Friday, May 13, 2016

Mrs. David Beach’s Long Walk: From New York to Chicago Through Lorain – May 1912 – Part 2

Mrs. David Beach
(Print currently on Ebay)
Here’s how Mrs. David Beach’s arrival in Lorain was covered in the Lorain Times-Herald on Tuesday, May 14, 1912. She seems to have really captured the imagination of the city.

The amusing report includes some nice quotes from Mrs. Beach and a detailed explanation of her vegetarian diet. For you local history buffs, the piece also provides a great snapshot of what the area roads were like back then.


Mrs. David Beach, Walking from New York to Chicago, Reaches City After Hardest Day’s Journey of Her Trip – Despite Rain and Heavy Roads, Graceful Walker Jumps Ditches and Sets Fast Pace

Mrs. Beach is expected to arrive in Huron, completing the second leg of her trip to Sandusky at about 3 o’clock. At 2:30 she was nearing Huron, her pace made difficult by slippery roads. Walking at her regular 3-mile-an-hour rate, the pedestrienne left Vermilion at 11 a.m.

Trudging for half the 29-mile jaunt from Cleveland to Lorain over country brick pavements washed with rain and sleet, and for the other half over slimy clay roads, Mrs. David Beach, of New York, musician, author and just now pedestrienne enroute on a 1000-mile walk from New York to Chicago, arrived in this city at 6:50 last night. Yesterday’s “hike” was over pavements and clay roads. Today’s 31-mile stroll to Sandusky, which Mrs. Beach began at 6 o’clock this morning after having spent the night at the Hotel Lorain, will be over a sandy route. She expects to make better time.

From the city limits to the Hotel Lorain her route was lined with thousands of cheering Lorainites. East Erie avenue looked as if a circus parade were passing. Near the city limits, Mrs. Beach was met by a police escort, without whose aid she probably would have been unable to reach her hotel.

At 6 o’clock this morning she was off on her journey again, taking the shore road with Sandusky 31.5 miles away, as the day’s destination. Tomorrow her stunt is a trifle of 26.6 miles to Fremont. On Thursday she will cover the 33 1-3 miles to Toledo,

In Lorain last night Mrs. Beach had covered 711 miles. It was her 30th walking day since she left New York city on April 10th.

Despite the fact that yesterday had been one of her hardest days since Mrs. Beach left New York city on April 10th, the woman walker, who says she is trying to educate America to a vegetarian diet, was striding sturdily along when two Times-Herald reporters met her at what used to be Lake Breeze about four miles east of the city. One of the reporters made the “hike” because it was a part of his day’s work. The other went along, he said, to help carry the first one in.

“I’m feeling fine, thank you,” was Mrs. Beach’s answer to the reporter’s first question. “The weather and the roads have been bad – about the worst I have encountered, but I feel no ill effects. I could ‘do’ thirty-five miles today if we had not had to stop in Lorain.”

“I suspected you were reporters,” Mrs. Beach remarked, as the two intrepid journalists swung into her stride without halting her. “I am getting so I can spot you.”

Pinned to the front of her sweater was a bouquet someone had handed her on the road, and in her hand she carried a couple of tulips. “The people treat me finely,” she said, as someone in a farmyard shouted, “Hello, Mrs. Beach.” Everyone seemed to know her.

She talked almost incessantly. Apparently devining the reporter’s thoughts, she said: “For the first few days, I tried to avoid the newspapermen, because talking so much took my breath from my walking. But now, I have become accustomed to it, and I can walk and talk all day.”

She spoke to every man, woman, child and dog on the way, keeping up a running fire of comment meanwhile about her methods of dieting and the care of herself.

“I wish you to understand first of all,” she said, “that this enterprise is not directed to money-making or advertising. I am paying nearly all of my expenses. The automobile that accompanies me and carries Mr. J. G. Beatty of the New York Globe, my chauffeur and my maid, is my own machine. I am simply trying to prove that a strictly vegetarian, uncooked diet will sustain the human body through such a strain as that which I am giving mine.

“People eat too much of the wrong kind of food. You meat-eaters sit down to a heavy meal of potatoes, roast beef, perhaps, indigestible pastry, and a cup of coffee. There is almost no nourishment in any of it, except perhaps in the potatoes, and it takes a good stomach to handle the starch in them. The body is stimulated by the meat juices and by the coffee. The stomach, overloaded as it is, can draw no strength from what has been eaten, and the body is almost no better off than it was before the meal was taken.”

Lectures like these the reporter assimilated mentally while his unaccustomed feet floundered frantically in the slippery mud to keep the pace.

“Three miles an hour is my regular gait,” Mrs. Beach said. “But, on days like this, when I have been delayed, I generally increase the rate to four.”

Topographical obstacles like tree roots, ditches and boulders, seemed to have no effect whatever on the persistency of her two-and-a-half foot stride. The ditches she jumped, generally, picking her ground carefully, however, with a sort of “road” instinct. Anyone who wished to talk with her had to drop in at her side. There was no pause whatever in that four-mile-an-hour progress.

At the city limits at the Root road interested spectators began to appear in groups ahead. The escorting party began to grow, until the sidewalks at Century park were reached, it looked like a young parade. A short distance east of Kansas avenue, Mrs. Beach was met by her police escort, Capt. Hugh Reilly and Patrolman Willis Routson. A half-dozen automobiles waited at the end of the East Erie avenue pavement at Kansas avenue.

Then the real crowds began to appear. Followed by a procession a half-block long, with small boys darting about and yelling as if a circus parade were in progress, Mrs. Beach made her way through lanes of people who lined the sidewalks and cheered or clapped their hands as she passed. Her talk, however, never seemed to stop. She discussed vegetarian diet with the reporters, police officers and the purely amateur members of her escorting party.

At the Loop, the policemen held up the following automobiles and made a lane for the walker to reach the opposite side of the street. All the way to the Hotel Lorain, Broadway was lined almost solidly with people.

Mrs. Beach went straight to her room. Preparations had been made for her in advance by the members of the automobile party. Her maid, who is an expert in Swedish massage, began the usual routine of bathing and rubbing that follows each day’s jaunt.

Supper came after the rib-down had been finished. The meal consisted of a salad, made from fresh, green vegetables, dandelions, cabbage and the like – all uncooked – with a little onion added, and set off with a French dressing of olive oil. Salt, used for seasoning, is first dissolved in lemon juice. Then came a “banana soufflé,” a dish made of sliced, ripe bananas, beaten and flavored with salt lemon juice and raw, ground rice. The meal closed with a drink of fruit juice.

Breakfast she does not eat until after nine or ten miles have been covered. Then she stops beside the road and partakes of her day’s first meal from the supplies in the machine. Breakfast begins with a glass of pineapple or other fruit juice; three patties, made of ground wheat, chopped figs, raisins and prunes. Occasionally there are ground oats in the patties, but oats, Mrs. Beach says, are for very heavy work only. Then comes a bowl of grated apples, mixed with orange juice. A glass of fresh juice takes the place of coffee.

The second meal comes at 3 p.m., a tablespoon or two of olive oil with lemon and perhaps two of the grain patties.

On her walk, Mrs. Beach drinks no water. Her machine carries fruit juices, which are used as a thirst quencher. “Because I dissolve the salt I eat in lemon juice, I do not become thirsty often,” Mrs Beach explained. “Even at my home, I do not take a drink of water oftener than every two or three weeks.”

Mrs. Beach has lived on a vegetable diet for nine years. Until she began her 1000-mile walk, however, she had not confined herself to uncooked foods. “But I like the uncooked diet so well, that I will probably stick to it all summer,” she said.

The machine, which accompanies her, carries an amazing amount of luggage, changes of clothing, 16 pairs of shoes, foodstuffs in the way of grains, such as oats, barley, wheat and millet, and machines for grinding the grains and cutting up the fruits.

On the road she wears the sweater jacket always, occasionally putting on a rain coat when it rains unusually hard. Her shoes are two sizes too wide for her, with high, laced tops, and inch-high heels. She tried lower heels but found them not so well adapted to walking. The short, grey skirt is a permanent walking fixture. For rainy days he has a “sou’-wester,” and for sunny days a broad straw hat. Some times she carries a stick, picked up along the road, but uses it very little in aiding her progress.

Leaving the Cleveland public square at 6:30 yesterday morning, Mrs. Beach’s route lay westward along Superior and Detroit avenues to Rocky River. Rain was falling when the start was made, and the rain soon turned to sleet. The walker’s clothing was drenched. At Rocky River Mrs. Beach waited nearly two hours drying her clothes and changing her shoes, of which the machine which accompanies her carries 16 pairs.

From Rocky River the course lay to the southwest over the paved North Ridge road to West Dover, and thence northward to the lake shore road. At 3:30 she stopped at a farm house a couple of miles east of Beach Park for a rest and a drink of fruit juice, which the well-stocked automobile carries.

From Lakewood several people accompanied Mrs. Beach to Lorain, and at Avon the party was augmented by the addition of several others, the amateur short-distance pedestrians acting as an escort.

When the two Times-Herald reporters met the party, Mrs. Beach was walking in the lead. She wore her well-known walking clothes of a white sweater jacket, a soft felt hat that ties on her head, and a grey skirt that reaches just below the tops of her broad-toed, low-heeled walking shoes.

1 comment:

Kenneth Brady said...

Glad she was wearing sensible shoes.