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A FTER having their existence en/% veloped in much mythical
/ \ uncertainty, fall strawberries
/ \ have at last become an accom.X 1l plished fact.
They were first tried out in Iowa. After a preliminary test, Mr. Lawrence J. Farmer of Pulaski, New York, purchased five hundred plants. These plants differ from other varieties only in the single particular that they blossom steadily from June until November. A large crop is obtained by pinching off the blossoms three weeks prior to the time that fruit is desired. If berries are desired by September first this may be secured if the blossoms be pinched or cut off in the first week of August.
At his farm near Pulaski, New York, Mr. Farmer last year had a fine crop of berries both fully ripe and green. The beds were covered so as to prevent dam
age from frost. Three pickings from Mr. Farmer's strawberry beds since August 15 averaged more than 600 quarts to the acre. A ready market at twenty-five cents a quart was found.
Ordinary berries produce but one crop in two years. This vaniety of strawberries produces a crop in the fall following the spring in which they are planted. The next crop is the following June and then again in the autumn, or two in one year.
An exhibit of strawberries in middle September is a most unusual spectacle. Just as the plants may be seen late in spring, resplendent in their fragrant blossoms, green fruit and ripe berries, so were they last fall in Mr. Farmer's garden.
Those of the chosen few who partook of the luxury declared that the fruit possessed a flavor fully equal to the berry raised in June.
WHEN the population figures were announced, Centreville was shown to be larger than Pinetown by about one thousand souls. Centreville papers had a good deal to say about it and Centreville citizens with friends in Pinetown sent them postal cards on which the population figures of the two towns were shown together with such cutting messages as they could think of on the spur of the moment. Pinetown residents passed the thing off as well as was possible under the circumstances and are absolutely certain that when the next census is taken their town will be leading instead of trailing behind Centreville.
These two towns are only ten miles apart and therefore the competition for population between them is keen. Of course each is distinguished for things entirely apart from population. Centreville is known over the state for its schools and for the fact that it is a beautiful and well planned city. Pinetown is a railroad and manufacturing center and with only half the population of Centreville would be far ahead in business interests. But population figures are the scores in the big game of town and com
munity and state rivalry and it is as hard to prove superiority in any other way as to prove that the Cubs had the best baseball team after losing the world's championship to the Athletics.
Naturally enough the competition for population comes chiefly from towns, where a close community of interest makes team work possible and develops municipal pride. Rival towns result, each one trying to increase its population at the expense of the other. The game goes on all the time. Every ten years the score is called; in one town there is rejoicing; in the other much talk of the inefficiency of the census. Baseball is not the only game in which the umpire always gets the blame.
It is not alone town pride that brings about this competition. There is a new idea in town and city government which is that all residents of a town are joint stockholders in a business enterprise, that enterprise being the town itself. When the town grows the profits of the stockholders grow. The bootblack has more shoes to shine, the banker has larger deposits and more money out at interest. As the scheme of government in American cities does not provide for the execution of this new idea, hundreds of commercial clubs and similar organizations have come into existence, supplementing' the work of the regular city administration. Theoretically, the city administration provides a good city in which to live, and the commercial club, corresponding to the sales department of a factory, advertises this fact to the world.
The commission form of government, which has grown rapidly in popularity, is a concession to this new idea. Under its provisions a city is governed by a small board of commissioners in much the same way that a bank is managed by a board of directors. Some people believe that in a short time the new idea of city partnership will be further recognized by the addition to the board of commissioners of a Commissioner of Promotion, whose duty it shall be to advertise the advantages of the city to outsiders. In many western towns the mayor now does this work and seeks reelection on a record of new factory smokestacks brought to the town through his efforts.
The city partnership idea encourages town rivalry and when rivalry begins towns begin to improve. Build a town in the middle of an island where there is no competition from a rival and it will attain a large size before the advantages of parks and paved streets and good water systems are thought of very seriously. Start a rival town and the old one wakes up. It was that way at Smiths Corner, which was the county seat of Irving County. Smiths Corner had just grown up, acquired the court house and county jail, built a flour mill and was vastly contented with itself. One day a geologist went pottering around corn fields and creek bottoms and came back with the announcement that he had discovered coal. A coal mine followed, with a little town twelve miles distant. It was appropriately called Carbondale, because the mine and the town were in a little valley. Smiths Corner folks used to go over to the mine and look at it and carry back symmetrical lumps of coal as souvenirs and some of the boys went to work in the mines. There was no animosity, no competition. Carbondale was a coal mine. Smiths Corner was a town, with all of the dignity and importance given it by the possession of the court house, the residence of the county officers and the occasional sessions of the circuit court. A governor had made a speech there; a bishop had preached the high school baccalaureate sermon; the richest citizen was known to have money invested in railroads and lead mines. Carbondale was but a bunch of houses cluttering up what had been a well ordered corn field.
This went on for years until one Sunday morning the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Smiths Corner announced to his flock that he had been called to the pastorate of the Carbondale Church. It was learned that the Carbondale people, though not much addicted to religion, had offered him a larger salary. That was the blow that awakened Smiths Corner. The Baptists employed another pastor at a larger salary and filled up the mudhole in front of the church. A Ladies' Civic League was formed for the purpose of inducing residents to keep their front yards mowed and their front gates on hinges. Civic pride rolled up its municipal sleeves and started in to show the young and impudent Carbondale how a town should be run. Someone said Carbondale eyed the brick court house enviously. Smiths Corner began to build sidewalks,pave streets and paint the houses. A wagon factory and a Methodist school were added to the town. Now there are two very prosperous towns in Irving County each one keeping an eye on the population of the other. Neither one dares sleep out of fear that the other may be awake and each one keeps growing.
When the Indians began dying out rapidly in the Southwest, and venturesome capitalists started building railroads, new towns were projected so fast that the map makers were always sev
eral years behind. Everyone of these towns, as soon as it achieved a population of two hundred was afflicted with the court house fever. Indeed, for an ambitious town a month old and possessing a population of two hundred wandering and skittish souls, a court house is the surest anchor. It secures not only more permanent location but also an increase in population. Each new town watched the population of the old county seat and as soon as victory was sure an election was called and the court house moved. Then the old county seat watched its chance and worked to secure the county majority. This accomplished, another, election was called and the court house moved again, taking a lot of population with it.
Vagaries of the Texas election law in its definition of a voter aided the frontier town builders in their work. One section of the law said that a voter's residence was maintained at the place where his washing was done. Resourceful town promoters soon saw the opportunity in this, and every town preparing for a
court house fight became a great laundry center. Cowboys and railroad laborers, who were alike disdainful of the privileges of suffrage and the joys of clean linen, were bribed to give up their soiled shirts and receive clean ones in return and after a primary course in sanitation and politics voted with great skill and frequency. When the legislature met it always had to waste a good deal of time locating the new county seats. One session grew so peevish over it that a law was passed making it a felony, or a misdemeanor, or something of the kind, to move a court house in less than five years after its establishment. Since then competition for population between Texas towns has been compelled to develop in