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South Pine gambling operation landed in court

This week in history

99 years ago in 1922:

• Authorities began the city’s case against Alex Bollis, charged with keeping a gambling place at South Pine Street, which police in two raids cleared of elaborate gambling paraphernalia.

City solicitor Lea examined and cross examined witnesses before Judge Jones in police court.

Bollis and his brother, Steve, told of operating a mere rooming house and “parlors” where soft drinks could be served if wanted.

Police in a double raid found the place carefully guarded, they say, and entrance was gained only after breaking through a heavy door. Bollis also was charged with violation of the screen law because of the door and closed entrance.

The South Pine street “gambling palace” was located on the second floor of a business block, and was equipped with the finest and most complete chance devices found in any recent raids made by local police.

50 years ago in 1971:

• David St. Clair, author of “Drum the Candle,” was scheduled to be the speaker at the third Elders’ Forum to be held at Howland Community Church.

St. Clair was to speak on, “Adventures in the Occult” and group discussions were to follow with St. Clair answering questions.

The Warren author was completing his volume “Psychic State,” in which he was writing about his observations of the occult movements in the Western United States. It was expected that he would talk about his book as well as his experiences in South America as a writer for Time, Life and Holiday magazines.

25 years ago in 1996:

• Melvin and Middy Smith had spent over 50 Valentine’s Days together as husband and wife.

The secret to their marital longevity: they went on dates.

“Every Saturday night, we keep for ourselves; you shouldn’t stop dating each other,” said Middy Smith, who married Melvin 10 days after he returned from four years of fighting in World War II. “Even when we had a family, we made it a practice to get a babysitter and spend Saturday night together.

“We’ve had our share of tough times — marriage is hard work — but we’re still in love,” she said.

The Smiths of West Farmington were among the 250 couples who came to Old Country Buffet to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a free dinner. All of them shared one prerequisite — they had to be married before Feb. 14, 1946.

10 years ago in 2011:

• Trumbull County historical groups gathered to hear plans to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, which started on April 12, 1861, with the attack of Confederate forces on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C. ,and ended four years later in 1865 with the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

The Civil War sesquicentennial was to be marked from 2011 to 2015 and would allow the public to learn the ways in which Ohioans had a deep influence on the war.

Rachel Doddato, coordinator of northeast Ohio’s Civil War 150th anniversary committee said events were planned across the state, including in Trumbull County.

Doddato said many organizations were seeking to promote their Civil War programs with special exhibitions, reenactments of characters from the time period, tours and publications.

The goal of the anniversary was to show new generations how Ohioans had a lasting impact on the war, how the war transformed Ohio and how culture was still affected in the present day by the historic time period.

— Compiled from the archives of the Tribune Chronicle by Allie Vugrincic.

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