"When we heard the Globe Smelter whistle in the morning, we knew we had about 10 minutes before school began and we'd better start walking," June Jackson Egan said. Whistles, bells and horns made sure the neighborhood and the blue-color labor force knew what time it was.
The meat packing plants used whistles to signal a shift change and lunch time at noon, church bells rang out before Mass each morning and trains blew their horns in warning at every crossing. All would peal in celebration at the end of World War I and on VJ Day, and sound an alarm whenever the Platte River would overflow its banks. New Year's Eve was a noisy affair of whistles, bells and inebriated gunfire.
Today, the smelter and packinghouses are quiet, and residents check updates from smart phones for detailed information. Yet the bells of Transfiguration, St. Joseph's and Holy Rosary Churches continue their tradition of announcing that Mass is about to begin, and trains interrupt the day with their horns.
Top photo, the silent Globe Smelter Plant, by Mary Lou Egan
Bottom photo, Employees of Armour and Company, 1929, photo used with written permission from Dorothy Nevelos