Sharing our bounty with post-World War I Germany
No City has More for Which to be Thankful – Avalanche Echo, Nov. 29, 1923GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Bounty and plenty. Glenwood Springs residents had many reasons to give thanks for their blessings on Thanksgiving 1923. Agriculturally, the production of hay, potatoes and oats countywide was on the rise. The Farmers Milling and Power Co. located on the Roaring Fork River was meeting heavy demand for the flours and cereals it produced. And farmers for the coming year were planning to increase sugar beet production.Socially, the public school system was flourishing. Roads across the county were being expanded and improved. The payrolls generated by the postal employees housed at the Federal Building substantially stimulated the local economy. Undertakers J.I. Burdge and W.H. Farnum noted that the health of the population overall was good. Their business was down in 1923, but they were happy for the poor business.However, while Glenwood Springs was celebrating a great prosperity and counting her blessings, in Germany, times were at their worst. The German economy was in a shambles after World War I, and inflation was rampant. The German currency was so devalued that it cost approximately 200,000 marks to mail a letter to the United States. A surgical operation costing $250 in Glenwood Springs would be paid in Germany not with unstable marks but with 1,200 bushels of potatoes and 200 bushels of wheat. Survival for many in Germany was tenuous.Members of Glenwood’s German community opened their hearts and pocketbooks to help those in need in their home country. A single U.S. dollar would solve many problems in Germany.One such generous member of Glenwood’s German community was Fred Korupkat. Korupkat’s friend, Herman Mettelmann, told Korupkat that, due to the high cost of postage, he could not hear often from a friend in Germany. Taking a dollar from his pocket, Korupkat happily handed it to Mettelmann, requesting the dollar be sent to Germany, along with an encouraging word for the friend to write often. The friend soon wrote a letter of unbounding gratitude to Korupkat. The friend’s wife had died just as the single dollar reached him. That dollar paid for his wife’s funeral.Many inequities exist. May we give thanks for our fortunes and to those whose generosity put the world into balance. “Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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