10,000 People In Comanche To SHOP?

I don’t know if I can believe it, but the headline of the Comanche Chief (March 30, 1912) proclaimed it:  “Ten Thousand* People Take Advantage Of Merchants’ Co-operative Bargain Day.”

And again, I will ask it: Can this possibly be true?

I was looking through some old newspapers recently, and I saw the ad announcing the Comanche merchants who would be hosting a bargain day. I actually spent some time reading the ad, not because of Bargain Day, but because I was trying to commit to memory the names of the 1912 merchants listed. Quite honestly, the actual Bargain Day was of no interest to me at all.

This photo is not too far off of 1912. Notice the dirt streets. Wouldn't you LOVE to know who is in the photo?

This photo is not too far off of 1912. Notice the dirt streets. Wouldn’t you LOVE to know who is in the photo?

And THEN…I moved on to another paper, and the headline screamed out at me:  “Ten Thousand People Take Advantage Of Merchants’ Co-operative Bargain Day.”  The opening sentence of the article was just as attention demanding: “Last Monday was the busiest day we have seen in Comanche in several years.”

There had been other shopping days when 10,000 people filled the streets?

As someone who has spent the past 30 years studying the history of this area, I must admit that I didn’t even know that 10,000 shoppers could “fit” in the Comanche town square. The 800 or so that attended the Christmas lighting event this past year seemed a tremendous number to me!

Apparently, it could be done in 1912; however, the merchants did not have the manpower to be able to wait on everyone.

“Due to the fact that all could not be waited upon, the merchants announce…that another opportunity will be given….Many good things have we heard of Comanche’s merchants…regarding the bargains that were given last Monday…and the next Bargain Day will be more largely attended than the last one.”

Amazing, isn’t it? Equally amazing is the article just across the page. Apparently that same week a huge worship service was held in the courthouse (that would be the little brick courthouse), with a tremendous number in attendance.

“Everybody come next time and let us Christian people scatter the sunshine as we should,” the reporter for the Chief concluded his article.  Apparently, no one screamed “Unconstitutional!” in 1912…

*Just to put it into perspective, the same newspaper reports that 7,000 people attended opening day of what my generation used to call The Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas!

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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