• In 1940, the City of Gallatin has approximately 20 miles of streets, consisting of one mile of pavement, one mile of oiled gravel built and maintained by the state highway department, about six miles of all-weather streets of rock chat, and 12 miles of dirt road. The town has just purchased a street maintainer, a 25 h.p. caterpillar tractor with 12-foot blade grader. (Jan. 11, 1940)
  • The city has three Fairbanks-Morse Diesel engines at the municipal light plant, a water softener plant and new Air-Made well. (April 18, 1940)

Gallatin Municipal Electric Power Plant (date unknown)

  • Gallatin bought its first Fairbanks-Morse Diesel generating unit in 1936, adding a second F-M Diesel and then later a third F-M Diesel unit in 1939. Eventually, electricity could be purchased off the grid more cheaply than by operating its own generators. Still, even when not actually in use, the ability to produce electricity during periods of peak demand helped keep electric rates low for Gallatin consumers.

Gallatin Municipal Electric Power Plant (date unknown)

  • Rural electric lines are energized, connecting home lines to the main lines. (June 20, 1940)
  • The census reveals populations for towns in Daviess County and immediate neighboring area as follows (the first number is the 1940 census/the second number is the 1930 census):
        • Breckenridge — 728 / 828
        • Gilman City — 555 / 535
        • Hamilton — 1655 / 1572
        • Jameson — 223 / 260
        • Jamesport — 761 / 839
        • Kidder — 270 / 314
        • Lock Springs — 191 / 209
        • Santa Rosa — 142 / 122
  • Admiral Byrd is exploring Antarctica, with a little help from Captain of the Bear, Richard Cruzen, former Gallatin young man. Admiral Byrd praised Captain Cruzen for his seamanship, saying, “I don’t thing we would have come through but for him and his navy crew.” (April 25, 1940)

This is a scene on the dock shortly after the arrival on April 14, 1947, at Washington DC of the USS Mount Olympus, flagship of the Navy Antarctic Expedition. Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal congratulates Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen, commander of the South Pole Task Force. Left to right are Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, chief of naval operations; admirals Cruzen and Byrd; and Secretary Forrestal. (AP wirephoto)

  • Radio is a lifeline to the people, providing news and entertainment and making the world a much smaller place.
  • There was a time when Hawaii and Gallatin were in separate worlds, but that was before the advent of radio. Virginia Englehart of Gallatin was most agreeably surprised some weeks ago when a short wave operator received greetings for her from her daughter in Hawaii. (Feb. 8, 1940)
  • Movies were never so popular as in the 1940s. Showing at the Binney Theater in Pattonsburg was “Young Buffalo Bill” with Roy Rogers and Geo. (Gabby) Hayes; “Road to Singapore” starring Dorothy Lamour, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope; “The Shadow” serial and comedy; and “Blue Bird” starring Shirley Temple, an all technicolor picture. (June 20, 1940)
  • Jamesport had produced its own film star. Martha Scott, formerly of Jamesport, who originated a part in the New York production, “Our Town,” was given a term contract by Sol Lesser of Hollywood, for the movie version of the play. (Jan. 25, 1940)

Martha Scott was a native of Jamesport, MO, who made her celebrated Broadway bow as Emily Webb in the original 1938 production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning “Our Town.” She died at age 90 in June, 2003, from natural causes.

  • “The Headliners”, a farm movie seen locally, featured a demonstration of the novelty, television. Television was on the scene at the World Fair in 1939, but the upcoming war would delay its popular use. (March 7, 1940)
  • While everybody danced the Jitterbug, the Big Band sound was in. Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman were some famous band leaders. Closer to home…
  • Robert E. Paul is the director of the Gallatin Municipal Band which presents marches “Side by Side,” overtures “Magneto,” popular tunes “Playmates,” serenades “”Mission of the Rose” and waltzes “Thalia.” (Aug. 29, 1940)
  • School buses for rural children are considered a new feature in modern school programs.(March 14, 1940) Approximately 800 rural students attend 75 schools in the county with 65 teachers. (Aug. 29, 1940) Lloyd W. King, state superintendent of schools, said in a speech that he regarded consolidation of rural schools “an essential element” in a more efficient educational system for Missouri.” (Dec. 11, 1941)

School wagons drawn by horses rather than motor carrier transported children to public schools in rural Missouri well into the 1930s, sometimes even later. Shown above is James Douglas Lollar, driving for the Altamont School about 1936. The “bus” sported a heating stove for those long, cold trips.

  • Gallatin has a new high school building, recently completed at a cost of $60,000. (Aug. 8, 1940)

Doors opened to a new school building erected just east of the “old” high school building fronting West Grand Street (Bus. Hwy. 6) in Gallatin, MO. A gymnasium with a stage offered a setting for all school presentations; an agriculture building was also built north of this scene.

  • Daviess County farmers have produced their biggest bluegrass crop in history and several thousands of dollars is being paid by buyers for the bluegrass seed. (June 20, 1940)
  • While 20 Daviess County boys are in Civilian Conservation Camp (CCC), Henry Ford has launched a “National Youth Movement ” of his own. To 25,000 other industrialists and manufacturers in all parts of the US he mailed a booklet pointing out the opportunity open to every employer of labor in solving “our gravest national problem: youth unemployment.” (July 4, 1940)

The CCC Boys lived in barracks and wore uniforms. The CCC made valuable contributions to forest management, flood control, conservation projects, and the development of state and national parks, forests, and historic sites. In return, the men received the benefits of education and training, a small paycheck, and the dignity of honest work. This photo shows part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp at Gallatin, MO, in 1934.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

  • Why doesn’t God stop Hitler? An all absorbing subject in the minds of the masses of people is being discussed by Harold J. Hays of St. Joseph, at the Church of Christ, first door south of the theater in the east part of the Jarrett building. The public is urged to attend. (March 13, 1941)
  • F.D.R. was drafted to make the “third term” Presidential race when the Chicago convention nominated him to again head the Democratic ticket. Cries by the Republicans that Roosevelt was leading the nation into war have been shushed by factual rebuttals that were convincing even to the most skeptical.” (Oct. 31, 1940)
  • At first, Mr. Roosevelt keeps America isolated while the war rages in Europe. “The German army are now within some 12 or 15 miles of Paris. Italy entered the war this week. In a radio address Monday, President Roosevelt denounced the entry of Italy into the war and promised all possible aid to the Allies in the way of materials and supplies.” (June 13, 1940)
  • Not knowing that the “Day of Infamy” was just around the corner, Arthur Douglas, Daviess County’s first Negro draftee, reported at Ft. Leavenworth this week for a year’s military service under the Selective Service Act. (March 13, 1941)

Isolationism Shattered by War

  • Congress declared war on Germany and Italy today. Japan and the United States have been at war since a savage and treacherous attack on Hawaii and the Philippines by the Nipponese Sunday morning. (Dec. 11, 1941) World War Two will dominate the better part of the decade.
  • Wilbur Salmon, 22, Coffey, became Daviess County’s first casualty in the new World War when he was killed in action at Pearl Harbor. (Dec. 18, 1941)
  • On the home front, patriotic rallies were held and there was an all out effort to sell defense stamps and bonds. Daviess County was asked to raise $2,000 for the Red Cross War Fund. (Dec. 25, 1941)
  • Scrap drives are numerous and give folks the sense of helping with the war effort. A survey of automobile “graveyards” began in connection with the salvage campaign.
  • “The need for scrap iron is pressing…so American Industry can maintain the greatest possible production of planes, ships, guns and bombs. Many small smelters and blast furnaces are depending on America’s farm to provide them with scrap metal. (Feb. 26, 1942)

Rubber Drives

  • Conservation of war-needed supplies — rubber, gasoline and equipment, to name a few, begins.
  • Rubber articles needed include old tires, tubes, overshoes, doormats, car mats, rubber balls, baby buggy tires, and other items containing rubber. Farmers are urged to search barns, cellars, attics, and sheds for any of these articles. Here are the facts about rubber and the war: A four motor bomber requires as much rubber as three dozen passenger cars; a battleship uses more rubber than 4,000 automobiles; the amount of rubber used in a tire will make eight gas masks; and three unbuilt passenger cars will put wheels on a 37 mm. Anti-aircraft gun. (June 25, 1942)
  • New automobile tires and tubes are rationed. (Dec. 25, 1941)
  • New car production slows down. Daviess County automobile dealers will be permitted to sell at total of 11 new cars in the period of about three months ending May 31. (March 5, 1942). By 1942, automobile production had ceased.
  • Paper is in short supply. The Daviess County Defense Counsel asks, “Help conserve our supply of paper by bringing your market basket or shipping bag. Return all sacks, egg cartons, boxes to your grocer. A paper shortage now exists. (Jan. 8, 1942) Veterans organizations with the aid of Boy Scouts will make a concerted waste paper drive. (Aug. 10, 1944)
  • The next big program in the war effort is one that to most folks, is hitherto unheard of. A milkweed pod collecting program for the boys and girls of the county is being planned and must get underway next week as then the milkweed pods will be ready to be picked. The milkweed pod has been found to be a very good substitute for kapok. Possibly most of us had the idea that kapok was used only in sofa cushions (if we had every heard of it at all). But we find that it has long been used in the manufacture of important war material, particularly lifesaver jackets and aviator suits. (Aug. 10, 1944)

Hope Funeral Home was located south of the Gallatin United Methodist Church at 108 West Van Buren Street. Harry Hope purchased the inventory of the Gallatin Undertaking Company in 1917 and then operated one of the oldest funeral homes in Northwest Missouri. L.O. “Stub” Richesson married into the family, operated a furniture business and acquired half interest in the funeral home upon Harry’s death in 1941. In 1969 the third generation of Hope’s starting serving Daviess Countians when Jan and her husband, Steve Helton, returned to Gallatin and purchased the funeral home in 1982. (photo circa 1940s)

  • Daviess County civilian volunteers register for defense work. Some of the things that come under the program are: Salvaging needed materials; work on campaign promotion sale of defense bonds and stamps; serving as an auxiliary policeman or fireman; assisting the public health nursing program. (Jan. 22, 1942)
  • The women meet at the Red Cross workroom to make badly needed surgical dressings. (June 29, 1944) Remembering and wanting to avoid the terrible epidemic of the last war, classes on good health became a prime requisite of civilian defense. (Feb. 12, 1942)
  • The feature “With Ernie Pile at the Front” keeps the people abreast of war activities.
  • Early on in the war the Gallatin Democrat reports that there will be no more lists of draftees in print “because the United States government doesn’t want to give the enemy any information that might be useful.” (Dec. 25, 1941)

On the Farm Scene

  • Adoption of a national policy for the deferment of military service for essential farm labor was proposed as the growing shortage of agricultural workers threatened to curtail the nation’s food supply. (Feb. 12, 1942)
  • Many farmers refused to be deferred. “One of the hardest men you have to convince that he is a specialist is the farmer,” said Brigadier-General Lewis B. Hershey, selective service director, to the House agriculture committee. “Farmers are patriotic. They don’t try to get exemptions.” (Feb. 26, 1942)
  • Farm families were asked to enroll in the state-wide Food for Home program. They were asked to produce a garden with at least 20 kinds of vegetables; five hens for each member of the family; two cows for family use; livestock to make 150 pounds of meat for each person; and six kinds of fruit. (Jan 8, 1942)
  • Victory Gardens supplied 40% of vegetables consumed on the home front. A canning factor was in operation under the auspices of the WPA..
  • “A tour of inspection disclosed the fact that the 25-acre tract east of Gallatin has been well taken care of. About seven and a half acres are planted with potatoes, balance is divided into peas, beans, beets, carrots, string beans, tomatoes, green mustard and other vegetables that can be canned and used for winter school lunches. Cleanliness was an attractive feature of the canning factory. A steam boiler has been installed and actual canning is now in progress. The factory capacity output is from 1500 to 200 quarts a day. (June 18, 1942)

This photo shows the eight players and coach of the basketball team at Altamont High School in 1940-41.

  • Rationing affected all aspects of life, transportation, recreation, food, clothes, cleaners. All retailers of sugar in Daviess County must register for sugar rationing. (March 5, 1942)
  • The Zoot Suit was the height of fashion until cloth got scarce. Mrs. America’s husband may look a bit on the skimpy side this spring. The War Production Board has officially ordered simplification of suits and overcoats for both men and boys. Only noticeable change in a suit will be the absence of trouser cuffs. Trouser are to be made narrower and coats shorter.

The Girdle is Gone

  • After bowing to an enraged female lobby who foresaw feminine charm crushed and bleeding under the heavy hand of priorities, the rubber section of the War Production board has again turned against curve control. No rubber thread will be available at all for the manufacture of corsets, girdles, brassieres and foundation garments for general use.
  • Carpets may have to do for a long time. Since the entire supply of jute comes form India, it will be necessary to “freeze” all jute yarns and allow its use only for war needs.
  • A word to the wise: War demands for chlorine are increasing and further restriction on this vital chemical may be necessary. (March 12, 1942)
  • More and more men are called away from home. Draft rules were relaxed and physical standards reduced to make more man power available for the war effort. “Young males are getting so scare it won’t be long until the women are tipping their hats to the men.” (March 12, 1942)

Roof demolition at First National Bank (circa 1940) on south side of Gallatin square. Next door business is the Farmers Store (shoes and dry goods; Philco sign), then Place Bros.

  • Women get their first real taste of independence as they are needed to replace men in the factories and on the farms. Working women are symbolized by Rosie the Riveter.
  • “Women will replace men in the farm fields of Missouri by mid-summer,” was the prediction made by William Orr Sawyers, legal adviser to the Missouri selective service. “They did it in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and I am sure they can do it again. (March 5, 1942)
  • Over half of government jobs were reclassified, allowing women and blacks to fill them. Single women were the first to make an exodus into the workforce, married women soon followed.
  • FDR died in April of 1945, but on May 8, 1945, “V-E Day” was celebrated. “Victory in Europe was proclaimed by President Truman. On a radio hook-up, he solemnly warned: “Our victory is but half won. The West is free but the East is still in bondage to the treacherous tyranny of the Japanese.” (May 10, 1945)
  • Japan surrendered, but only after atomic bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

At Long Last, War Ends

  • A few minutes after 6 o’clock Tuesday evening, the long and eagerly awaited announcement that war with Japan had ended, was received here. Many gathered on the public square shouting with joy, while car sirens sounded, bells rang and the alarm screamed for several minutes. Other folks gathered around radios to hear the dramatic announcements by officials. Somme merrymakers celebrated considerably throughout the night, many attending the circus which was in town and other just stayed home and listed to radios and quietly rejoiced. Business was suspended. In the evening, many went to a prayer service at the Baptist Church, where short talks, prayers of thanksgiving and songs of rejoicing were rendered. (Aug. 16, 1945)
  • And so the men returned. They had seen Paris and the rest of the world. “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm?” was the question. The GI’s  home now herald the “Baby Boom.”
  • Twins in any community always create a lot of interest but when there is literally an “epidemic” of them, it is really something! Little did anyone think, when Cinda Sue and Linda Lou arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marion Hill in Jamesport Feb 2 that “it was only the beginning.” But such it proved to be, for just a week and an hour later, Dr. F.B. Bailey was again called and delivered the second set of twins to Mr. and Mrs. Buel Wiles, who live on the same street. These twins, born four minutes apart, Feb. 9, are a boy and a girl and weighed exactly five and one-half pounds each. They have been named Jack and Joyce.
  • Then, realizing this must be a nice street for twins, a boy and a girl made their appearance at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Spillman Jr. These twins were born at Cullers hospital in Trenton Feb. 12. Kent Nelson tipped the scales at nine pounds and his sister, Kay Lynn, weighed eight pounds. The half-dozen babies and their mothers are all getting along nicely, but the three fathers have not yet recovered from the shock. (Feb. 15, 1945)
  • At war’s end, the Gallatin Democrat reports that a military secret for three and a half years may now be disclosed. There have been 1,150 men from Daviess County who have entered the service. According to an unofficial list made up by this newspaper, 43 lives have been sacrificed. (Aug. 16, 1945)

This memorial plaque is prominently displayed in the Daviess County Courthouse in Gallatin, MO, to remember those who gave their lives in military service during World War II (1941-45). Dedication ceremonies conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their Auxiliary were held May 30, 1953.

  • By the end of the decade, war production has pulled the nation out of the Great Depression.
  • Daviess County returns to normal and gets its usual flood. New river surge spells added ruin throughout the county. Torrential rains Saturday and Sunday send Grand River and creeks to new highs, causing further damage to crop lands, roads and bridges, highest at Pattonsburg since 1909. (June 26, 1947)

The Grand River frequently flooded the old town site of Pattonsburg, MO, as shown this aerial photograph. (date unknown)

Other Significant News

  • The discovery of penicillin in 1940 revolutionized medicine.  Approximately 885 billion units of penicillin have been released since March 15 through normal channels for civilian distribution, WPB said. Quantities of penicillin may be made available soon in dosage, forms such as tablets, preparations, convenient for physicians and patients. (June 28, 1945)
  • The Daviess County Airport is located west of Gallatin. The Gallatin Flying club has one airplane under lock and key but available to members at any time. (July 17, 1947)

In 1946 Gallatin Flying Club owned and operated the Daviess County Airport, located a mile west of Gallatin which later became Daviess County Country Club Golf Course. A metal building was erected by club members as a hanger, financed by donations. Shown is a Piper Cub, left, and a new, all-metal Luscombe Silvaire which was owned by Lester (Stub) Graham who flew heavy bombers during World War II. (Gallatin Democrat photo, June 27, 1946)

  • Gallatin voters turn down a levy for road and bridge work. (July 3, 1947) but vote ‘yes’ on a light-water and memorial airport bond issues. (Sept. 25, 1947)
  • State Highway No. 13 is scheduled to be “blacktopped” in 1948. (Sept. 18, 1947)
  • A tiny farm tractor, weighing only 1,165 pounds and called the smallest one the market, is the latest aid offered to small farms. The tractor will sell at a base price of $545 and with extra parts, such as plows, harrows, planters, cultivators and mowers, the entire cost will be $828. (July 3, 1947)
  • Most popular songs these days, according to a survey by Variety theatrical magazine, are “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” “Accentuate the Positive” “Rum and Coca-Cola” “I Dream of you.” and “There Goes That Song Again.” (Jan. 3, 1946)
  • Daviess County Horse Show held at Gallatin’s Dockery Park is shaping up to be the biggest and best ever held. (July 17, 1947) A 1947 Chrysler Windsor sedan will be awarded to someone of the final night and six other brand new cars will be auctioned off at the Horse Show. (July 24, 1947)

— research compiled by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO

Note: Printed editions of the Gallatin North Missourian and the Gallatin Democrat are preserved on microfilm and available for viewing at the Daviess County Library, 306 West Grand Street, Gallatin, MO 64640

Some facts about the decade of 1940-50:

      • Population: 132,122,000
      • Unemployed in 1940: 8,120,000
      • National Debt: $43 Billion
      • Average Salary $1,299; teacher’s salary $1,441; minimum wage $.43 per hour
      • 55% of U.S. homes have indoor plumbing
      • Antarctica is discovered to be a continent
      • Life expectancy: 68.2 female, 60.8 male
      • Auto deaths: 34,500
      • Supreme Court decides blacks do have a right to vote
      • World War II changed the order of world power, the United States and the USSR became super powers Cold War begins.

The following information is researched from the Kingwood College Library American Cultural History The Twentieth Century. Images of local interest were inserted as this information was posted online.

  • The 1940’s were dominated by World War II. European artists and intellectuals fled Hitler and the Holocaust, bringing new ideas created in disillusionment. War production pulled us out of the Great Depression. Women were needed to replace men who had gone off to war, and so the first great exodus of women from the home to the workplace began. Rationing affected the food we ate, the clothes we wore, the toys with which children played.
  • After the war, the men returned, having seen the rest of the world. No longer was the family farm an ideal; no longer would blacks accept lesser status. The GI Bill allowed more men than ever before to get a college education. Women had to give up their jobs to the returning men, but they had tasted independence.
  • The 1940s are pretty well defined by World War II. U.S. isolationism was shattered by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt guided the country on the home front, Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the troops in Europe. Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz led them in the Pacific.

During the Great Depression, the Kidder community moved its public school into the Kidder Institute buildings. In 1943 the local school district acquired title to the property due to foreclosure on the mortgage. Thayer Hall was razed. In 1955 the school was renamed “The Shaw Memorial School.” In 1981 the public school was removed and the campus was sold to the City of Kidder. For a time, the facility was home to Thayer Learning Center, a Christian-based boot camp for troubled youth ages 11-18 from across the country. But that facility closed following a lawsuit for the death of an inmate. Then the building was listed as White Buffalo Academy, but buildings stood unused and empty.

  • The discovery of penicillin in 1940 revolutionized medicine. Developed first to help the military personnel survive war wounds, it also helped increase survival rates for surgery. The first eye bank was established at New York Hospital in 1944. Unemployment almost disappeared, as most men were drafted and sent off to war.

Jameson’s “hard rock café” near the southeast corner of Main Street and Highway OO was built in the late 1930’s by Bob Steele for Judge and Hazel (Smedley) Gaines to open a gas station and café. Ava Pugh owned the building for a time and sold it in the late 1940’s to John (J.C.) and Mildred Roberts, who operated Roberts Café and Standard Oil Gas Station there. A bit later the couple pictured here, Cliff and Elzada Roberts, parents of J.C, took over running the café and station, which they operated until the 1960’s. Some of the others who operated a café in this building were Donna King, Dorothy VanBelkum, Tom McHarque, Mary Beeman, Donnie & Georgia Moulin, and Alan & Mae Hoyle.

  • The government reclassified 55% of their jobs, allowing women and blacks to fill them. First, single women were actively recruited to the workforce. In 1943, with virtually all the single women employed, married women were allowed to work. Japanese immigrants and their descendants, suspected of loyalty to their homelands, were sent to internment camps. There were scrap drives.
  • Returning GI’s created the Baby Boom, which is still having repercussions on American society today. Although there were rumors, it was only after the war ended that Americans learned the extent of the Holocaust.
  • Realization of the power of prejudice helped lead to Civil Rights reforms over the next three decades.

Members of the Gallatin Christian Church pose during the 100th Anniversary celebration of the congregation held on June 23, 1943.

  • The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights, entitled returning soldiers to a college education. In 1949, three times as many college degrees were conferred as in 1940. College became available to the capable rather than the privileged few.
  • Before the war, British and German inventors were working on jet aircraft. The designs had flaws, and the prototypes crashed, killing the pilots. It wasn’t until 1948 that a U.S. company, Boeing, developed the Sabre, the first operational jet fighter. Television made its’ debut at the 1939 World Fair, but the war interrupted further development.

Bob (Robert Harold) Drummond and his family moved to Jameson in June, 1945, after his discharge from the U.S. Army’s Sixth Armor Field Artillery Division during World War II. In 1950 he built and operated a welding and mechanic garage with his wife LaVerne, who was the parts person for the business. In 1957, Bob hired Ralph Hughes and Ralph Shaw to work in the garage. Bob later sold the business to Leroy Miller. The building in 2017 is now housing Jameson City Hall.

  • In 1947, commercial television with 13 stations became available to the public. Computers were developed during the early forties. The digital computer, named ENIAC, weighing 30 tons and standing two stories high, was completed in 1945.
  • In architecture, nonessentials were eliminated, and simplicity became the key element. In some cases, such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous glass house, even practicality was ignored. Modern glass-and-steel office buildings began to rise after the war ended. Pietro Belluschi designed the prototype Equitable Savings and Loan building, a “skyscraper” of 12 stories. Eliel Saarinen utilized contemporary design, particularly in churches.
  • The American dream home remained a Cape Cod. After the war, suburbs, typified by Levittown, with their tract homes and uniformity, sprang up to house returning GI’s and their new families. The average home was a one level Ranch House, a collection of previously unaffordable appliances surrounded by minimal living space. The family lawn became the crowning glory and symbol of pride in ownership.

These young athletes played on the Gallatin High School football team during the 1946 fall season

Music and Radio

  • Like art, music reflected American enthusiasm tempered with European disillusionment. While the European emigres Bueno Walter, George Szell, Bela Bartok, Arnold Schoenberg, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, and Nadia Boulanger introduced classical dissonance, American born composers remained more traditional, with Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring (1944) and Rodeo (1942). William Schuman wrote his Symphonies #3 (1941) through #7 (1949).

Using financing made available for public works during the Depression, Gallatin constructed an addition onto the Gallatin High School providing more classrooms and a gymnasium which featured a performance stage on the north side with bleachers for seating across the gym floor on the south side. Shown are members of the Gallatin High School Band in 1941.

  • At the beginning of the decade, Big Bands dominated popular music. Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman led some of the more famous bands. Eventually, many of the singers with the Big Bands struck out on their own. Bing Crosby’s smooth voice made him one of the most popular singers, vying with Frank Sinatra. Dinah Shore, Kate Smith and Perry Como also led the hit parade.
  • Be-Bop and Rhythm and Blues, grew out of the big band era toward the end of the decade. Although these were distinctly black sounds, epitomized by Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie, Thelonious Mon, Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Woody Herman.

Walter Sylvester Page, (born to Edward and Blanche Page on Feb. 9, 1900, at Gallatin, MO) was an American swing-era musician, one of the first to play “walking” lines on the string bass. A pioneer of the Southwestern jazz style, he was a star of the Count Basie Band during its greatest period. Page clearly understood the role of bass in jazz. His family moved to Kansas City when he was 10 years old. Page became one of the most important figures in jazz, beginning in 1920. He earned a degree in music education and played bass in the Bennie Moten Orchestra before forming Walter Page’s Blue Devils. When Moten passed in 1935, Count Basie assumed leadership and Page re-joined the newly minted ensemble, the “All American Rhythm Section.”

Jazz leader Walter Page of Gallatin, MO, had a major influence on the jazz masters of his day, including Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He is shown here with Freddie Green (guitar), Jo Jones (drums), and Count Basie (piano) on Nov. 9, 1938. His early death at age 57 on Dec. 20, 1957, in New York may have been a factor contributing to his relative obscurity in the history of jazz.

  • Radio was the lifeline for Americans in the 1940’s, providing news, music and entertainment,, much like television today. Programming included soap operas, quiz shows, children’s hours, mystery stories, fine drama, and sports. Kate Smith and Arthur Godfrey were popular radio hosts.
  • The government relied heavily on radio for propaganda. Like the movies, radio faded in popularity as television became prominent. Many of the most popular radio shows continued on in television, including Red Skelton, Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Truth or Consequences.

Books and Literature

  • The decade of 1940-50 opened with the appearance of the first inexpensive paperback. Book clubs proliferated, and book sales went from one million to over twelve million volumes a year. Many important literary works were conceived during, or based on, this time period, but published later. Thus, it took a while for the horror of war and the atrocities of prejudice to come forth.

Jameson native John Smith worked at the Caraway Grocery in Jameson from 1938 to 1941. Then John and his wife, Marjorie (Franks), started the Smith Grocery Store on the south side of Second Street and east of the rock café in Jameson. They operated it for nine years, from approximately 1946 to 1955. In 1956, they sold the store to Harold Adams when John was appointed postmaster of the Jameson Post Office. Later the Maharg Grocery operated in the same building.

  • Shirley Jackson wrote The Lottery to demonstrate how perfectly normal, otherwise nice people, could allow something like the Holocaust. In The Human Comedy, William Saroyan tackles questions of prejudice against the setting of World War II. Richard Wright completed Native Son in 1940 and Black Boy in 1945, earning acclaim, but government persecution over his communist affiliation sent him to Paris in 1945.
  • Nonfiction writing proliferated, giving first-hand accounts of the war. The first edition of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care is considered by some to have changed child rearing.

Tolbert Skelly Oil once was doing business at Gallatin, MO. Shown in the background is D.O. Radmardson Insurance, at left, and Gallatin Motor Company, far right. (circa 1945)

In popular dancing, the Jitterbug made it’s appearance at the beginning of the decade. It was the first dance in two centuries that allowed individual expression. GI’s took the dance overseas when they to war, dancing with local girls, barmaids, or even each other if necessary.

Rosie the Riveter was the symbol of the working woman, as the men went off to war and the women were needed to work in the factories. GIs, however, preferred another symbol, the pin-up girl, such as Rita Hayworth or Betty Grable. Pictures were mounted on lockers and inside helmets to remind the men what they were fighting for.

Wherever American soldiers went, even the first to arrive would find a picture of eyes and a nose, with the message, Kilroy was Here. After they returned, Kilroy began to mark his place on the walls and rocks of public places. More than one pregnant woman came into the delivery room with “Kilroy was here” painted on her belly.

  • Working mothers, combined with another new phenomenon, the refrigerator, led to the invention of frozen dinners. With the advent of television later in the decade, they became known as TV Dinners.
  • Tupperware and aluminum foil eased the postwar housewives’ burden, and diners, originally horse drawn carriages with a couple of barstools, became stationary and a respectable staple of the postwar culture. The Slinky was invented by a ship inspector in 1945.

Following World War II, ex-servicemen and the families resided in trailers at Dockery Park in Gallatin, MO. The Federal Public Housing Authority furnished six units plus laundry and bath house. A $22 a month rent provided everything except bedding, kitchen utensils and fuel for the oil-burning space heaters.

  • Teenagers became a recognized force in the forties. With the men off to war, teenagers – boys and girls – found employment readily available, and so had money to spend. Seventeen magazine was established in 1944. Advertisement began to be aimed at teens. With fathers away and mothers at work, another phenomenon arose: the juvenile delinquent.

This car belonging to Harley Pittman was parked at the Rock Island train depot at Gallatin, MO, in 1948. (courtesy Juanita Pittman, KC)

  • The Zoot Suit was the height of fashion among daring young men until the War Production Department restricted the amount of fabric that could be used in men’s garments. The same restrictions led to the popularity of the women’s convertible suit, a jacket, short skirt, and blouse. The jacket could be shed for more formal attire at night.
  • Silk stockings were unavailable, so, to give the illusion with stockings with their prominent seam, women would draw a line up the backs of their legs with an eyeliner. At work, as “Rosie the Riveter” took on a man’s work, slacks became acceptable attire.
  • When the war and it’s restrictions ended, Christian Dior introduced the New Look, feminine dresses with long, full skirts, and tight waists. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes were forsaken for high heels. Hair was curled high on the head in front, and worn to the shoulders in the back, and make-up was socially acceptable. Glamourous Rita Hayworth made the sweater look popular. It took time to put the New Look together, time the women now had as the men returned to their jobs in the factories and offices

Businessman Eddie Elbert owned and operated a retail clothing store in Gallatin, MO, and for a time a branch store at neighboring Maysville. His son, Wm. Spence Elbert, continued the business located on the south side of the Gallatin business square. First known as the Farmers Store, Elbert’s Department Store was operated by the Elbert family for over nine decades. (date unknown)

Theater and Film

  • The theater, too, turned to abstractionism. Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of our Teeth (1942) was bizarre and difficult to understand but won the Pulitzer Prize. Tennessee Williams wrote of self-disillusionment and futility in the Glass Menagerie (1945) and Streetcar named Desire (1947). In contrast Musical Theater was reborn, with Agnes de Mille’s technique of dancing in character in Oklahoma (1943). Carousel (1945), and Annie get your Gun (1946).
  • The 1940s were the heyday for movies. The Office of War declared movies an essential industry for morale and propaganda. Most plots had a fairly narrow and predictable set of morals, and if Germans or Japanese were included, they were one-dimensional villains. Examples are Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, Lifeboat, Notorious, Best Years of our Lives, Wake Island, Battle of Midway, Guadalcanal Diary, Destination Tokyo. Citizen Kane, not fitting the template, was one of the masterpieces of the time.

Film actor Wild Bill Elliott was born Gordon A. Nance on Oct. 16, 1904, on a farm near Pattonsburg, MO. He specialized in playing the rugged heroes of B Westerns, particularly the Red Ryder series of films.

Buzz Barton was an American film actor. William Andrew Lamoreaux, born in Gallatin, MO, on Sept. 3, 1913, became known as “The Boy Wonder of Westerns” after his family moved to California. He is predominantly known for his roles as a child actor in a number of silent westerns made by the FBO studios during the 1920s. Following the introduction of sound, he mainly played supporting roles. Working for MGM and Universal, Barton made more than 50 feature films. After World War II, his name was more widely known by a BB gun manufactured and distributed by the Daisy Company,  the “Buzz Barton Special Daisy Air Rifle” (complete with telescope sight).

  • Leading actors were Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Jimmy Stewart, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner.
  • Walt Disney’s career began to take off, with animated cartoons such as Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942). During the war years, the studio produced cartoons for the government, such as Donald gets Drafted (1942), Out of the Frying Pan into the Firing Line (1942) and Der Fuehrer’s Face.

Walter Elias Disney (1901-1966) was an American animator, film producer and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons.

  • The Emergency Committee of the Entertainment Industry, composed of both black and white actors, fought for better roles for blacks. Lena Horne, Hattie McDaniel, and Cab Calloway, among others, made small inroads. The boom years of movies faded with the advent of television in 1948.

Television Emerges

  • At the end of the war, only 5,000 television sets, with five inch black & white screens, were in American homes. By 1951, 17 million had been sold. The Original Amateur Hour, a revival of a popular radio show, was the first top-rated show in 1948.
  • Milton Berle’s slapstick comedy, Texaco Star Theater, was credited with creating the demand for televisions. It’s greatest rival was Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town.
  • Kukla, Fran & Ollie kicked off children’s television as Junior Jamboree in 1947, followed by the Howdy Doody Show. The sitcom made its appearance in January, 1949, with The Goldbergs.

The building known as Duly’s Garage since 1946 has been one of the main gathering places for Jameson folks since the existence of Jameson as a town. Originally on this site on the east side of Main street was a brick building, three lots wide and two stories tall; the Jameson Opera House was located on the second story. Later, the Farmers Bank of Jameson occupied the lower level of the northern-most lot of the original building. In 1936 the entire block of buildings was destroyed by fire. From partially standing walls, two single-story brick buildings were constructed. The southern-most lot is the location of Alexanders’ Market. On the northern-most lot was built an automotive garage. Several owners and others operated automotive businesses in the building, but Robert F. and Eleanor A. Duly owned it for the longest period of time and are the most well known operators.

Note: Printed editions of the Gallatin North Missourian and the Gallatin Democrat are preserved on microfilm and available for viewing at the Daviess County Library, 306 West Grand Street, Gallatin, MO 64640