Poem Excerpt - Sacrifice Hits Richfield
Immense resources were expended by the United States during the Second World War and sacrifices were made throughout the country. Not even rural Richfield, MN was spared. From watching their precious victory gardens dry up due to water restrictions to having to store up coal for winter shortages, the war touched every aspect the people of Richfield’s lives. Even the mayor, Homer Kinney, had to serve double duty as both mayor and village attorney while still receiving a single salary to save the city needed money. This article “Sacrifice Hits” appeared in the July 8, 1943 edition of the Richfield News and listed some of the hardships Richfielders faced during the grueling summer of 1943.
This excerpt describes reduced festivities for the 4th of July – sending the rockets at the enemy instead – and a reminder of the upcoming tin can drive. This article wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. It was the first to let Richfield residents know about a powerful, newly discovered drug that could revolutionize medicine – penicillin. It also describes to amazed housewives everywhere General Electric’s power washing machines with “automatic features beyond our present conception.”
Learn more about Richfield and Minnesota during the war and browse wartime newspapers yourself by visiting the Richfield History Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-4.
WWII Consumer Pledge
Everyone was expected to mobilize for the war effort during the Second World War, even Richfield housewives. It was a patriotic duty that struck at the heart of America – and an irresistible opportunity for advertisers. Any way for a company to associate its products with government war propaganda was an opportunity to make money. Richfield was no exception. Advertisers would slap a “Buy War Bonds!” stamp on their ads and suddenly you could buy underwear from Richfield Dry Goods or have your hair cut at Zastrow’s Barber and Beauty Shop in support of America. The ads were subtle, often hard to distinguish from government sponsored bond ads, but the product placements at the bottom always give them away.
The pledge card above is from an 1942 Minneapolis Gas Lights Co. advertisement. Half a newspaper column is devoted to convincing homemakers that conserving food and energy and wasting nothing was what they needed to do for the war. Women were encouraged to sign the above pledge and become “Home Volunteers”. Come in Today!, the ad exclaimed, and sign this pledge…
How can you save energy and food? Well, the answer is simple – buy a Gas Refrigerator and a Gas Range Stove powered by none other than your friendly and patriotic Minneapolis Gas Light Company.
Learn more about Richfield during the war at Minnesota Homefront – Open through March 15th.
Richfield Highschool Drawing 1956
Thanks to a request from a local historian, this 1956 architectural drawing for Richfield Junior-Senior High School was unearthed. Decidedly more elegant than the building actually constructed, the school has since acquired an addition and little resembles this drawing.
Are you a Richfield High School alumnus? Do you remember the school before the addition? Comment here and tell us your stories, then come down and check out our Teenage Richfield exhibit at the Richfield History Center!
Headline from the August 1941 Richfield News
In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the American entrance into WWII, another air attack on American soil was a real fear. Air Raid Wardens were appointed on the Homefront and citizens were educated on how to properly respond in the event of an attack. An article from the August 1941 Richfield News gives people the information they need to know in order to stay safe.
1. Stay Cool – The article warns Richfield residents to stay calm, don’t panic, and until they hear warning sirens, to act as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
2. Stay Home – “The safest place in an air raid is at home” Officials suggest using a garden hose or fire extinguisher to put out incendiary bombs.
3. Put Out Lights – Don’t give the enemy a target!
4. Lie Down – Avoid the blast beneath a table or mattress. Stay there until you hear the “all clear” alarm.
5. Stay Away From Windows – “Do not be a wise guy” and stay away from possible sources of shrapnel.
6. You Can Help – Check in at your local Civilian Defense Volunteer Office to learn how you can help on the Homefront.
Whether or not these tips would have been helpful in an actual air raid, they gave people the sense of security and agency they needed in those unsure times.
Come learn more about Minnesota on the Homefront and look through the Richfield News from 1941-1944 at the Richfield History Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-4 or by arrangement.