Marlene Gantt

Marlene Gantt

Every available member of the Rock Island police force was on duty Oct. 31, 1929.

Still, Halloween celebrators succeeded in destroying property at various points in Rock Island, according to the Rock Island Argus. “Officers were busy today checking reports of depredations, which flooded police headquarters, but were unable to pick up the trail of guilty gangs,” said the newspaper.

A car that belonged to Walter H. Bohling was stolen during the night near the Farmall Works of the International Harvester Co. in Rock Island. The auto was found in the backyard of 4019 7th Ave.

A garage and fence at 1617 29th St., the home of Louis Isenberg, were heavily damaged. The fence was torn down and pulled into the alley. It was believed that the same gang threw a bunch of garbage on the front porch of the home.

“C.E. Sharpe, 1611  21st St., told officers that a fence was torn down on his property, and a window was reported broken at 1916 12 St.,”said the Argus. “Officers also learned that a radio serial attached to the home at 2021 17 St. had been torn down.

“Officers said that a typical mob spirit prevailed in some of the gangs which were active in the city until midnight. In one instance, there were more than 50 youths, including girls, in a single gang which operated in the east end,” said the Argus.

Only four arrests were made on Halloween in Moline. “Moline police, said today, following a night spent in dispersing crowds of vandals and answering numerous calls from alarmed property owners, the property damage was slight,” said the Argus.

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Owen Johnson, Bob Behee and Celest Van Hulle, Moline teenagers, were arrested on charges of breaking a streetlight. Herman Paul, Davenport, 24, was caught pulling a streetcar trolley off the wire in the business district. The fire department answered only one false alarm.

“Passageway to ‘Old Main’ of Augustana College was blocked this morning" with a car, according to the Argus. “It was a Halloween prank perpetrated last night supposedly by some students, identities unknown," the paper said. "The owner of the car, a coup, is Carl J. Johnson, treasurer of the college and seminary. There are 43 steps from the sidewalk to the entrance and getting the auto to its high perch was something of a feat. Just how it was accomplished is a mystery of course, since no one is willing to admit complicity in the venture. It appears, however, that it was carried to its parking place.”

In Geneseo, the Argus said, "residents looked upon an almost new city this morning."

In the downtown business district, parts of a hay wagon were scattered over the main street, chairs were found in front of many stores. Soap had been smeared on the front of most of the store windows. Automobiles parked in the business district had their share of the soap coating.

“Cart wheels, a bushel of corn and numerous other objects were found in the boulevard in front of the home of James D. Darnall, high school principal, this morning,”said the Argus. Other residences were marked in the same fashion.

“The majority of the Halloween observers behaved in a lawful manner,” said the newspaper. “Boys and girls ran about the city in groups, masqueraded as members of the opposite sex, etc. Pumpkin faces, tick-tacks and ghosts were much in evidence.”

Marlene Gantt of Port Byron is a retired Rock Island teacher.


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