Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Owl - 1907 (Part 1)

Thanks to reader dkzody, I learned more about The Owl and why there were so many editions.
As for The Owl, it was actually the "newspaper" for Fresno High and the graduation editions were what we would call a yearbook as they had the pictures for the year in them. The school newspaper is now The Owlet and the yearbook is still The Owl.
I seem to remember seeing The Owlet around here so now that I understand the difference, I'll think differently about what I've got.  Thanks, dk!

This is an interesting advertisement.  I didn't realize that Gottschalks was in business in 1907 but, it turns out, it was founded in 1904 by German immigrant Emil Gottschalk.  In 1914 the store moved to another location (Kern and J (Fulton) streets) where they enjoyed ten times the space.  And they carried books!

My dad always talked about Gottschalks and as they grew and expanded into other areas, I was finally able to shop at the store I'd heard about since I was a kid.  Dad always had funny stories and as we'd drive him around in later years, he'd exclaim "I feel like Henry Korn!".  And while I knew that Henry Korn was a prominent Fresno citizen (with a driver), it wasn't until I did some quick research on Gottschalks today that I discovered Henry Korn was Emil Gottschalk's brother-in-law and chief executive following Emil's death.

I love seeing this drawing of what a well dressed man looked like in 1907.  Quite dapper!

Sounds like it was a bit scandalous when Miss Dunbar left Fresno High School expectedly.  Of course, my first thought was that she left due to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy - remember when young women had to leave and go live with a long-lost relative?

These want ads are puzzling.  How many people just happened to have 300 volumes of "Roberts' Rules of Order" lying around?  And how 'bout Isabel Noble looking for a new excuse for cutting gym?  Not just an excuse but a good one! 

Look at the 1907 version of a motocycle!  No, that's not a typo - it really was a motocycle and not motorcycle.  I even found one like this that was recently for sale.

I like this new Owl logo they used.

So all you had to do was wear good glasses to help your study habits?  Who knew?

Oh look, it's Gottschalks again.  And now they're hawking baseball goods and roller skates!

Just an example of what was reported in School Notes.  The best part is the drawing of the two young people trying to hold hands under their desks.

Marching on.

It's fun to see the fashions of the day - look at these stylish shoes.  What a bargain!

I just realized that my great grandfather, Herman Levy, worked for Kutner Goldstein Co. when he first moved to Fresno (from Borden, now Madera) somewhere around 1874.  He later owned and operated his own clothing store on Mariposa Street so by 1907 he was probably a competitor of the firm.


I'm not sure why they would consider investing in land a "good stunt for high school boys" - seems like it would be a great move.  Am I missing something?

I'd like to know more about Fresno's Thanksgiving Soap.  Obviously something they didn't have in the East.

I love this.  We hope one of the two people will be you - the other is no concern of ours. 

And look at this - we get the answer to where Miss Olive Dunbar disappeared to.  She got married!  I wonder if we'll see a birth announcement in the next few months. 

On to April.

I wonder what makes it soda season?  Springtime when kids are anxious to have something cold to drink after school?

Another competitor might have been Louis Einstein & Co.  Hand-made underwear?

In reading about Walk Over Shoes, I learned that the company was first started in 1758 by Levi Keith and continued on by his son, Benjamin, and grandson, Ziba.  Ziba's son, Franklin, was the first of the family to depend entirely on shoe making for his livelihood.  I'm not sure if this is the same company but they sure had some nifty (and inexpensive) shoes for young men.

So earlier we had cold drinks and now we're advertising hot drinks.  I can't get past oysters and tamales together in one ad!

As I continue to go through these gems from Fresno High School, I'm realizing that my roots run very, very deep in that city.



  1. The OWL goes back to 1893. It took awhile for me to uncover the origin of the name, but I finally found it: when the students started the school "paper," they had a discussion about a name. The group was in a large English classroom which had a large stuffed owl sitting high on one of the cabinets. They decided the owl was their mascot and overseer. This was before a school mascot--a Warrior. I never did find out the origin of the Warrior as the mascot.

  2. The ads are just so funny. Hand-made underwear -- I'd be wondering whose hands? "Walk Over Shoes" is a funny name. Oysters and Tamales -- you can't make this stuff up.

  3. The puzzling "Want Ads"? I'll bet they're like what most yearbooks have: "Most laid back senior is ____" (Actually my son was voted that two years ago!) Perhaps someone paid for that humorous ad and those were inside jokes for members of the school.

    Thanks for sharing these - lots of fun!