We Vote on November 8?

Were you planning on voting for president on November 1st this year? Were you surprised to find out that the election is actually on November 8th?

Prior to 1845, the federal government did not mandate a presidential election date. States could choose any day as long as it was within the 34 days before the meeting of the Electoral College on the first Wednesday of December. But as travel and communications improved, Congress began to be concerned that states that voted early might affect the results of states that voted later and that voters would travel to different states and vote again.  In 1845, Congress set the date for presidential elections as the first Tuesday in November after the first Monday. The needs of an agrarian society determined the date. November was chosen because it would not interfere with the fall harvest and would be less likely to be affected by winter storms. Tuesday was chosen because farmers would be able to make the long drive into the county seat to vote without having to leave on the Sabbath and they wouldn’t miss the market day on Wednesday.

But why the first Tuesday after the first Monday?  When the first Tuesday is on November 1st, there are more than 34 days before the Electoral College. So Congress added the clause – “after the first Monday.” Now there are always 29 days between the election and the meeting of the Electoral College. Counting this year, there have been 55 presidential elections and only seven have not been on the first Tuesday – 1864, 1892, 1904, 1932, 1960, 1988, and 2016. The next one won’t be until 2044!


Dining Out–1965

We’ve been cataloguing quite a few archival documents lately. This afternoon I came across several editions of the one-time local newspaper Kirkwood-Webster Advertiser. The center of the June 24, 1965 edition presents a Dining Out Guide, complete with advertisements about the most popular eateries in the area, and an article about the ‘Ever Popular’ Yacovelli’s.

I am old enough to remember most of the places, even though only a few of them, such as Sunset 44 and Schneithorst’s are still in business. Yes, Sunset 44 has moved from its old Sunset Hills location to a place in Kirkwood. And no, I don’t think you can still get a prime rib dinner for $3.95 ($1.50 for kids under 12!).

No other restaurant lists its prices, though most of them tempt you with their specials. Lots of steaks—these were the days when steaks were synonymous with fine dining. Even Luigi’s Italian restaurant asks ‘. . . you’ve been to Luigi’s for a pizza . . . but have you tried Luigi’s delicious steaks?’

One of my old favorites is the Green Parrot Inn, which was on Big Bend. They featured family style fried chicken dinners. Their ad says they had steaks and seafood too, but I think we only went there on Sunday afternoons for the fried chicken. I also remember Kwan Yin Village, which used to be one of the only Chinese restaurants in the area. They featured Cantonese Cuisine, their ad says, and ‘Oriental Cocktails,’ whatever they are. I don’t recall how long it’s been since we stopped using the term ‘oriental’ to describe everything we think is Chinese.

Places I never heard of include King Brothers Olde Still Room—‘Caesar Salads by Andy Stoehr and music by Jimmie & the Charmettes!’—Gio Fine Foods, which was on Manchester in Rock Hill, and the King Louis IX room, which had special banquet rooms called ‘The Red Room,’ ‘The Executive,’ and ‘The Gay Caboose.’ I’ll just let the last one go without comment.

The last one to close down, as I recall, was the House of Maret, which was at 3811 S. Lindbergh. The ad claims they ‘Proudly Uphold the St. Louis Tradition of Bier Garten.’ It finally closed last year, along with Growler’s Pub, to make room for the new Mellow Mushroom pizzeria.

These old newspapers are always full of fun things which evoke so much nostalgia for anyone who has a few years on them. They will be filed in our historical archives here at the library.