Even though it happened more than 50 years ago, Bonnie (Lichteberger) Mulhollan of Wadsworth still remembers how embarrassed she was that day.

The 1958 graduate of Wooster High School was working part time in the cosmetics department at the Wm. Annat Co. when — after making a sale — she got flustered and accidentally sent the customer's payment through the store's pneumatic tube system without first putting the money in the brass carrier. The loose bills were sucked into the overhead conveyance and quickly became stuck somewhere in limbo.

In order to force the payment along its route from the cosmetics department to the upstairs business office, the panicky sales clerk and her co-workers quickly began shoving a succession of carriers through the tube system hoping to force the money out on the other end. Eventually the payment was retrieved upstairs by the late Judy (Baus) Gehrig, a part-time cashier at the time.

Years later Mulhollan learned that another novice sales clerk at Annat's had done the same thing.

"I was relieved," she said, "that I wasn't the only sales clerk that happened to."

The 'Great Fire'

On the evening of Dec. 11, 1901, the first major structure ever built on The University of Wooster campus burned to the ground. The fire in Old Main's west wing was ignited by spilled chemicals ... however, it was the inclement weather outside that played a major role in the total destruction of the main academic building.

When the fire department's horse-drawn equipment headed up the hill on North Bever Street, the frozen, ice-covered bricks prevented the struggling horses from gaining any traction. By the time the firemen finally arrived at "Old Main," it was totally engulfed in flames and there was little the firemen could do.

In his book, "An Adventure in Education, The College of Wooster from Howard Lowry to the Twenty-First Century," author Jerry Footlick wrote that the day following the fire, then-president Louis Holden commented to industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, "Yesterday I was president of a college. Today I am president of a hole in the ground."

Humorous sign

A photograph taken at Freedlander's department store appeared in the National Enquirer on June 18, 1991. The picture was taken from the top of the store's cordoned off basement steps looking down into a pitch-black lower level.

Prominently displayed at the top of the steps was a large, humorous sign informing shoppers that the "Basement Has Moved to the Third Floor."


A gallon of gas cost 23 cents back in 1956.

Thought you should know.

Columnist Ann Gasbarre can be reached at agasbarre@gmail.com or 330-345-6419.