Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Berthoud working girls gathered for picnic dinner in November 1912

By: Mark French | The Surveyor | May 27, 2021 | Then and Now

In 1912 nearly all of Berthoud’s businesses were owned by men. For that reason, many young women in the community faced the choice of finding a husband or entering the workforce as a store clerk or teacher before getting married.

In Nov. 1912 a group of Berthoud’s “working girls” met at W.H. and Anna McCormick’s house for a picnic dinner. The McCormick house (still standing) was located at the northwest corner of the intersection of 5th Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The photograph that accompanies this article shows these girls assembled in the house with friends and two married women. The local newspaper seldom reported on such events but the notation on the back of the snapshot identified each of the 15 women in attendance.

Berthoud Historical Society – In November 1912 of group of Berthoud’s “working girls” and their friends met at the W.H. McCormick house for a picnic dinner. The women included (front row left-to-right) Lynetta Foresman, Blanche Brunner, Myrtle Haworth, Florence Disbrow, Bernice Quere, Myrtle Stockwell; (middle row) Jennie Dunbar, Lucinda Gosney, Ruth Brunner; (back row) Virgie Smith, Mrs. Carrie McCormick, Bernice Turner, Marian Hall, Mrs. Helen Fenton, Annabelle Mason.

It may be assumed that Anna McCormick, owner of the house along with her husband and the hostess dinner, took the snapshot of Berthoud’s working girls in Nov. 1912. Her nieces, Blanche and Ruth Brunner appeared in the photo along with her sister-in-law Mrs. Carrie McCormick.

Snippets of information from the 1912 Berthoud Bulletin reveal with certainty that Florence Disbrow (bookkeeper at May & Pollock store), Myrtle Stockwell (clerk at Davis-Brown-McAllaster mercantile), Jennie Dunbar (clerk at Berthoud post office), Lucinda Gosney (typesetter at Berthoud Bulletin) and Annabelle Mason (clerk at McCormick’s) held jobs in Berthoud’s down town business district.

It is likely the other working girls were employed by Berthoud businesses that may have included the Varley Variety Store (ground floor of the Masonic Building), Plain Price Store operated by George N. Bader (500 block of Third Street within the present-day footprint of Berthoud Ace Hardware), Shyrock Hardware (ground floor of Chamber of Commerce Building), Fairbairn Lumber & Mercantile Co. (in footprint of present-day post office), Hinkle & Company (location unknown), C.P. Thompson’s harness and shoe shop (300 block of Mountain Avenue), and the First National Bank of Berthoud (northwest corner of Third Street and Mountain Avenue).

In 1912 Frank R. Shyrock, the owner and operator of Shyrock Hardware, was the owner of a Stanley Steamer automobile.

It is likely that Lynetta Foresman (a milliner), Myrtle Haworth, Bernice Quere, Virgie Smith Bernice Turner and Marion Hall also held jobs in downtown Berthoud but the locations of their employment are presently unknown.

Members of the McCormick family who attended the picnic dinner included Blanche Brunner, Ruth Brunner, and Mrs. Carrie McCormick. Mrs. Helen Fenton was also present.

A few years after the photo of Berthoud’s working girls was taken, most had married and given up their jobs as clerks and bookkeepers.

The most notable exception was Lucinda Gosney who in 1930 became a partner in the ownership of the Berthoud Bulletin. Miss Gosney never married and stayed active with the operation of the newspaper until 1938 when the tabloid was sold to Raymond Welch.

Mrs. Carrie McCormick appeared in the back row of women assembled for the photograph. She was married to Ed McCormick, son of Berthoud general store owner W.H. McCormick, in 1908. Later she went on to become an ordained minister and establish several Spanish-speaking congregations of the Four-Square church across northern Colorado.




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