Glenwood did its part to collect scrap rubber |

Glenwood did its part to collect scrap rubber

Frontier DiaryWilla KaneGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Frontier Historical Society/Schutte Collection With tire rationing in effect due to World War II, a national campaign to collect scrap rubber began in June 1942. Garfield County residents responded, bringing in an estimated 75 tons of unused rubber to be recycled for the war effort. With some of the proceeds from the recycling used to fund national relief efforts such as the Red Cross and the USO, Glenwood Springs residents realized a return on their conservation efforts with the establishment of a USO at 818 Colorado Ave. in 1943.

“Americans at home learned to make do with far less and to spend more for it. The sacrifices, however, often produced a sense of community and uplifted spirits among civilians who believed their savings – large and small – helped the fighting men.” – American History Desk Reference, New York Public Library, 1997 With the thousands of American troops leaving home to fight for liberty in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, those left behind were required to support the effort in other ways. One of the most striking and universal means to support the war was through the conservation of resources.Prior to Congress declaring war upon Japan in December 1941, the United States imported nearly three-quarters of all its rubber from Pacific nations. With this supply now eliminated, rubber became the first necessity to be rationed.Glenwood Springs and Garfield County residents were notified of the mandatory rationing of tires on Jan. 1, 1942. Because so much rubber was needed for war use, the federal government’s Office for Emergency Management set state quotas upon the number of tires which could be sold each month. Receiving the highest priority for tire replacement were vehicles used exclusively for medical, public safety, education, military, public works, farming, mining, and food and fuel transportation. Tires used by the general public were inspected and only considered for application for replacement if the tire could not be repaired or retreaded.The conservation of rubber also created the conservation of gasoline. Because it was almost impossible to get new tires for a vehicle not dedicated for approved use, people began to reduce their nonessential driving to prevent tire wear or damage. More gasoline was thereby provided for the war effort. Tire rationing, though, created a new breed of criminal. In April 1942, Garfield County Sheriff Roy Terrell urged residents to take an inventory and description of every tire they owned. As the shortage of tires increased, so had the theft of tires from vehicles.A national drive to collect scrap rubber began in mid-June 1942. Every Garfield County resident was called to do his or her patriotic duty by scouring barns, attics, yards and homes for useable rubber. Tires, tubes and even hot water bottles could bring 1 cent per pound when delivered to a gas station or car dealership. J.V. Rose’s automobile dealership at 901 Grand Ave. went a step further in the rubber salvage campaign. For each day during the scrap rubber drive, Rose not only paid the 1 cent per pound for rubber, but also gave five gallons of gasoline to the person bringing in the most rubber to his dealership. Peter Tonso became Rose’s first winner, alone bringing in 970 pounds. As the days passed, people gazed in amazement at the massive piles of rubber accumulating at the garage and within the dealership’s showroom. When the campaign ended in mid-July 1942, an estimated 75 tons of scrap rubber had been collected throughout Garfield County, with about 20 tons donated at J.V. Rose’s garage.No Fourth of July celebration was held in Glenwood Springs in 1942. With rubber, sugar and coffee rationing taking center stage, and the rationing of food, gasoline, and other necessities on the horizon, there was little room for frivolity with scarce resources. Instead, Glenwood Springs residents showed their patriotism through deeds, conserving to help themselves, their neighbors, the nation and the troops overseas. Willa Kane is former archivist of and a current volunteer with the Frontier Historical Society and Museum. “Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448. “Frontier Diary” appears the first Tuesday of every month.

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