Students write about life 100 years ago |

Students write about life 100 years ago

Editor’s Note: As part of the Daily Courier’s 100th anniversary, local youth were invited to write essays on what life was like 100 years ago.

20th Century Change

Today’s lifestyle, casual and pleasant, greatly differs from the lifestyle 100 years ago. Back then, in 1902, people had a tough time finding jobs to support a family.

Families fought a tough battle keeping their families well feed and well clothed. Some people, such as the coal miners, had to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for only about $60 a month. Many people could not afford to pay back their debts, and some lost their savings, homes, and possessions because of this. Coal mining, not easy nor safe, involved high risk, and deaths frequently occurred. With 12 hour days at work coal miners hardly had time to spend with their families, but without their coal mining jobs they could not support a wife and children.

Today, we often take for granted what we have, with our eight-hour workdays, well paying jobs, and qualified workers in every field. With machines replacing many of the extremely strenuous jobs and computers to store much of the work we do, we have a life of luxury compared to what they had in the past. People did not have television to sit down and watch every evening, nor would they have had the time for it. Now, in 2002, we do not have to send workers into the mines to risk their lives, we have machines to do it for us.

Life in 1902 greatly differs from what we live in today. We enjoy life and live it to the fullest because of the technology we have developed through the years. As much as America has changed, from 1902 until 2002, it is difficult to imagine how much change will occur throughout the next century.

Danny ProudMount Pleasant Area High

Life in 1902 compared to 2002

The universe has been in existence for an estimated 15 billion years. The 100 years between 1902 and 2002 is only one fifty millionth of time’s total presence. But in this relatively small amount of time, the United States of America and most of the world, went through extensive change. Transportation went from the Transcontinental Railroad, to automobiles, airplanes and space shuttles. The economy went through extreme depression and large beneficial booms. Laws were created and dissolved. The world entered a time of the greatest technological advances ever including the birth of the computer. Existing 100 years apart, there are obviously differences, but even with the time being one century ago, life in 1902, had similarities to now.

Getting around presented a much more difficult task in 1902. Animal drawn vehicles still remained the primary form of transportation for the general person. Extremely slow and inefficient compared to automobiles, the animals of the beast of burden drawn vehicles could get tired and left waste all through the cities that was rarely cleaned up. This collected and made cities unhealthy and almost inhabitable. Companies began selling their motorized vehicles to the public around 1910, and soon changed the country and the world. Automobiles during the 20th century, particularly in the United States and other industrialized nations lead to the growth of suburbs to the development of road and highway systems. The ‘horseless carriage’ forever altered the modern landscape. The manufacture, sales, and servicing of automobiles became key elements of industrial economies. The health of a country’s automobile industry in largely determines the health of the entire economy. Automobiles are also important socially to many people. The ownership of a first automobile in 2002 has become an important step from adolescence to adulthood. The bicycle seemed to be more important to the teen-ager of 1902. The expansion of the railroad network and increasing use of bicycles between 1890 and 1900 resulted in public demand for better roads, which shows what people felt the two most important forms of transportation were at the time. Much of transportation technology came from wars and their use in it; 1902 and 2002 both have their wars.

William McKinley served as president during the Spanish-American War that occurred in 1898. The war was fought over the liberation of Cuba. It resulted in a U.S. victory, the relinquishment of Spanish control over Cuba, and the American acquisition of Guam, the Philippine Islands and Puerto Rico. The American people most likely felt strong dislike for the Spanish. McKinley brought about a period of imperialism and U. S. intervention in foreign affairs. A radical anarchist assassinated him in 1901. The vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, assumed office and served several more terms. As the president in 1902, he fought to implement policies of social and economic benefit to the people at large. Similarly, 2002 has its war. The war of 2002 is named Operation Enduring Freedom that targets the largest threat to freedom, terrorism. It was ignited by the terrorist attacks implemented by Osama bin Laden, considered to be Pearl Harbor II. Four commercial jets were successfully hijacked and smashed into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a remote location in Pennsylvania. The Trade Center Towers both collapsed from the impact and the Pentagon was damaged extensively. The passengers who realized what was occurring averted the crashed jet in Pennsylvania from the terrorist’s desired destination. The American people now feel hatred toward the countries that harbor terrorists as the people of 1902 most likely resented the Spanish.

The years 1902 and 2002 have their similarities and differences, but in general, the world is much different. Reasons for wars, technology, and people have all changed dramatically. One can only imagine what the world will be like in 2102, because of the amount of change seen in just these 100 years.

Chris Marso Mount Pleasant Area High


Much has changed since the year 1902, both for good and for bad. Today people have a completely different lifestyle than the people of 100 years ago. Things that are common place today were unheard and unthought of at the beginning of the last century. These positive and negative changes have a daily effect on our lives.

Today’s people have many more conveniences than the generation before. Today we enjoy the simplicity of life with electricity, for example. Modern appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, and electric lights were only dreams of overworked housewives 100 years ago. Today we have cars that get us from place to place faster than ever before, computers that do most of our thinking for us, and even probes and shuttles to explore space. In addition, our new way of life has allowed people to mix cultures. Today anyone can go to one of our huge shopping centers-another modern convenience and buy a Japanese television, clothing made in China, or a Swiss watch. This interchanging of both products and ideas has allowed today’s generation to have the best of all worlds. Unfortunately, negatives come with improvements in lifestyle. Life today is much more stressful and rushed than it was a century ago. People are always looking for more hours in the day. Time to relax or slow down does not exist in modern society. Life is more expensive, more hurried, and more competitive than in 1902. These things have contributed to the rise of things like depression, drug use, and divorce in the past 100 years.

As we can all see, the last century has had its good and bad points, but, in my opinion, the good outweighs the bad. We can all consider ourselves fortunate to have come so far. The improvements of the twentieth century came with a price, but it was a small price to pay.

Keith White Mount Pleasant Area High

Life has changed

Back in the 1900s life was not the same as today. Most people would get up at dawn to do there chores. Some of the chores were milking cows, collecting eggs, and cutting firewood. The children would get ready for school and most of them would walk a mile or two to get to school. The basic subjects were math, reading, and writing. After school they would help their parents around the house.

The average house had two or three rooms. The kitchen would have a sink, a wood burning stove and table and chairs. Since there was no electric refrigerators they used an ice box or an ice house to store your foods. When the chores were done you would have dinner. Most of the food was grown in the garden like tomatoes, onions, carrots, peppers and potatoes. At dark they would make sure the animals were put away. The children would do their homework and go to bed, they never had much time to play.

Today we don’t have to work as much as they did back then and we have more time to play. We have electric, cars and electric stoves so everything is a little bit easier.

Eddie HallSpringfield Elementary

Contrasting and Comparing

If I wanted to compare 1902 to 2002, this is how it would start. The year of 1902 is alike and different from 2002.

The similarities are that the men had to work hard for the money to take care of the family and keep them alive. Also, the women stayed home and watched the children and some women would crochet blankets or weave things. But now the difference between 1902 to 2002 is in 1902, the things like food cost a lot less than 2002; for example, our bread in 2002 cost about $1.50 to $2 dollars, but in 1902 their bread probably would’ve cost 5 to 10 cents. But now in 2002, all of our food and how much we get paid for working is a lot more money than in 1902; it would’ve been a lot less money to buy food or how much money you got paid.

Also, in 1902 women almost always wore dresses and the men wore pants with suspenders. Now women wear skirts and shorts and men wear pants and sometimes long shorts. And that is the comparing and contrasting of 1902 to 2002.

Wayne Brown Springfield Elementary

Life 100 years ago

Life 100 years ago was very different from life today. One difference was their elementary schools. Children went to local neighborhood schools. There was usually one teacher that taught all grades from first to seventh or eighth grade. The schools were one room. There was a blackboard in the front of the room. Instead of water fountains, they had a bucket of water and a tin cup to dip it with. The schools were heated by pot-belly stoves. Children bought their own books. There was no electricity, so the sun was their light.

Shopping was different, too. They didn’t have big department stores like we have today. Most people grew their own food and made their own clothes. Other things that they needed came from the local store. Transportation was by horse and buggy. They didn’t have cars. For long distance travel they went by train because there was no airplanes. They did have the telephone, but most people didn’t have one in their own home. When they needed to make a call, they went to the local store.

There were no radios, televisions or computers. People got news by word of mouth or by newspapers. In our area we had the Daily Courier. In 1902 it became a daily newspaper, up until then it was a weekly paper.

In our local area most people made a living working in coal mines, saw mills, farming, and some owned their own businesses. They couldn’t travel a long way to work, so most of them worked close to home.

On Sunday, almost everyone went to church. People only did work that needed to be done, such as feeding animals and milking cows. No businesses were opened. This was the day they spent with family. In the last 100 years, there have been a lot of inventions to make our life easier. But, in our local community the important things like family and friends have stayed the same.

Taylor HiltabidelSpringfield Elementary

Pieces of the Past and Present: A Hundred Years of ProgressiveExcellence

Excellence, stability, strength, vitality, and visibility in the components that impel change throughout history – throughout the centuries. Constant from the moment man walked the earth, the effects of these elements on the human existence, remain visible in every generation. Although a comfortable year if one were wealthy, 1902 lacked the advanced technology, exceptional equality among genders, and increased awareness of the world and its people, that the present society, in 2002, finds increasing benefits.

In 1902, for example, the most advanced technology, the telephone, connected the coasts, and its wealthy people. Invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1874, this innovation, shown initially at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, opened the lines of communication for the first time to the public; however, this invention reached a minuscule portion of the populace, due to excessive expenses. A vital issue of 1902, women’s suffrage, supported by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, addressed equality of the genders. During this period, women were excluded from politics, finances, and even decisions concerning marriage – the impact of a domineering male influence on the typical American family; however, the effects of suffragettes’ dedicated spirits influenced future attitudes toward women and minorities – insuring the natural rights given by God to all Americans. Another attitude common among society in 1902, Isolationism, the self-interested manner in which the United States reacted in political situations toward nations in need, created a scene of America as a colossus of the Western world and selfish to the core; this too, however, changed with time; the World Wars, and all other conflicts to the present date, totally transformed the United States’ position on foreign affairs.

Throughout the 20th century and after the dawning of the 21st, the rays of communication through technological advances, such as on-line resources and e-mail, have shone the light of information and connection upon society. Through the Internet, television and the telephone, as well as innumerable other specialized devices, families and friends become more connected at an affordable cost. Americans, through these wonderful advancements, become more tuned into feelings they experience, unlike the suppression of the past. Although the gender scales will never find balance in all areas of life: home, work, and play, the enlightened attitudes of society toward one another as individuals – woman and man – have experienced a gradual shifting of the weight – a counterbalance, much needed and appreciated, among the majority of women in the United States.

In the realm of foreign policy, as well, the manner in which the United States reacts toward countries abroad, and their difficult circumstances, has transformed over the century. In many instances, the United States has become involved in foreign conflict for the welfare of world politics and humanity. From Vietnam, to the present, War on Terror, the United States has aided and devised numerous methods of international security. Whether feeding a starving village, or fighting in hand-to-hand combat, or dying at the hands of terrorists to expose the evils of mankind in an article, the people of The United States of America have changed and grown over the century.

In 1902, the metamorphosis, the caterpillar of an age, was beginning to grow.

Throughout the years, the cocoons of reform and revolution among technology, genders, and attitudes toward fellow members of humanity, have burst forth a new creature in 2002 – the butterfly of the future, flying into posterity with open wings – spreading its beauty in the skies of today, and for the remainder of the tomorrows.

Amanda Cochran Mount Pleasant Area High

100 Years of Progress

Imagine waking up without the warm aroma of coffee brewing in the coffee maker, having to walk outside in the chilly air to use the outhouse, or even tossing and turning in your sleep because of the summer heat. In 1902, indoor bathrooms and air-conditioning did not exist, and all homes were heated mostly with coal. As unbelievable as this sounds, it was reality. Yet, over the past 100 years technology has transformed dramatically and has made 1902 seem like something unimaginable.

Today, it is hard to picture living without a computer let alone surviving without a car available for your everyday use. In 1902, owning one car was very unlikely and the owner was considered very lucky. The average person in the rural areas of western Pennsylvania, excluding the wealthy, were left walking several miles to a streetcar stop if they wanted to be transported to the nearest large town for shopping. During this time an individual could purchase a pound of sugar for four cents, one dozen eggs for 14 cents and a pound of butter for 24 cents.

Those living in mining towns would walk to the local company store owned and operated by the coal mine companies in the area to purchase such items.

Even still many families owned several farm animals to cut the costs of purchasing their food. Only one in 13 families actually owned a telephone let alone a television.

However much has changed since that time and has left us in technological luxury.

Today, walking is considered exercise and the car is the most relied upon for transportation. Thanks to Henry Ford and his Model-T, vehicles gradually became more feasibly attainable for the average worker and as their availability progressed so did their importance in today’s society. Yet, having one vehicle is still rare because today most families own two or more.

Though people make more money today, prices seem to balance out. Today one pound of sugar costs 43 cents, one dozen of eggs $1.12 and one pound of butter $3.59.

The year 2002 provides the world with computers small enough to carry with you and cell phones capable of calling almost anywhere.

Digital cameras, palm pilots, MP3 players barely top off the list as technology advances every day. There is no longer a need for maps in a car, they too have been replaced with electronic navigators.

From 1902 to 2002, the years flew by and so did a multitude of changes.

Thanks to the technological revolution throughout the world, humans now live comfortably thinking of each day as ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

Jennifer UhrinMount Pleasant Area High

Connellsville has changed

Connellsville, much like the surrounding areas, has changed drastically in the last 100 years. Let’s look at some comparisons. I wasn’t living 100 years ago, so I will use my imagination.

I understand from folk tale that in 1902 a teacher would arrive at the school earlier than the students to start a fire in the fireplace or stove to provide heat to the classroom. Today our schools have thermostats that regulate our heat automatically. What a bonus to those living in 2002. We have air conditioning to cool us down in the hotter months. Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning and have to start a fire to provide your heat• Not to be able to cool yourself down during summer heat waves?

Imagine in 1902 the school you attended would be one room divided into three grades. The teacher would teach all three grades, while playing the role of nurse and principle simultaneously. Today we have teachers who teach us one specific subject. We have a physical education class with a gym teacher. When we need help, we can seek the aide of a guidance counselor. Sad to say, but 100 years ago we did not need security guards for the school, but today it is a necessity.

We today have the luxury of transportation to and from school, by riding the bus. In 1902 you walked to school unless you were fortunate to have a horse to ride you to school.

Today we are served hot lunches in a cafeteria. The children 100 years ago walked back home to have their lunch. Imagine you probably could not bring a lunch because plastic lunch bags, paper bags, and thermal bottles had not been invented yet.

Looking back 100 years ago, it seems that life was much harder. I am so glad that technology and innovations have made life much more comfortable and bearable.

Samantha Lynn YanuckConnellsville Area School District

Lives are different

The lives were very different then our lives of today. They had funny clothes back then. Like long skirts that dragged on the ground. And their hair was always in buns. And they had very, very funny hats. They all had to live in log cabins. They had to make their own heat. And the men had to find their food. They had to buy their crops. They had to be very, very strong or else. They had to get light from candles. They didn’t have any stores. They didn’t have any stoves. They had no furnaces. They had one-room schoolhouses. They had to cook their food over a fire. They had to make their clothes out of animal fur. They had covered wagons for vehicles. They had wild animals for pets. They ha to use feathers and ink to write with. They had a different flag.

Amanda Prinkey Springfield Elementary

Things have changed

Back in 1902, and now in 2002, many things have changed. In 1902, ladies wore dresses all the time, now hardly anyone wears dresses unless they have to for holidays, special days or if you have to, for your job. Also, ladies wore corsets which made them look skinny, and also they wore very tight. Women don’t were them in 2002. Ladies also had hats to match their dresses or so, and the bigger the hats means how rich they were. Their dresses were very big, too. Just from ladies dresses compared to them now shows how different times have changed. There is so much more to be compared like the prices of food, clothes and other stuff.

Elizabeth PorterfieldSpringfield Elementary

Life is different

Life in 1902 was different than life in 2002, by the president, because in 1902, Franklin E. Roosevelt was the president, and now in 2002, George W. Bush is the president. Their clothes were also different in 1902, the girls mostly always wore dresses and skirts, now most girls even wear or like dresses and skirts. In 1902, the Boer War ended, and now a war just started in 2002. Also, in 1902, there was an explosion at Jamestown, and last year in 2001, there was an explosion on the Twin Towners in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The money and prices of things were the most different in 1902. Back then $20 was considered a lot of money, and that was something that told if you had a lot of money, so the bigger the hat, the more money you had. The prices were very cheap to us, but expensive to them, like a package of two cakes of soap was about 15 cents and now is about $1.19 for two cakes of soap.

Arielle LilleySpringfield Elementary

Some comparisons

Life in 1902 was a lot different than life in 2002. Here are some comparisons. The cost of Eastman Kodak’s Brownie box camera was $1 each. The Daily Courier was 1 cent per day, delivered Lenox laundry soap, eight bars of soap for 25 cents. You couldn’t buy eight bars of soap for $1 now. You could buy toothpicks for 4 cents a box. Now you could buy a box for almost $2. A four-room house on Third Street in South Connellsville for $1,200. Now that is what some people pay for rent. Grapes were 20 cents per pound. Grapes are now $1 or even $2. One dollar went a long way. The diseases were unbelievable; there was an outbreak of smallpox and their was no cure. Many people died. Now there is no more small pox. A powder mill blows up on June 13. The Boer War ends in May 31. Miners meet death in explosion at Jamestown in July 11. The only bad thing that happened to us in 2002 was the Queen Mother died.

Courtney MastowskiSpringfield Elementary

Century Of Change

Daily life of 1902 differed greatly from that of the modern times, which now surround us. In 1902, our country faced many hardships that no longer exist for us today. America was faced with horrible living conditions in cities, rapidly increasing immigration rates and horrifying child labor problems. There existed significantly different views on women and their capabilities compared to today’s world where men are no longer the sole providers for the family. These few reasons only begin to describe the great differences, which exist between the two worlds 100 years apart.

In 1902, American cities were overwhelmed with immigrants pouring in from homes thousands of miles away in an attempt to better their lives and the lives of their children. They saw America as a land of opportunity and prosperity. Due to these mounting numbers of incoming immigrants, America’s cities faced numerous problems. These problems included housing, health care, jobs, sanitation and so many more.

In addition to these troubles existed the horrifying state of child labor. Thousands of children worked in dangerous jobs, underpaid and without any sort of health insurance as provided for us today. Another characteristic of 1902 was the view on women. Women were looked upon as weak and incapable of doing any sort of work outside the home. The only role they served in life was raising the children. Today, men and women are, in most cases, given equal opportunities to succeed in the working world. They are looked upon as equals and both strong enough to succeed in whatever they choose to do, may it be in the home or out.

Therefore, for the given reasons, 1902 and 2002 are very different years, from two very different worlds. Yet, despite the differences, America is the same country, with the same freedoms, if not more. In spite of the 100-year difference, America still stands as a beacon of opportunity and independence, and that it shall be forevermore.

Katie SmithMount Pleasant Area High

Changes in America Throughout 100 Years

Throughout the 100 years between 1902 and 2002, America has changed immensely. Financial, political, and household changes made it hard to believe that is has only been a century. Technology and inflation – just a few of the many catalysts – helped America soar through the years.

As for financial changes, federal spending has gone through the roof. The government now spends $1.4 trillion, as compared to the .49 billion dollars in 1902. Due to inflation and better education, the average income for a family of four has risen from $12,687 to $59,981. The cost of food and other goods has also gone up; in 1902 a stamp cost two cents. Today in 2002, that same stamp is sold for 37 cents.

Another drastic change from 1902, politically, was the president. In 2002, George W. Bush, a Republican, leads America. One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt, also a Republican, served our country as President. An increase in immigration and birthrates caused the population to grow from 79,163,000 to 281,421,906. Political changes, such as a welfare program, caused unemployment rates to also go up- 10.2 percent of American adults are unemployed today compared to the 3.7 percent in 1902.

As mentioned before, the number of births has increased-growing from 519,183 births a year to a whopping 3,959,417. Coincidentally, with more people being born into America, the number of deaths has also been raised. The number of deaths in 1902 has ascended from 347,267 to 2,391,630. Over 100 years ago, the leading cause of death has gone from influenza in 1902, to heart complications in 2002. Although the number of deaths has skyrocketed, the life expectancy of an American individual is now 26 years longer.

With so many financial, political, and household changes, America in 2002 greatly contrasts America in 1902. Many of the changes involved an increase of numbers, whether it is federal spending, population, or life expectancy. America has definitely broadened it and will continue to do so.

Patti PerettiMount Pleasant Area High

Hard to imagine life

It is hard to imagine life today without automobiles and computers. Millions of people get on the Internet a day. What was life like before all these advances in technology• In the early 1900s, people did not have the technological advantages as we have today.

America had just entered into World War I, and automobiles were still a thought in the making. The Wright brothers had just gotten their airplane to fly, whereas today we have been to the moon and outer space many times. Indeed, the early 1900s was a time of expansion and growth.

Many people, over 30 million to be exact, were moving to the cities, and many more were moving to the west to seek quick fortune from the gold and silver mines. Los Angeles was starting out a thriving community with many people looking for money. Parks, amusement parks and baseball stadiums were built to meet all the recreational needs of the people.

Incomes rose and businesses flourished for many people of high and middle class wealth, but for the poor life was not as great. One in three people living in the cities was close to starving to death. Today the economy is stronger and it provides many services for people who might be in need of food.

The early 1900s was a time a progress with many new inventions coming into light. Get rich quick schemes thrived, life for the rich was grand, but life for the poor was bad. Technology has improved greatly over the century and now just about anything is possible.

Justine PrutzMount Pleasant Area High

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