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120 Years Ago

Feb. 23, 1894

Never have we seen the northern sky so beautifully illuminated as last night about seven o’clock. The phenomenon was the aurora borealis, not often seen in this part of the country. It was a magnificent sight and lighted up the heavens for some time with all the colors of the rainbow blended together.

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Yesterday evening M.J. Cochran, the Aberdeen attorney, was arrested on the charge of assault with a deadly weapon, upon James Stewart, a well-known resident of Aberdeen. The trouble occurred a few days ago in this city, and is not the first difficulty that has taken place between them. Cochran was taken before Judge Bignold, and waived examination, giving bonds in the sum of $500 for his appearance in superior court.

100 Years Ago

Feb. 20, 1914


Falling from a handcar, running at the fullest speed the machine could be driven by a husky crew, on the Northern Pacific Track in this city, last Friday evening, John Katerinis, a Greek section hand, was fatally injured by a second car, following close behind, that crashed into him before he could move from the rails on which he had fallen. The collision threw the car from the track and, in addition to crushing the chest and abdomen of the man on the ground, threw the men on the car into the ditch and inflicted severe bruises on several of them.

Katerinis was one of a number of Greeks who are working on an extra section gang on the Northern Pacific east of Montesano. The men had quit work and were coming to town on their handcars and were racing, working the cars at top speed. In some manner, Katerinis lost his grip on the car and fell to the track. The fall dazed him and before he could crawl from the rail the second car crashed into him. The wheels struck him in the chest, breaking in the ribs and inflicting fatal injuries. The accident occurred just at the eastern limits of this city and the wounded man was hurried to the City Hospital, where he died in an hour.

The funeral was held in this city and the body interred in Wynooche cemetery.

75 Years Ago

Feb 23, 1939

Harking back to the famous Maciejczak case, former Sheriff Jeff Bartell recently filed suit against Grays Harbor County, asking $4,186 in damages. He states that a claim for this amount, presented by him, was rejected by the Grays Harbor commissioners last October.

The suit grows indirectly out of the death of Thomas Maciejczak of North River, which occurred at the Western State hospital, Steilacoom, several years ago, a few days after he was removed from the Grays Harbor county jail. His widow, Mrs. Nellie Maciejczak, brought suit against Bartell and his deputies, alleging her husband’s death was due to mistreatment she claimed he received at the jail here. A jury awarded her $16,000. However, the case was sent back from the supreme court for retrial and settlement was finally made for $3,056. It is this, coupled with an attorney’s fee for $880 and costs of $250, upon which Bartell’s suit is based.

He alleges the county was negligent in failing to keep in order the “padded” cell in the jail for caring for insane persons. This cell was turned into a liquor-storage room during prohibition days.

50 Years Ago

Feb. 20, 1964

Monte Stage Coach Driver Dies at 104

Alfred E. Brown, who drove a stagecoach between Montesano and Olympia from 1887 to 1889, died last week in Caldwell, Idaho, at the age of 104. Born in Shelly County, Missouri, he moved to Montana in 1881 and came to Montesano five years later. After living here two years, he then moved to Idaho. He was the second oldest recipient of social security payments in the country and the oldest one in Idaho.

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Movie Star Margaret Rutherford and other Hollywood luminaries will invade the Montesano area this spring to begin filming a new Metro Goldwyn movie, “Each Man Should Have One,” according to Governor Albert Rosellini.

Wooded areas all the way from Aberdeen to Olympia will be used as principal locations for filming scenes for the original screenplay written by Ronald MacDonald.

The governor said that he closed the deal for making the picture during the New Year holidays when he and his wife were guests of Producer Ted Richmond in Southern California prior to the Rose Bowl game. According to Richmond, preliminary estimates place production costs at $3 million to $5 million.

Governor Rosellini said, “This should substantial stimulus to the economy of the area.”

25 Years Ago

Feb. 23, 1989

The Bishop Center at Grays Harbor College will be the site of the March 8 session of the Washington State Supreme Court, meeting at an invitation from the college. The court has agreed to convene at the GHC campus to allow citizens an opportunity to be more aware of the activities and functions of the state judicial system.

Three cases will be heard. Each case will last approximately one hour, with a question-and-answer period following the second and third cases.

Dr. Joe Malik, GHC president, notes that invitations to area high schools have been sent “in hope that selected classes might observe the court in session. This is a marvelous opportunity for both the college and high school students to learn more about the judicial system and its role within state government.”

10 Years Ago

Feb. 19, 2004

Grays Harbor County spent $42,655 last year on sign repair and replacement due to vandalism or theft, according to the annual Sign Vandalism report.

The list of the Top 10 most-stolen signs is: Wishkah Road, Boundary Road, Central Park Drive, North River Road, East Hoquiam Road, South Shore, Ocean Beach Road, Wynooche Road, Howanut Road and Cloquallum Road.

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