This Week in Odessa History

Farmers' convention, war in Pacific


100 years ago

The Odessa Record

July 5, 1918

Farmers report good convention: Although the Farmers Union convention which ended Saturday night was not as largely attended as some former ones, the local members feel that it was one of the most successful ever held in the county. Delegates were here from Irby, Almira, Wilbur, Davenport and other sections.

Every speaker scheduled on the program was present and those who attended were privileged to hear some very interesting and instructive talks along farming and educational lines. The Odessa local is five members stronger as the result of the convention, as there were that number taken into the Union and it has also seven new applications for membership to be acted upon later.

An open meeting was held Friday night to which the entire community were invited. At this session Attorney W.M. Nevins tendered the address of welcome which was responded to by W.U. Neeley. Following this, addresses were given by C.D. Gaines, Lincoln country agriculturist and P.C. Wiessman. In response for musical numbers to be furnished by local talent, the Misses Leona Holmes and Lose Lowe favored the audience with some very much appreciated vocal selections for this session.

The convention went unanimously in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war to a victorious end and also for an equitable distribution of cost of the war.

75 years ago

The Odessa Record

July 1, 1943

Murray relates tropic battle: Frieske, Wagner part of Marines at Guadalcanal

Gail Murray, home on furlough from the tropic battlefields of Guadalcanal, was a guest at the commercial club meeting on Wednesday, telling some of his experiences in a brief talk.

He, with Roscoe Wagner and Milton Frieske, were with the Marines sent in to defend the American positions at Henderson field. When the enemies were defeated the three found themselves walking together in a line of men, finding each other only by questioning, as a growth of whiskers made them unrecognizable.

The American victory there was due largely to the wholehearted cooperation of the natives, he stated. These sturdy little men carried ammunition and other supplies, aiding in routing out the concealed Japanese snipers, and proved first class fighting men. The natives did not require ammunition for their guns, he stated, as they preferred to use the stock as a club.

Mosquitoes and the malaria fever were the worst features of the entire expedition, he remarked. It was useless trying to sleep without mosquito netting.

The war had its brighter sides, he admitted. The marines had a ring side seat at the great naval battle, sitting on the beach and watching the ships fire at each other and the attacking of the aircraft. Long hours spent in the front lines while scouting parties carried on the fight were devoted to checkers and card games.

About once a month the mail boat would arrive. Mail arrived on Christmas day and a near riot resulted when the mail clerks did not choose to distribute the mail on a holiday.

Murray has had the malaria and is to be in the United States until mid-winter, when he expects to return to the Pacific theatre of war.

Four injured when cars sideswipe: When cars driven by Herbert Hardung and Jacob Ils, Sr., sideswiped on the sharp curve near the Gettman ranch on the Schoonover highway Wednesday morning, four persons received injuries.

Hardung, alone in his car, received head injuries that required stitching, Mr. Ils received face cuts, Mrs. Ils a cut arm, and Mrs. Pete Bauer, Ritzville, a guest in the car, had chest bruises.

The injured were taken to Ritzville for medical attention. Both cars were badly wrecked.

50 years ago

The Odessa Record

July 4, 1968

Proposed City Hall - library to be discussed at public meeting: A special meeting of the townspeople of Odessa has been called for Monday evening, July 8, by the Odessa town council. The purpose of the meeting will be to conduct a public hearing on a proposed City Hall-Library building program.

The meeting will be held on the main floor of the city hall starting at 8 p.m.

Plans for the proposed structure were received from the designers, after unexpected delay, and reviewed by the council at its meeting Monday evening. An exterior view of the proposed building has been hung in the Odessa Record window for public inspection. Other interior layout sketches have also arrived and will be on display, as well as presented at the public meeting Monday.

The building project, which has been under study by the council, library and planning boards for several months, will be discussed in detail Monday. The proposed site for the building will be also reviewed. A question-and-answer period will also be utilized for the interested public.

25 years ago

The Odessa Record

July 1, 1993

Schlimmer family gives church to museum: An important symbol of Odessa history was assured preservation last week when the family of Esther Schlimmer bequeathed the church building at the corner of South Alder Street and West Fourth Avenue to the Odessa Historical Society.

The building was built in 1916 by St. Matthew’s German Congregational Church, and it was the home of that body until the congregation merged with the Pilgrim Congregational Church in 1945. In later years and until the mid-1980s, the building housed the Odessa Assembly of God. The building has been vacant for the past several years.

The Odessa Historical Society voted to accept the building at a meeting last week. Of the 17 members present, all but three favored the acceptance. Society secretary Florence Sout said that no decision has been reached on the use of the building.

At the meeting, however, several possibilities were discussed. Most of the society members seemed to feel that it was the society’s duty to acquire the building to save it from being torn down, moved for remodeled and to see that the structure is preserved.

St. Matthew’s Church was noted for its distinctive architecture. Its central feature is a Byzantine bell tower, reminiscent of Russian ecclesiastical architecture and a mark of the heritage of the Germans from Russia who founded the church.

After the church was dedicated on June 11, 1916, The Odessa Record reported: The new modern edifice of the St. Matthew German Congregational Church on Third Street (as Alder Street then was named) was formally dedicated Sunday. The building is 34x46 feet, with a Sunday School annex of 29x30 feet. It is one of the most up-to-date and finest finished churches in the Big Bend and has a capacity for seating about 500 people.

“Three services were held during the day and the building was filled to its utmost capacity at all times. The principal speakers at the dedicatory services were the Rev. John Hopp, of Portland, the Rev. G. Graedel, of Odessa, and the Rev. Karl Meyer, of Packard. An address was also given by the Rev. E. Huber, of the Odessa German Baptist Church.

“A number of excellent musical selections was rendered at each meeting by the church choir under the direction of Professor A. H. Albert.”

“The value of the church property with the parsonage amounts to about $7,000, of which there remains to be paid $1,200. The collections during the day (of the dedication) were $1210. The Rev. A. Reiman, pastor of the church, officiated and he is deserving of much credit for the work he had done in bringing about the completion of the church in such a short space of time...”

Con Eckhardt, prominent Odessa builder and contractor of the time, built the church, which was constructed in large part with volunteer labor of church members.

The main auditorium of the church building has a sloping, theater-like floor. It connects to the Sunday school room with doors which open the full extent of the wall between the two rooms. There are a kitchen and rest rooms, as well as a small dining room, in the basement.


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