Category Archives: Halloween in Jacksonville

Halloween in Jacksonville

October 27, , 2020

In 19th Century Jacksonville, Halloween was all tricks, no treats, and of course, boys were the culprits.  Since Halloween is this coming Saturday, for today’s history trivia Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is sharing 3 documented pranks.

William Puhl, who had a barbershop in the Masonic building, kept a milk cow at his residence. One Halloween, several boys decided to take the cow to the barbershop.  Once the Puhl family was asleep, the boys stole “Bossy,” broke into the shop with a skeleton key, lured the cow in with bran, and then skedaddled.  When Puhl arrived at his shop the next morning, he found that Bossy had kicked over the barber chair and had generously “painted” the mirror, floor, etc.  We would not have wanted to be one of his customers that day!

Another year, lawyer Gus Newbury arrived at his law office one Halloween only to find it had been relocated.  His shingle was now hanging from an outhouse at the intersection of 3rd and California streets.  We’re not sure if that meant his legal skills were worth ….

On still another Halloween, several boys soft soaped the tracks of the Rogue River Valley Railroad near the school yard.  Crew sanded the tracks, but despite much snorting and puffing, the engine could not gain any traction. The train crew had to use gunny sacks to wipe off 50 yards worth of soft soap.  RRVR had a trainload of unhappy passengers and Barnum, the owner of the railroad, was “one angry gent”!

No wonder the 20th Century introduced treats as an alternative to tricks!

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