The Clovis Tribune’s April 5, 1918 front page headlines were as follows: “Goat Raising Among Indians;” “Festival Day Tomorrow, Parade Will Be The Largest Ever Held In Clovis;” “Election Next Month, Ordinance to Close Pool Halls and Sunday Movies.”
H. E. Armstrong was editor of the Clovis Tribune, which was published every Friday. A subscription fee of $1.50 provided home delivery.
Indian Agent Lorenzo Creel of Indian Services is quoted as saying: “Firmly convinced that the use of goats will regenerate the fast disappearing Indians by eradicating the inroads of tuberculosis among the children and that the goal will also furnish a meat supply that will tide them over many a hard winter.”
Agent Creel also stated: “Active steps are being taken to prevent dispossession of Indians from allotments through fraud or chicanery on the part of unscrupulous whites through fraudulent tax sales, by which they secure quasi title and then bluff the Indians from their homes.”
The 1918 Clovis Festival Queen Ruth Rouse of Santa Cruz, a handsome brunette and a teacher in the Garfield school, had 2,131 votes. Of the 12 contestants, Geneva Blair placed second by collecting 1,405 votes. A big basket lunch and picnic were held at the Clovis Avenue Park between 4th and 5th streets. Patriotic speeches were presented during the festival.
A “match game” between Kingsburg and Clovis was held at the Clovis High School in the afternoon. The Parlor Lecture Club of Fresno presented “A Patriotic Doll Shop” and a musical program was held at the auditorium in the evening.
Clovis historian Arthur Chedister, who published articles in the Clovis Independent 1953 and 1954, stated: “In 1911 or 1912 the City of Clovis built a large auditorium on Fourth Street across from the Baptist Church (NE corner of DeWitt and Fourth).
“This building was never completed, although it was sided and painted a gray color on the outside. It had a fairly well equipped stage up front, but the inside was never lined or plastered. In the winter it was heated by two huge good stoves, or rather, I should say, they attempted to heat it. In the summer it was cooled by opening all of the windows and simply letting the air blow through if there was a wind. However, the audiences were used to perspiring all summer, inside or out, so they did not mind.
“This building served Clovis for many years, as the site for religious revivals, high school and local talent plays, recitals, basketball games and for any other event which required a crowd larger than one of the churches could handle.
“With the wooden seats in place this old auditorium could hold about 500 people, maybe more. Used for basketball, it held about 200 howling fans. It was in this building that the high school basketball games were held from 1912 to well up into the 1920s. No dances were held in this building. ‘Heaven forbid’ for it was hallowed ground in ‘them there days.’”
The building was moved to Clovis High School at the northeast corner of Baron and 5th. It served as a gymnasium and basketball court. In 1975, the Clovis Fire Department set fire to the ancient building to clear the area for the new Clovis Civic Center as part of a training exercise.
On Jan. 12, 1917 a Clovis Tribune article reported that city trustees denied citizens their right to file a petition on moral issue to close the pool halls and end moving picture shows on Sunday. First Presbyterian Pastor Edwin H. Liles and Rev. Wm. J. Lee of Grace Methodist submitted 400 signatures of the “best people in Clovis” in favor of the ban. Trustee President Gibson stated: “Appalling growth of crime among youth of the land, evil, pernicious affects of pool rooms and the viscous picture show. No decency or morality.”
The ordinance to close pool halls and end moving picture shows on Sunday was placed on the April 8, 1918 election ballot.
Candidates for April 8, 1918 reelection on the Clovis Board of Trustees were E.C. Smallin, E. E. Reyburn and L.W. Gibson, L. E. Weldon, Clerk and T. Howison, Treasurer. Their opposition for trustee were W.L. Atkinson and Wm. Wertz. I.M. Bridges filed for the clerk position.
The article stated: “As none of the candidates for city office made any appeal to the public for support on any special platform, it narrows down to a choice of individuals. The election would be held in the room in the rear of the First National Bank (SW corner of 5th and Pollasky)”.
The incumbents, Gibson, Smallin, Reyburn, Weldon and Howison were returned to office. It’s not documented, but we believe that the ordinance to close the pool halls and limit shows on Sundays did not pass. We will continue to research the issue.
It happened 96 years ago in Clovis. It is a part of our rich heritage.