The following is from exactly 100 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on February 17th, 1913. Can the decline of the newspaper industry be traced to the loss of articles like these in the last century?
(Photograph is of John Wiernasz, a policeman in the 1920s, from a story on our city's Polish immigrants from Middlesex Historical Society).
Middletown Police Station Attacked by Small Female Army.
The sergeant on duty at the police station felt nervously to see if his revolver was in place in his hip pocket and the doorman sought safety under a table, when seventeen women, apparently excited and belligerent, entered the station in a body and lined up before the desk tonight about 11 o'clock.
"We bane from Meriden. We want to be locked up," was the chorus that greeted the sergeant's ears, in seventeen different varieties of Polish dialect, when the women had sufficiently recovered their breath to talk.
The sergeant decided to investigate and await threatening action on the part of the strangers before taking extreme measures.
"What have you done that we ought to lock you up for?" he demanded.
"We bane from Meriden---," began the chorus again, but the sergeant interrupted.
"I understand that," he said, "That's bad enough, but we can't arrest you for it."
The sergeant finally found that the seventeen were all members of a Meriden Polish Church, who had come to Middletown to attend a service at the Polish church here. The last trolley car from Middletown to Meriden leaves at 10:30 on week nights, but goes ten minutes earlier on Sundays. Not knowing this difference in the Sunday schedule, the seventeen women stayed at the church too long and missed the last car.
When the situation was explained to the sergeant he found himself facing a serious dilemma. There are eight cells in the lock-up and three of them were already occupied. This left five cells, each about two feet by four to be divided between seventeen people. He figured it out on paper and found that it would be three and two-thirds of a woman to a cell. "Impossible," was his verdict when he had worked the problem out.
At the sergeant's suggestion, the women finally decided to go down to the Polish quarter of the town, where, with the assistance of the police, they all found lodging. They will remain until the cars start running tomorrow morning.