Vignette from interview with Maynard Gott, conducted by Mildred Chapin in June 1986. (Edited by O.H.I.O. volunteer Sara Carter Balogh, June 1994.)

Maynard Gott, born in approximately 1906 in Penfield, graduated from Elyria High School in 1924. He then found a "good" job at a foundry in Wellington which vanished overnight two days after the crash on Wall Street in 1929. That same year, he married Ruth Winters of Oberlin and moved in with his in-laws. He felt "fortunate" to have a job as a custodian at the Carnegie Library during the years of the Great Depression which he recalls in the following vignette.

"It was difficult to get a job anywhere for months. There was no money, no jobs, and it was very difficult. I was very fortunate to get the job with Oberlin College as the custodian for Carnegie Library, and we made eighty dollars a month. During the worst of the depression, during the bank failure, we were about the only people around that got paid in cash. Most everybody got paid in script and all kinds of stuff. The cash was shipped here by Railway Express from Chicago, Illinois, in an iron box to pay the employees of Oberlin College. I remember the bank closing here; I remember the People's Bank staying open, one of the few banks in the county that did. And I remember the Elyria Savings & Trust closing especially because I had some money in there that I lost. I remember the WPA [Works Progress Administration] here and the whole works about it. It was a bad time. You couldn't borrow money; you couldn't do anything because of the depression, I think.

Then, after living through those hard times, I started to work for the New York Central Railroad where I learned a great deal and worked with so many different people. The railroad was responsible for a lot of growth of Oberlin, especially providing passenger service in the early days of the college. It enabled the students to come and go quite easily to the various homes where they boarded. The railroad provided ticket agents who came to the Administration Building prior to vacation periods. They would sell tickets to the students and make arrangements for the shipment of their baggage by rail. In the early years of building, the railroad was able to provide carloads of materials which it would not have been possible to secure by any other means. And our municipal electric light plant is here because the engine and the generator were shipped on the railroad.

We had quite a number of active railroaders who lived here in Oberlin for many years. A man named Christy who was the ticket agent, lived on Spring Street and another ticket agent named Howard Carter lived for a long time on West Lorain. A track foreman named Shepherd and a track laborer by the name of Watkins lived most of their lives in Oberlin. And there was D. Hubbard a railroad official who lived here while working, and retired here. So we had a good representation of the railroad and railroad people."

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