding five teenage girls from Centralia who had been taken into police custody for being out after curfew and drinking. The five girls, who were ages 15 and 16, met with Lewis County juvenile officer Floyd Green accompanied by their mothers. The girls were apparently part of a larger gang and officers were waiting to question other individuals involved before moving forward with the girls’ cases.

• Preparations had been completed for the annual Westminster bazaar at Chehalis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. The event, which was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4, was to include hot turkey sandwiches and other food, which were to be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A turkey and ham dinner was scheduled for the evening with an auction to follow.

• A two-bedroom house in the Snively neighborhood of Chehalis was listed for $10,850 in The Chronicle. The house included a large living room, a fireplace, a new wall-to-wall rug and a patio with a barbecue. 

• The Lewis County commissioners approved two road improvement projects on Tuesday, Dec. 2. One was for a road near Napavine that cost $2,486 while the other was for a section of road along the Newaukum River for $1,745.

• Paul Welch, a Seattle youth who was one of three individuals charged with assaulting and robbing a Morton resident in July 1951, asked to be sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday, Dec. 2.  Welch told his judge he had discharged his Seattle attorney and wished to be sentenced. At the time, Welch was being held in the Lewis County Jail. 


Monday, Dec. 3, 1962

• Homeowners in Chehalis were the victims of two car thefts, The Chronicle reported. The state patrol listed a 1958 foreign sports car as having been stolen from Jack Newman and a 1951 car as being stolen from Larry Belcher. According to The Chronicle, Green Hill School officials had reported two boys had run away from a cottage at 7:10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. The boys were a 15-year-old from Vancouver and a 16-year-old from Spokane. However, law enforcement officers reportedly said there was no direct link between the runaways and the stolen cars.

• A car struck a fire hydrant on Market Street in Chehalis. The driver of the car had swerved to avoid oncoming traffic but lost control of the car, hitting the hydrant at about 12:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 3. No water was spilled from the hydrant but the car was totalled. The driver and their passenger were treated for cuts and bruises at the St. Helen Hospital in Chehalis.

• Centralia police reportedly detained Harold Spooner, of Vancouver, Canada, after he was reported for being drunk on a Greyhound Bus. “The driver wheeled his big bus up to the front door of the police station and turned Spooner over to the police,” The Chronicle reported. Spooner was later released on the condition he leave Centralia immediately. According to police, the last time they saw Spooner he was standing in front of the bus depot waiting for another bus. 

• There were 22 students listed on the Adna High School honor roll, The Chronicle reported on Dec. 3. Of those, six students, two seniors, two juniors and two sophomores, received a 4.0 GPA. The seniors were Waverly Bennet and Donna Berthelson, the juniors were Lynn Berthelson and Jo Stafford and the sophomores were Linda Bailey and Judy Roesbery. 

• A large, older house in Chehalis was listed for $10,950 in The Chronicle. The house had four bedrooms, a large kitchen, a dining room, a large living room, a large yard and fruit trees.