Loren Berry



Annandel Park – Sonoma County – 2001


New from GreatHouse.

Participation in biographies.

To that international cyber cell called the Screenwriting-Research Network List.

An incredible group of people I usually just monitor but sometimes stick my two cents in.

Like now.

Not sure what literary form the enclosed would be considered. Perhaps a new type of foundation for a screenplay? In fact it consists of a fictional story wrapped within a beginning Introduction and an Ending of local facts assembled by the current County historian of the county where my grandfather grew up in. A fictional story wrapped between an explanation and set of the facts the author has worked with. Or maybe artifacts more than facts? Or worked around more than worked with?

Our new column on the symbolism of visual coolness will be posted soon on the Script Magazine website. The attached attempts to pull the reader (the student) into a participation in completing the telling of the story in what Marshall McLuhan would have called a type of “cool” media.



* * *

From The LM Berry:

Invention of an Industry Outline

Silver Beach

The 1907 Elopement

(A Berry Fiction Project Taken From The Outline)

John Fraim



For the past months, I’ve been creating a biography on my grandfather, Loren Berry. It is a chronology of the yearly events in his life and the greatest events of the time around him. In the town he grew up in. In the nation he was part of. The connection he had with a spirit in life called sales. At the beginning of a May out here in the desert the outline is at 40,000 words. Most of it in the early years of my grandfather’s life when he lived in and mostly in Wabash, Indiana. 1888 to 1912. The following section is taken from the 1907 section of this outline.

What is it in life that makes some people sales people and others not? Of course the territory these days is pretty wide ranging covering actors, politicians, big bankers, media people. All great sales people in life. All of the controllers of our lives.

Maybe it’s important to investigate what’s behind this sales spirit? Willie Lomas had some of it but my own grandfather was perfecting it long before The Death of a Salesman. In fact his story might be called The Birth of a Salesman because it seems so much full of life to me.

The attached material is the 1907 material from the LM Berry Biography Outline. We created a piece of fiction around it. Anyone else is certainly free to take these facts and mold them into a story. Not starting at the beginning of his or her story. But when each one of them was nineteen years old. The story of two nineteen-year-olds eloping together and going to the Silver Beach amusement park on the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan. One summer of course.

It just so happed that I was reading the critical essay on the “Brown Stocking” section of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse by Erich Auerbach in his brilliant Mimesis. I had even gone out and bought a copy of the 1928 novel from Barnes and Noble up in Palm Desert. Woolf afficiandos will notice the tip of the old hat to the beginning of To the Lighthouse. But more than just parodying lines of an incredible piece of art I think there is a Woolfish presence about the story in the techniques of interior monologue used in the section.

A section still in progress … within a story called “Silver Beach” after an amusement park that once was one of the grandest in America.

The section of the story just stops, like something went wrong with the red interurban they were riding. It stops just a few miles outside of the little resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan called St. Joseph. The place the two of them were eloping to. The only St. Joseph girls in Marion knew about was St. Joseph, Indiana people talked about. She was taken out of the little town were she was becoming more and more bound up in an insular world of small town America.

All boys the young hero’s age talked about how they would carry on things in life. Like boys always do. Some took it as a daily burden. Only to be suffered through on a never-ending daily routine worse than that rock the legendary person had to keep holding up. Or some image like that from the mythology images page on Google.

But others looked on all of this coming at them on a daily basis and decided to stand up to it and not be taken in my it. To somehow have something different from the others. What was it? Life had always been a burden for our story hero but he only sees opportunity in life at this time. He hardly has been introduced that psychic condition that would spread years later called “negativity.” The only attitude he seemed to have taken for himself with the growing power of a belief was that new quasi-business science called Salesmanship. Whatever this word meant. He was learning first hand in these years not what it meant to be a salesman but rather what it felt like. His feeling lingers in the background media atmosphere of the story.

When writing the story, we were initially planning on a quick literary trip from Marion to Silver Beach. But they stopped for lunch in South Bend and got waylaid. The part of James Oliver in the story is all true about the man. What is not true is that the two of them stopped in South Bend on their way to eloping at the St. Joseph amusement park on June 28, 1907. According to our own records (which contradict most “official” family records and always slam up against those other history creators for my own family) the two of them eloped without telling their parents in the summer of 1907.

Our family history, or the few people who have tried to write it, has usually ended with something that seemed contrived by family members who read it. I saw one of the biographies a well-known reporter for a Dayton newspaper wrote about my grandfather’s life. It wasn’t too bad but I misplaced it and no one seemed to have a copy of it. Except Stuart might have a copy perhaps. In his family history archive on his farm outside Ithaca, New York. Cousin Stuart. My partner in this project of family history.

Stuart observes that most of the writing about Loren Berry focus on the period after he arrived in Dayton, Ohio in 1910. Few attempt to shine any light on those early years of his life when he was growing up in Wabash, Indiana under the watchful eye of his mother who possessed the growing fervor of the temperance movement.

We have decided to focus on these first twenty-two years of his life. A period in his life that the others only give a respectful “node” to. No one wants to examine it. There is already a “cherry tree” type of George Washington mythology that has developed around the period. And this early past seemed a type of “settled” territory and not open for exploration. A few had staked some “flags” in this period of time. But they all told the same old story over and over again. One writer repeating the other and the other repeating another writer. It was worse than watching the sequels come out in Hollywood.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that there was also other forces at work (perhaps behind the scenes like all of shadows scurrying about in the background setting of a film set. Not the setting specified by a screenwriter in a screenplay. Rather, the real setting for the film. (If they were to ever move towards considering things like this). One was my interest in that current popular genre of writing called Fan Fiction as well as my long-time interest in Marshall McLuhan and particularly his book Understanding Media. The story attempts to offer a “cool” story rather than a “hot” story. The fact that it is unfinished in a linear sense adds to the argument of “coolness” or incompleteness. An incompletelness inviting participation in a completion. Being provided with a standard set of facts.

At the end of Silver Beach, we have pasted in the 1907 from the current version of the LM Berry Biography Outline. We have already waivered from it (as the reader can see by comparison) in that we have inserted an entire episode about taking the interurban rail system on their elopement in 1907.

Our theory is that the two eloped to Michigan and there is a good chance that they traveled on the interurban which the young salesman Loren Berry was becoming an expert at. The two of them might have even stopped in South Bend, Indiana and he might even have given her story like the one of James Oliver. For we know he must have had mentors in those years. We know that Joe Murphy was one. Men that showed him the way forward towards being a man after his father had died when he was four. Men that pulled him away from his mother. That stern person he always tried to understand but always seemed to be eluding him in some way. An only child. Trying to understand a single parent. She had already lost so much.

His mother was a stern, stoic woman. A high head in her local church. A proud woman. A woman who played some important part in the dynamics of the county temperance movement at the time. A woman forced to fend for herself in the world of the 1890s. In Wabash, Indian without a husband. To raise a son in these years. She never wanted him to leave her. It was something that event her practiced stern scowl towards life couldn’t take. And everyone could see a sadness in her after her son eloped with her and then left the town to seek out his fortunes in that magic city to the east he always talked about these days. The daily events of 1907 in Wabash, Indiana is supplied by county historian Ronald Woodward. All real events!




Silver Beach

The 1907 Elopement

“It should be fine tomorrow,” Lucile said to Loren. “But we’ll have to be up with the lark.”

The two sat on the porch of Lucile’s family home in Marion, Indiana on the hot afternoon of June 28, 1907. Big bees buzzed around the porch and hovered around the large pitcher of lemonade next to them. A red interurban car came down the street and stopped depositing a few passengers across the street and then clicked-clacked away and around the corner.

For nineteen-year-old Loren Berry there was an incredible joy in Lucile’s words. They were the words he was waiting to hear. They would be eloping and getting married and no one could stop them. His mother in Wabash twenty miles north thought he had been coming down to Marion for his growing business in selling barbershop annunciators and advertising on the interurban timetables. She knew nothing of the romance with Lucile in Marion. And the two had kept the romance hidden from Lucile’s parents in Marion. They were now away in Chicago for a week and it seemed the perfect time to elope and get married.

Loren extracted the interurban timetable card form his pocket and looked at it. He knew the schedule well but the confirmation of Lucile and the passing interurban car made him want to recheck it.

“Six tomorrow morning,” he said. “We take the red car up to Wabash and transfer to the yellow line at eight fifteen and then the yellow line to Warsaw and then at ten the green line to Plymouth and the orange line to South Bend at noon and the red line to St. Joseph at three o’clock.”

Lucile picked up the dog-eared flyer next to the lemonade pitcher with the photograph of the Silver Beach Amusement Park in St. Joseph, Michigan on it. The photograph was taken from a boat in Lake Michigan a few hundred feet from the shore where the amusement park rose out of the white sand. In the background, like the bone structure for rolling hills, was the famous Chase Through the Clouds roller coaster. Lucile smiled as her eyes focused on the roller coaster in the background of the photograph.

“I can’t wait to ride the roller coaster,” she said. It seemed to represent a symbol of the wild escape and marriage the two were about to embark on without any family members knowing about it.

“Ride the roller coaster with my new wife,” Loren added batting away a large bee in the syrup-thick humidity of the Indiana afternoon.

* * *

They stepped on the red car at six the next morning and were soon out of Marion gliding through the countryside heading north to Wabash. Lucile had packed a few things in a small suitcase and was asleep next to him. He looked down at the brown leather suitcase his mother had given him when he graduated from Wabash High School.

His mother Lizzie had worked so hard to buy it for him and she had so little money from the various jobs she was always patching together. He remembered the suitcase was somewhat of a reluctant gift from her. She would have preferred him to follow his father into the more respectable career of teaching.

“Our world is changing so fast,” she said to him many times. “There is a great need for teachers to tell the young about it.

His mother was a deeply religious person and connected with a temperance group in Wabash and his budding career in sales seemed connected with alcohol consumption and taking the interurban to far off towns. But she was constantly amazed at how good at sales he was. She told him this many times.

The farms turned into buildings and soon the red interurban car was in Wabash and Loren nudged a sleeping Lucile.

“We get off in a few minutes,” he said. “Then a half-an-hour wait for the yellow line into Warsaw.”

Lucile smiled and squeezed his arm rested her face on his shoulder.

“Still love me?” she asked.

Loren kissed her briefly.

“Still love you,” he said.

* * *

It went like this for the next few hours traveling between the towns of northern Indiana. A town and then farms and then a town and changing to another interurban line. Lucile was engaged in looking out the window at the new world outside the confines of the town of Marion where she had lived all her life. But it was all familiar territory for Loren who had travelled to these towns many times before in his sales job and he worked on the little book he always carried with him that listed his various sales accounts.

They had a few hours in South Bend, Indiana before their final trail to St. Joseph, Michigan and Loren took Lucile to the grand Oliver Hotel one of his favorite lunch places in town.

The young Loren had finalized a few advertising contracts at the restaurant inside the hotel and knew that Lucile would be impressed by it. She was impressed. It was hard not to be impressed. The lobby and rotunda of the hotel was a huge space with an Italian Renaissance theme and embellished in gold. Overhead on the ceiling of the rotunda were painted the images of 16 females representing the seasons, the arts, earth, water, fire and air and the lavish decor extended to all other areas of the hotel.

“You know so much about things,” Lucile said to him over lunch.

“Part of my business,” Loren said to her.

“Your business sounds exciting,” she said. “Traveling to new places all the time.”

“We’re both going to travel,” Loren said. “Exciting new places.”

Lucile was silent for a moment.

“It’ll be hard on your mother,” she said. “Leaving her in Wabash.”

“And hard on your parents too,” Loren said. “Leaving them in Marion.”

“Not as hard as it’ll be for your mother,” she said. “I have a lot of brothers and sisters to keep my parents company when I’m gone but your mother only has you. I know how much you talk about her and know how much she must dote on you.”

The nineteen-year-old waived his right hand in a sweeping motion so that it made reference to the great rounded painted sky above them.

“You can’t have success like this in Wabash,” the young man said. “And my mother wants success for me. Joseph Oliver who created this hotel travelled a long way from his home in Scotland to become create all this. I think I’m also going to have to travel a long way to become successful.”

Lucile forced a slight smile.

“Maybe,” she said. “But success is not always related to traveling great distances.”

“Your father was successful and he grew up just a hundred miles from Wabash.”

“If you call teaching successful,” Loren said.

“He was a high school principal,” Lucile said. “I call that successful.”

Loren Berry shook his head and extracted the brown sales book he always carried with him and put it on the dining table. He opened it to a page and pushed it across the table and pointed his finger at a part of the page.

“My sales of advertising on barbershop annunciators and interurban timetables,” he said to her. “Just for one month. More than my father made in a year.”

Her hand moved across the table until it encircled his.

“So a salesman it is,” she said.

It seemed a strange, exotic career to a family like hers who had been farmers and she felt it must be a strange career to him also who came from a family of so many teachers.

Loren moved his other hand across the table so that he was holding Lucile’s hand with both of his hands.

“Yes,” he said surveying the great rotunda room of the Oliver Hotel. “A salesman.”

The word hung on his tongue like a particular fragrance.

“A salesman,” he repeated.

* * *

They had some time before the three o’clock red line up to the Silver Beach Amusement Park in St. Joseph, Michigan and Loren walked Lucile around the downtown area of South Bend, Indiana. On many of the windows were posters celebrating the Notre Dame football team’s spectacular 12-2 season under Coach Tom Barry. There were ongoing debates in town whether Notre Dame could have another winning season this year under their new coach Victor Place.

They passed a few barbershops and Loren told Lucile they were all clients for his barbershop annunciators.

“South Bend is a good market,” he said to her. “Lots of barbershops.”

They turned onto Washington Street and in a few minutes were in front of a magnificent mansion.

“Joseph Oliver’s home,” Loren said to Lucile. “Creator of the Oliver Hotel. Built in 1862 and purchased by him in 1881. He sold off all the interior woodwork and hired a New York architect who had designed Canada’s parliament buildings to enlarge and re-design the house. He hired an army of workmen to lay stone.”

Lucile looked at the great mansion in awe. It was larger than any home she had ever seen. She could count at least five chimneys but there might have been more. Ivy edged up the outside stone giving it the appearance of something that had been there since the beginning of time.

“It’s magnificent,” Lucile said.

“James and his family moved into the completed home in 1882 and in 1883 held a reception for 500 guests who danced in the third floor ballroom and dined on food prepared by a Chicago chef.”

“You sound like a tour guide,” Lucile said.

“I’ve studied his life,” Loren said. “It’s important to study the lives of great people.”

The young couple stood in front of the big mansion for a few minutes just taking in the majesty of the old place.

“James came a long way from the simple life of a shepherd in Scotland,” he said. “His wife died in 1902 and he is 84 years old now and in poor health.”

Just after he said this the front door opened and an old man in a wheel chair came out pushed by a person in a black suit. The old man was feeble and had a blanket over him even on the warm afternoon. His head was hanging and he just sat in the afternoon sun for a few moments and then lifted his head and saw the couple and waived at them a feeble waive.

Loren waived back.

“Oh my god,” he said. “James Oliver! We’re one of the few people who have seen James Oliver! No one in South Bend ever sees James Oliver!”

In twenty minutes they were getting aboard the red car for St. Joseph.

Loren told Lucile more about the famous James Oliver as the red interurban car left South Bend and headed north for Michigan. He told her about all of the businesses James had started and how much of an inspiration he was for him. However, he didn’t tell Lucile that in spite of affluence, he remained a simple man with simple tastes, who preferred the heat of his foundry and the dirt of a farm to the elegant surroundings of his new hotel or home. This was something that the young Loren Berry could not understand about the man. He had come so far yet he really hadn’t come that far. It was one of those paradoxical questions that hovered around him at this time, a question that only the time of his own life might provide an answer for.

* * *

The red interurban travelled almost straight north into the flat farmlands of western Michigan with patches of forest here and there. Soon, they were moving west towards the shores of Lake Michigan and the great expanse of blue water could be seen on the horizon like a slim, shimmering presence.

Loren looked out the window, deep in thought about something. Lucile was starting to realize this was a common expression of his. Thinking about something, someplace, some time in the future. Perhaps envisioning a home like James Oliver’s home. A life like James Oliver some day.

He was such a different boy from all the other boys she knew. Most of them were still working on farms around Marion, content to move the operations of the family farm forward at a slow, steady pace. Content to take their place in the long lineage of family history. Loren was so different from the rest of them. How was he different? It seemed to be a constantly evolving question. Like the changing fogs in the morning in the October farms around Marion.

Lucile snuggled next to Loren and thought about the life that lay before them.

(In progress …)


 * * *


LM Berry Biography

Invention of An Industry

1907 Section From Big Outline


Loren had been seeing Lucile Kniepple who lived in nearby Marion, Indiana for some time and the two had fallen in love. (To the best of our knowledge Loren did not know Lucile when he was going to school in Wabash. He was always taking the train down to Marion to visit friends and relatives and we believe he was introduced to her in Marion. We have heard that he was immediately attracted to her and fell head over heels for her but this needs more research and perhaps it is something one will never know for sure but something that can ony be speculated about).

According to an old newspaper article, Loren and Lucille eloped and were secretly married in St. Joseph on June 28. They had an official wedding in Indiana later that summer on August 8 that most family members recognized as their wedding date.

(Although the newspaper article about their marriage does not say where St Joseph is, informed speculation suggests it refers to St. Joseph Michigan. The town is located on Lake Michigan and it had a big amusement park in 1907 and was a summer tourist destination at the time. It seems like an appealing place to elope and honeymoon in and it would have been easy to reach by train. While in St., Joseph the new couple undoubtedly went to the Silver Beach Amusement Park opened in 1891 on land between the lake and mouth of the river in St. Joseph. Logan Drake and Louis Wallace bought the land from the Pere Marquette Railroad and added cottages to lure tourists to the lakefront. As the park aged and grew in popularity, the pair added many attractions, including concessions, games, pool, a boardwalk and different rides. The first roller coaster was built in 1904 and was called the Chase Through the Clouds. It is likely that the young couple took a ride on the amusement park’s most popular ride. While there is also a South Bend, Indiana is located in St. Joseph County, it wouldn’t have been a spot one would pick for a marriage and honeymoon. It is three or four counties away from Wabash and it seems that the news article would have mentioned St. Joseph County. It is hard to imagine Loren picking St. Joseph County, Indiana over a popular summer resort spot for a honeymoon.)

Loren’s mother Elizabeth was upset at the elopement and did not forgive her son for many years. One speculates that the elopement was an affront to the control she had maintained over her son for so many years. It seemed to be crumbling. And too, Lucile became another important woman in Loren’s life after she had been the most important woman for so many years. She might not have liked Lucile. She might have like her. The records are thin on this. But in the end, the thing she really didn’t like was that her son needed another woman in his life besides her. It is a common feeling of many mothers when they lose a son in marriage to another woman. But it had a much greater effect on Elizabeth. It marked the end of a way of life for her.

* * *

The Panic of 1907, also known as the 1907 Bankers’ Panic or Knickerbocker Crisis, was a financial crisis in the United States that took place when the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred, as this was during a time of economic recession and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. The 1907 panic eventually spread throughout the nation when many state and local banks and businesses entered bankruptcy. Primary causes of the run included a retraction of market liquidity by a number of New York City banks and a loss of confidence among depositors, exacerbated by unregulated side bets at bucket shops. The panic was triggered by the failed attempt in October 1907 to corner the market on stock of the United Copper Company. When this bid failed, banks that had lent money to the cornering scheme suffered runs that later spread to affiliated banks and trusts, leading a week later to the downfall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company – New York City’s third-largest trust. The collapse of the Knickerbocker spread fear throughout the city’s trusts as regional banks and withdrew reserves from New York City banks. Panic extended across the nation as vast numbers of people withdrew deposits from their regional banks.

The panic might have deepened if not for the intervention of financier J.P. Morgan who pledged large sums of his own money, and convinced other New York bankers to do the same, to shore up the banking system. At the time, the United States did not have a central bank to inject liquidity back into the market. By November, the financial contagion had largely ended, only to be replaced by a further crisis. This was due to the heavy borrowing of a large brokerage firm that used the stock of Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TC&I). Collapse of TC&I’s stock price was averted by an emergency takeover by Morgan’s U.S. Steel Corporation – a move approved by anti-monopolist president Theodore Roosevelt. The following year, Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., established and chaired a commission to investigate the crisis and propose future solutions, leading to the creation of the Federal Reserve System.

* * *

Cubism began between 1907 and 1911. Pablo Picasso’s 1907 painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has often been considered the key beginning work of the movement.

School Days is a popular song.

Wabash Events (1907)

Jan 18 – Big storm damage. Snow and sleet freeze into solid masses of ice on the ground. No telegraph messages in or out of city until noon.

Jan 25 – Damage of flood, terrific downpour or rain caused the river to raise 8 feet from midnight to six in the morning.

Feb 4 – Child labor prohibited in factories.Connor and Ulsh Company to build new greenhouse that will increase their capacity50%.

Feb 8 – Hospital asking aid. County Commissioners today consigned petition to vote one cent tax to be added for the benefit of Wabash County Hospital.Abe Simon retired from firm of Simon and Bockman after many years. Company to be known as L. Bockman & Sons, boot and shoe business.

Mar 1 – Making stiff hats at the Pioneer Hat Factory.

Mar 15 – Members of W.R.C. given permission to meet in Memorial Hall by CountyCommissioners.

Mar 29 – Eagles Theater building nearly all rooms leased.

Apr 5 – Ice was formed Sunday night. Cold wave swept over this part of the State.

Apr 12 – New south side plant M.R. Gardner Manufacturing Co. to make cabinets and furniture both wood and metal

Apr 19 – New oil wells in Liberty Twp with good prospects. South side Friends Church to be dedicated.

May 3 – T.E. Small quits business, his grocery store at the northwest corner of Canal andMiami Streets is sold to his sons, Goldwin and Garl Small. Cold weather nips corn now planted.

May 10 – C.E. Cowgill and T.L. Stitt have formed a law partnership with new office located in the National Bank Block.

May 17 – Rev. L.L. Carpenter will go to Charles City, Iowa to dedicate a church, this willmake 700 churches he has dedicated. The Fair Store selling ruffled curtains 45-cents per pair, brass curtain rods 3 centsand screen doors complete 88 cents.

May 24 – New press for Plain Dealer being installed. Capacity of 6,000 8-page papers, cut,pasted and folded per hour.

May 31 – Gene Stratton Porter, former resident, has new book out “What I Have Donewith Birds.”

Jun 21 – Wabash Metal Manufacturing Co. takes Barcus plant.

Jul 1 – In the early hours a fire broke out which threatened to engulf the community of Servia. It began in a blacksmith shop on Tanner and Main streets spreading north to Main Street. The people of the community turned out with buckets to battle the blaze. At one point more than a dozen buildings were on fire. George Emrick and Douglas Winesburg climbed to the roof of a brick business building next to the post office and doused embers. Their efforts saved the post office and nearby hotel.

Aug 2 – Hanna Cemetery deeded over to the city of Wabash for a park. Bodies will be removed to other cemeteries.

Aug 16 – Auto livery is started by L.A. Dawes who has purchased three machines and secured chaffeurs.

Sep 6 – Paw Paw Methodist Church is 70 years old, first church in Wabash or Miamicounties had 6 charter members.

Sep 13 – Paving of Court Street runs from hill Street to Main St. on west side of the court house being paved with vitrified brick.Kothe, Wells & Bauer wholesalers house opens for business at the southeast corner of Miami and Canal streets former occupied by the Wabash Screen Door Co.

Nov 22 – New heating system for courthouse at a cost of $6,000 proves quite successful.

Nov 29 – Wabash grows in wealth, wages near million. Mayor Murphy shows in records.

Dec 6 – Heavy snow falls for December.First concrete sidewalks laid in Roann.


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