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The Comet Cometh Not

From the Evening Sun May 21, 1910


Many Grand Forks People Watched in Vain for Astral visitor

Wednesday was a day of disappointments to a host of people in this city. The scientists had announced that on that day the luminous heavenly body known as Halley’s comet, which is supposed to consist of a nucleus and an, elongated gaseous tail, would strike the earth and create a few “glory holes” in the mineral zone of the Boundary country. But the savants were wrong.

They usually are when they predict disaster. The incident, however, has given that portion of the people who formulate their opinions on historic events after the curtain has been rung down on the drama an opportunity to once more bring out their pet phrase, “I told you so.”

The astral wanderer did not put in an appearance, and the elaborate preparations which had been made for his reception here were finally labeled “love’s labor lost.”

The city council had appointed a reception committee, the members being instructed to extend the freedom of the Gateway City to his celestial highness. The chairman of the water and light committee had been delegated to make a thorough inspection of the lighting system in vogue on the comet, and if found feasible and less expensive than the city’s present method, to endeavor to induce the ·’head” to leave a few miles of its tail here for that purpose.

It was thought that the promise of construction work on the North Fork road this summer would have been sufficient to anchor it to Observation mountain. The city electrician had been instructed to turn out all the street lights at night in in order to give people all unobstructed view of the itinerant.

The board of trade had met and appointed itself a committee to interview the comet on publicity work. It was felt by the board that the comet had gained a great deal of publicity without having to pay $250 for it. The board instructed itself to probe the secret. All day long the board (in the singular number) paced the streets, and it was near midnight ere it finally abandoned all hope of accomplishing its mission.

Gus Parker, president of the Grand Forks Automobile club, was one of the most disgusted men in the city on Wednesday night. He had been delegated by the club to obtain some of the 8000-mile-per mile motive power used by the comet. His dream of swift traveling vanished with the dying day.

Peter Pare, the scientific rancher, was among the list of the disappointed. He had been informed that a new species of the aristolochiacea plant flourished on the comet’s tail, and he was anxious to try it on his model Riverview farm.

A committee from the merchants of the city also waited in vain. They had conceived the idea of contracting for advertising space on the comet’s tail, where the ads. wouldn’t be visible to, the naked eye. They bargained the impression that the visitor was to be a permanent fixture in the city, and their eagerness to welcome and patronize a borne institution faintly illustrates but two of their manifold virtues.

The license commissioners held a brief session on the 19th, and adopted a resolution ordering the comet to screen its “head” light between 10 p.m. and 6 am. The chief of police was instructed to enforce the resolution.

That officer was jubilant because the wanderer did not put in an appearance. But there are many people in the city today who firmly believe that the action of the board caused the comet to seek more congenial companions.

The Moral Reform league also passed a resolution, protesting vigorously against the inordinate vanity displayed by the comet in towing a tail of limitless length in its wake. This tail, the members of the league thought, could be curtailed a few million miles, thus avoiding the necessity of the “head” working seven days per week in order to keep it from under the feet of passing planets.

There were many more disappointed parties, including delegations from the Socialists, who wanted to ascertain the number of Socialist votes cast on the comet at the last interplanetary election, and from the Conservative association, who were in search of a new naval policy, but a sufficient number of cases have been cited to show the wide-spread interest taken in an event that is properly advertised.

You can read more of this May 21 1910 edition of the Evening Sun on our Old Newspapers page.