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Hoodlums Threaten Livelihood of Railroad Fruit Boys

The fruit boys of Grants Pass, Ore., had a profitable business at the train depot, until the activities of some hoodlums put their enterprise in danger.

The boys had discovered early in the summer of 1905 that they could make money selling fruit to railroad travelers.  By August, about 25 of them were running up to trains shouting out their wares.  They were generally well-behaved, but the Rogue River Courier reported that some tougher boys were causing problems. 

There were as many hoodlums as fruit peddlers and they amused themselves by getting into fights and hitching rides, two or three at a time, on Pullman car steps.

Grants Pass subjected such risky activity to heavy fines.  The railroad companies all had rules against hitchhikers as well as peddlers at their depots, but they tended to look the other way unless they became a nuisance.

Eugene, Albany and Salem already had banned indiscriminately all boys from their depots.  The Courier warned that the same fate would befall the Grants Pass boys, banning the good as well as the bad, if the disturbances continued.


Source: "While Peddling Fruit Boys Make Disturbance." Rogue River Courier 25 Aug. 1905 [Grants Pass Oregon] : 1. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1905-08-25/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1846&index=18&date2=2015&words=spring+Spring&searchType=advanced&sequence=0&lccn=sn96088281&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=spring&proxtext=&phrasetext=&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=4

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.