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A Ban Against Public Gatherings

Court Street Presbyterian Church
Court Street Presbyterian Church

Franklin Theater
Franklin Theater

“Because the ban against theaters, churches, schools, poolrooms and other places where crowds are to assemble has been lifted is no reason why the people of Saginaw, as individuals and as families should relax their painstaking care against the spread of Spanish influenza. Although the ban has been lifted, public funerals still remain taboo, and there is strict prohibition against anything that would bring crowds of people here from other cities, especially from Flint and Bay City, where the epidemic still continues dangerous. ”

Statement delivered by Saginaw Mayor Hilem F. Paddock, "Willingness of Those Affected to Abide by Colsing[sic.] Gratifying," [Saginaw Courier Herald ?], November 10, 1918

Mayor Paddock urged every precaution be taken to guard against the disease.

Mayor of Saginaw 1915-1919
Hilem F. Paddock

Hilem F. Paddock, Mayor of Saginaw during World War I and the 1918-19 Influenza Epidemic, was born in Canandaigua, New York in 1871. He moved to Saginaw in 1889 – fittingly for a future mayor - the year East Saginaw and Saginaw were consolidated. He engaged in real estate and title work. According to Saginaw Historian James C. Mills, he “acquired his broad knowledge of business, and facility of handling details in a systematic manner, a training which in later years proved invaluable in public office.”

In 1911, he became county treasurer and would hold several city offices, until he was elected mayor of Saginaw in 1915. His leadership was highly regarded. Mills stated, “After more than three years of faithful service in the highest office of the municipality, Mr. Paddock enjoys the universal confidence and trust of the public. His whole conduct of the office has been marked by unswerving devotion to the best interests of the people, and whoever may disagree with the mayor in certain matters of policy must accord him the highest integrity of purpose and action.” He passed away in 1922.

The leadership that he and Saginaw city and county officials provided during the 1918-19 Influenza Epidemic were admired through the state, and Saginaw newspapers frequently reported on the compliments that state officials made.

Arthur Hill High School
Arthur Hill High School

“Another thing. Let me say that it is not a matter of luck that you have thus far escaped the influenza epidemic. It is a condition for which your good people of Saginaw should thank your health department. Before other cities in the state awakened to the dangers of influenza your authorities had established a quarantine on affected homes and used every known method of protection as well as alleviating for those stricken. ”

"Saginaw Praised By State Official Influenza Policy,” [Saginaw Courier Herald [?], November 20, 1918


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