It’s too quiet
There is a great void in my life. The iconic Cole Shop whistle is not blown anymore. Caldwell Tanks has turned off the air compressor, has packed up and is in the process of leaving town. Only a few employees remain there on East Broad Street so there is no need to blow the whistle.
Since the late 1880’s the whistle has blown to alert employees for starting time, noon (lunch) time, and quitting time. Subconsciously, we neighbors and the town listened for those sounds. Our schedules were sometimes based on them. Housewives recipes were timed to have lunch ready at noon to serve their “menfolks”. The quitting time whistle at 5 PM meant their work day was over.
Arnall Mills at Sargent and Arnco Mills also blew their whistles at the same times, and often, along with the Cole Shop whistle, the sound would echo through the late evening.
Those were comforting sounds and through the years meant that business was good.
So, no more old familiar signals wafting across the railroad tracks and Thompson Street and through my back yard on Robinson Street. It’s too quiet around here now.